Section 316(b) of the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. section 1326) requires that the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures for facilities having National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact. Three separate rulemaking efforts have been undertaken by U.S. EPA in order to implement this section of the Clean Water Act, and are defined as:
- Phase I Rules - for new facilities
- Phase II Rules - for existing facilities
- Phase III Rules - for new off-shore oil and gas extraction facilities
Any industrial facility with an NPDES permit that withdraws cooling water from a surface water intake structure or purchases cooling water from a third-party supplier that utilizes a surface water intake structure may be subject to this rule.
Requirements for implementation of these rules are detailed in Part 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapter 125, Subparts I and J, and Chapter 122.21(r). Implementation of these rules may require considerable data collection, taking place over a period of a year or more. In addition, certain compliance alternatives will necessitate engineering studies, economic analyses, and/or development of a number of operational plans and monitoring plans.
It is recommended that NPDES permit holders determine the compliance requirements for their permitted facility(ies) and contact the Division of Surface Water as soon as possible to develop a plan to achieve compliance. Click on one of the three choices above for additional information and resources. Facilities with cooling water intake structures which are not classified specifically under Phase I, Phase II, or Phase III regulations will be evaluated for Section 316(b) compliance using best professional judgment (BPJ).
This document contains general guidelines addressing confidentiality of information submitted to Ohio EPA.
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