EPA Clean Water Act

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Problem: Fish Mortality by Impingement and Entrainment

When large volumes of water are drawn from rivers, lakes, estuaries, oceans, ponds or reservoirs to be used for cooling purposes, there is the risk of also drawing marine organisms in the intake system. Older systems that have not been designed or outfitted for fish protection will treat this marine life just as any other piece of debris. Although some fish are able to swim away and avoid the intake system, many are drawn into the water intake screen. Some may survive the screening process, but the harsh treatment during the screening process generally leads to a high mortality rate in fish and other aquatic life forms, especially those that are juvenile or are a smaller species.

The EPA estimates that 2.12 billion fish, crabs, and shrimp are killed annually by impingement and entrainment in water intake screen systems. Impingement happens when fish and other organisms are trapped against screens when water is drawn into facility’s cooling system. The injuries from impingement often prove fatal within a few days, because of physical harm that is done to the fish (lacerations, loss of gills, etc). Entrainment happens when organisms are drawn into the facility. Once inside the facility, entrained organisms are exposed to high pressure and temperatures, often times resulting in death.

To combat this ever-increasing environmental concern, the EPA has put in place guidelines for fish protection for power utilities and manufacturing facilities that use circulating water to cool their plants.

Regulation: EPA Clean Water Act, Section 316(b) Phase I, II, III

On March 28, 2011 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the most recent revisions to their Clean Water Act, Section 316(b) Phases II and III. This latest revision affects existing power plants and manufacturing facilities that withdraw at least 25 percent of their water for cooling purposes from an adjacent water body or that have a design intake flow of 2 million gallons of water or more each day.

These facilities will be subjected to meet an upper limit on how many fish can be killed by being pinned against intake screens or other parts at the facility. Each facility will have to determine which technology would be best suited to meeting this limit. Another alternative for these plants would be to reduce their intake velocity to 0.5 feet per second which would allow fish to swim away from the cooling water intake of the facility.

The EPA will take public comments for 90 days after the publication of the proposed regulation in the Federal Register; the final rule must be signed by July 2012. Once the final rule is in effect, plants will be obligated to implement the best available technologies to meet the impingement requirements of the rule as soon as possible but within eight years at the latest.

To find out more about the Clean Water Act, Section 316(b) please click here.

Beaudrey's Solution

Beaudrey is dedicated to creating water screening technologies that are environmentally sound. We are committed to creating new solutions that allow our customers to generate energy as efficiently and cleanly as possible with the absolute lowest impact on the sensitive ecosystems involved.

To help our clients meet EPA standards and become compliant with the Clean Water Act, specifically section 316(b), Beaudrey has developed several Fish Protection Systems for our intake screens, the revolutionary Zero Ball Loss condenser tube cleaning system and the fish friendly Water Intake Protection Screen. To learn more about these technologies please visit the Products page or the Fish Protection page.