Fish Studies (Cooling Water Intake Entrainment & Impingement Studies)

EPA 316(a) and 316(b) Fish Studies

Section 316(a) of the Clean Water Act regulates thermal discharges to waters of the United States and is often implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. When applying for new or reissued NPDES permits, delegating agencies require information such as the zone of influence for assimilation of thermal discharges; near-field and far-field maps detailing the areal extent of the plume; location of fish, shellfish, and vegetative habitat areas in relation to the thermal plume; compliance with state water quality standards; and recommendations for modifying current mixing zones outfall structures if warranted.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a new rule for implementing Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, which establishes requirements for cooling water intake structures at new and existing facilities. The Final Rule applies to all existing power generating stations, as well as manufacturing and industrial facilities that withdraw more than two (2) million gallons per day of water and use at least 25% of such water exclusively for cooling water purposes. The Final Rule establishes uniform national impingement standards and a process for making Best Technology Available (BTA) determinations regarding entrainment impacts on a case-by-case basis using best professional judgment to reduce entrainment.

Our biological and engineering staff has over almost three decades of experience in dealing with both 316(a) and (b) issues. By integrating biological science, engineering, socioeconomic, and regulatory skills, we offer each client the full extent of our technical capability or singular expertise as required by the project. We seek to define both resource issues and project constraints, helping to identify appropriate options for mitigating environmental impacts with the overall goal of developing project alternatives acceptable to both project proponents and regulatory authorities.

Kleinschmidt currently offers assistance in performing BTA assessments; impingement and entrainment field studies; thermal plume mapping and impact assessment; hydraulic modeling; mitigation strategies; technology and operational evaluations; third-party peer review; thermal plume studies and responses to 308 requirements.


Ecological Projects