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Water: Cooling Water Intakes (316b)

Cooling Water Intake Structures - Section 316(b) - FOURTH QUARTERLY STATUS REPORT

Cronin, et al. v. Browner

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

No. 93 Civ. 0314 (AGS)

October 2, 1996

Pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of the Consent Decree in the above-referenced matter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA" or "the Agency") provides this Fourth Quarterly Status Report concerning its actions to propose and take final action with respect to regulations under § 316(b) of the Clean Water Act ("CWA").

During the last quarter, EPA has continued to direct most of its efforts in this regulatory proceeding towards preparing a detailed survey questionnaire under § 308 of the CWA and an associated "screener" survey. The purpose of the survey questionnaire is to collect data to help EPA determine what is an "adverse environmental impact" and what is the "best technology available" to minimize such impacts under § 316(b). The screener will assist EPA in selecting an appropriate sample of facilities that employ cooling water intake structures to receive the detailed § 308 questionnaire. EPA has substantially completed the draft screener and is nearing completion of a draft § 308 survey questionnaire. The Agency is also analyzing various databases to identify facilities that should receive the screener and the survey questionnaire.

In order to obtain approval of the screener and the survey questionnaire from the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3501, et seq., EPA must conduct a "pretest" of both documents on a sampling of facilities. The "pretest" enables EPA to estimate the average number of hours that facilities will spend completing the screener and the survey questionnaire. The "pretest" also helps EPA identify parts of the screener and the survey questionnaire that may need to be revised, based on responses by the participating facilities. EPA will make the screener and the survey questionnaire available for public comment by announcing their availability in the Federal Register. EPA estimates that this announcement will be published later in this calendar year.

In addition to work on the screener and survey questionnaire, EPA has continued throughout 1996 to collect and analyze existing environmental and technical information relevant to the development of the regulation, as outlined in the First Quarterly Status Report. This includes past case-specific studies conducted by § 316(b) permittees to demonstrate that their facilities' cooling water intake structures were not causing an adverse environmental impact, past determinations of BTA by § 316(b) permitting authorities; cooling water intake monitoring reports required under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") permits issued under § 402 of the CWA, reports on the availability and efficacy of control technologies, and independent studies addressing impacts or control/mitigation measures.

The undersigned, James F. Pendergast, is acting Director of the Permits Division of EPA's Office of Wastewater Management. The Permits Division has primary responsibility for discharging EPA's duties under the Consent Decree.

James F. Pendergast


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