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Water: Aquaculture

Effluent Guidelines - Aquatic Animal Production Industry - Guidance for Aquatic Animal Production Facilities to Assist in Reducing the Discharge of Pollutants

EPA 821-F-06-003; Fact Sheet; May 2006

EPA prepared a guidance document to help permit writers develop wastewater discharge permits and to help producers comply with the requirements at their concentrated aquatic animal production facilities.


In August 2004, EPA established wastewater controls for concentrated aquatic animal production facilities (often called fish farms). The regulation applies to about 245 facilities that generate wastewater from their operations and discharge that wastewater directly to waters of the United States. When these requirements are applied in NPDES permits, they will help reduce discharges of conventional pollutants (mainly total suspended solids), non-conventional pollutants (such as nutrients, drugs and chemicals) and, to a lesser extent, toxic pollutants (metals and PCBs).

The August 2004 standards are based on best management practices to control the discharge of pollutants. Several types of facilities are covered: flow-through, recirculating, net pens, and submerged cage systems.

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Summary of the Guidance Document

The document addresses questions about applicability of the rule to various species and production systems. The document also includes information about the permit process. This document is intended solely as guidance, is not itself a regulation nor does it impose legally binding requirements. In the event of a conflict with any statute or regulation, this document would not be controlling.

The document includes the following types of information:

  • scope of the 2004 regulation
  • the model process technologies upon which the rule is based
  • the permit issuance process
  • frequently asked questions
  • instructions for finding additional information
  • glossary of terms

Where to Find the Guidance

Compliance Guidance Document - Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Point Source Category (EPA/821-B-05-001).

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