The EPA 316(b) rule has been under consideration & various points of implementation for decades. Today EPA released the final rule for existing facilities.
In the days to come we'll drill into the role more but for now here's a brief summary:
1. Plants with flow more than 2 MGD for their cooling water intake structure must comply. There are around 1065 plants in scope, roughly 521 factories, 544 power plants. The plants have one of seven compliance options:
2. Plants with flow greater than 125 MGD are required to complete studies.
3. New units that add generating capacity can either reduce actual flow or install technologies to reduce fish mortality commensurate with flow reduction.
As expected, the rule gave considerable latitude to site owners to determine the compliance approach suitable for their site, while giving regulators authority to require more aggressive mitigation.
Initial response from industry has been generally positive, because compliance cost for the final rule are considerably less than those estimates associated with the proposed rule. Environmental groups such as Riverkeeper, long at the center of the debate, don't believe the rule is strong enough and find fault with the site specific interpretation of the rule. It remains to be seen if the environmental skepticism foreshadows broader delays or if it's simply evidence of a good rule; one that makes both sides mad.
In the mean time, wedgewire screens will play a role for some sites and we will continue our effort to provide better material & better solutions for this important problem.