New EPA rules govern discharges from aquatic animal operations

In separate report, agency also points to increase in number of fish advisories even as emissions for major pollutants are decreasing and as pollutants such as DDT and chlordane are banned in the United States. Problem covers 35% of lakes, 24% of rivers...

Aug 26th, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 25, 2004 -- The EPA has released effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for the Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Point Source Category.

The final rule establishes Clean Water Act effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for concentrated aquatic animal production facilities. The animals produced range from species produced for human consumption as food to species raised to stock streams for fishing. The animals are raised in a variety of production systems.

The production of aquatic animals contributes pollutants such as suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, and nutrients to the aquatic environment. The regulation establishes technology-based narrative limitations and standards for wastewater discharges from new and existing concentrated aquatic animal production facilities that discharge directly to U.S. waters.

EPA estimates that compliance with this regulation will affect 242 facilities. The rule is projected to reduce the discharge of total suspended solids (TSS) by about 0.5 million pounds per year and reduce the discharge of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and nutrients by about 0.3 million pounds per year. The estimated annual cost for commercial facilities is $0.3 million. The estimated annual cost to federal and state hatcheries is $1.1 million. The agency estimates that the annual monetized environmental benefits of the rule will be in the range of $66,000 to $99,000.

Existing direct dischargers must comply with the new limitations based on the best practicable control technology currently available (BPT), the best conventional pollutant control technology (BCT), and the best available technology economically achievable (BAT) as soon as their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits include such limitations.

Generally, this occurs when existing permits are reissued. New direct discharging sources must obtain an NPDES permit for the discharge and comply with applicable new source performance standards (NSPS) on the date the new sources begin discharging. For purposes of NSPS, a source is a new source if it commences construction after Sept. 22, 2004.

For more information, see: www.epa.gov/EPA-WATER/2004/August/Day-23/w15530.htm.

In addition, the EPA warned about widespread pollution in fish from U.S. lakes and rivers in an Aug. 24 release that can be found at "EPA Releases 12th Annual National Listing of Fish Advisories". More than a third of the nation's lakes and nearly a fourth of its rivers contain fish that may be contaminated with mercury, dioxin, PCB, and pesticide pollution, the agency said.

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