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EPA’s Section 316(b) Water Intake Regulations - New Comment Opportunity
On June 11, EPA published a "Notice of Data Availability" in the Federal Register regarding its proposed regulations for cooling water intake structures at existing facilities. This notice provides an additional opportunity for interested parties to weigh in on EPA's proposed regulations, despite the closure of the public comment period in August, 2011.
While the EPA asserts that it "is not reopening the proposed rule for comment through this notice," the agency nevertheless solicits comment on some two dozen issues associated with the new proposed regulations and alternatives for compliance. Among the key issues for comment include the definition of closed cycle recirculating systems and compliance options associated with their use, how to construct the intake velocity compliance alternative, how to construct the impingement technical requirements and compliance alternatives, as well as on how much flexibility should be granted to the permitting authorities, among other issues. For entities likely to be subject to these new regulations, this "Notice" provides a valuable additional opportunity to have input into EPA's decision-making. Comments must be received on or before July 11, 2012.