316(b) Ruling

316(b) Ruling

On May 19 2014 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final ruling on Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act.

The ruling requires power plants and other facilities that withdraw more than two million gallons of surface water per day to reduce the impact of their abstractions on fish and shellfish.

The new rule offers flexible options for reducing impacts on aquatic wildlife and allows for use of multiple technologies to achieve compliance. This mirrors established practice in Britain and continental Europe, where combinations of acoustic fish deterrents (AFDs) and drum- or band-screens modified for fish handling and return have been in use for well over a decade.

Impingement reduction targets are often not achieved by physical fish-handling screens alone, as delicate pelagic species which can dominate the catch rarely survive handling. On the other hand, pelagic species are mostly very sensitive to sound and can be efficiently deterred (typically 90%+) by an AFD. The combined systems therefore meet Best Available Technology requirements of the regulatory authorities. Additional fish deterrence, e.g. for eels, is achieved by adding strobe lights at some sites.

AFDs are suitable for intakes with a wide variety of fish species, but facilities needing to comply with Section 316(b) are most likely to benefit from FGS’s technology if abstracting from coastal waters and estuaries, or on river and lake systems where impingement of pelagic species such as shad, alewife, herring, menhaden or anchovy is significant.

A number of different AFD systems are available from Fish Guidance Systems and FGS’s engineers have over 20 years experience of installing the systems on existing intakes. AFD systems are more cost effective than physical screening and offer the lowest cost option of any 316(b) solution.

Please contact FGS for further details of the systems and for contact details of your local agent.