Case Studies

316(b) Compliance Without CapX

J.S. Held’s Inaugural Global Risk Report Examines Potential Business Risks & Opportunities in 2024

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The Situation

The US EPA under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires compliance from certain existing power generation and manufacturing facilities withdrawing cooling water from waters of the United States (WOUS) to reduce impingement/impingement mortality and entrainment of fish and other aquatic organisms at cooling water intake structures. The Rule applies if four requirements are met:

  1. The intake flow threshold is designed for more than two million gallons per day.
  2. At least 25% of that water is used exclusively for cooling.
  3. That water is withdrawn from WOUS.
  4. A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is required.

How We Advised

J.S. Held was asked to support a power generation client with meeting 316(b) compliance at a facility on the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana. Kurtis Schlicht and Bill Stephens have worked with many clients in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, and led this assignment for J.S. Held to demonstrate effective and meaningful compliance without costly and time-consuming capital expenditures.

Their approach was to determine what equipment the facility currently had in place as well as how it was used, then to develop a strategy for enumerating how many fish were “not” entering the facility from impingement and entrainment. Kurtis and Bill used a “systems of technologies” best technology available (BTA) compliance option allowed by the US EPA and implemented a novel “fisheries-based” approach instead of a costly engineered solution. This method included developing a rate of impingement into the system because what does not get into the system cannot become mortality from the system, thereby reducing impingement mortality and entrainment. As a result, the facility would be able to demonstrate compliance by determining fish reductions into the facility and calculating those credits for minimizing adverse environmental impact.

Key Contacts

Kurtis Schlicht
Senior Director
Energy Transition, Impact Assessment & Permitting
+1 504 370 2003
[email protected]


Bill Stephens, PhD
Senior Project Manager
Energy Transition, Impact Assessment & Permitting
+1 504 370 0402
[email protected]

Related Practice Areas

> Energy Transition Services
We provide comprehensive support for all aspects of energy transition, whether moving toward renewable energy sources; better resilience; or the realization of corporate environmental, social, and governance programs.

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