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Pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of the Consent Decree in the
above-referenced matter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"
or "the Agency") provides this Fourth Quarterly Status Report concerning
its actions to propose and take final action with respect to regulations
under § 316(b) of the Clean Water Act ("CWA").
During the last quarter, EPA has continued to direct most of its
efforts in this regulatory proceeding towards preparing a detailed survey
questionnaire under § 308 of the CWA and an associated "screener" survey.
The purpose of the survey questionnaire is to collect data to help EPA
determine what is an "adverse environmental impact" and what is the "best
technology available" to minimize such impacts under § 316(b). The
screener will assist EPA in selecting an appropriate sample of facilities
that employ cooling water intake structures to receive the detailed § 308
questionnaire. EPA has substantially completed the draft screener and is
nearing completion of a draft § 308 survey questionnaire. The Agency is
also analyzing various databases to identify facilities that should
receive the screener and the survey questionnaire.
In order to obtain approval of the screener and the survey
questionnaire from the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork
Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3501, et seq., EPA must conduct a
"pretest" of both documents on a sampling of facilities. The "pretest"
enables EPA to estimate the average number of hours that facilities will
spend completing the screener and the survey questionnaire. The "pretest"
also helps EPA identify parts of the screener and the survey questionnaire
that may need to be revised, based on responses by the participating
facilities. EPA will make the screener and the survey questionnaire
available for public comment by announcing their availability in the
Federal Register. EPA estimates that this announcement will be
published later in this calendar year.
In addition to work on the screener and survey questionnaire, EPA has continued throughout 1996 to collect and analyze existing environmental and technical information relevant to the development of the regulation, as outlined in the First Quarterly Status Report. This includes past case-specific studies conducted by § 316(b) permittees to demonstrate that their facilities' cooling water intake structures were not causing an adverse environmental impact, past determinations of BTA by § 316(b) permitting authorities; cooling water intake monitoring reports required under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") permits issued under § 402 of the CWA, reports on the availability and efficacy of control technologies, and independent studies addressing impacts or control/mitigation measures.
The undersigned, James F. Pendergast, is acting Director of the Permits
Division of EPA's Office of Wastewater Management. The Permits Division
has primary responsibility for discharging EPA's duties under the Consent