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OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
EPA Oversight Addresses
Thermal Variance and Cooling
Water Permit Deficiencies But
Needs to Address Compliance
With Public Notice Requirements
Report No. 13-P-0264
May 23, 2013
Scan this mobile
code to learn more
about the EPA OIG.

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Report Contributors:
Charles Brunton
Dan Engelberg
Tiffine Johnson-Davis
Jayne Lilienfeld-Jones
Tim Roach
Gerry Snyder
Abbreviations
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations
CWA
Clean Water Act
CWIS
Cooling Water Intake Structure
EPA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
NPDES
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
OIG
Office of Inspector General
OW
Office of Water
PQR
Permit Quality Review
Cover photo: Brayton Point Power Facility, Somerset, Massachusetts. (EPA photo)
Hotline
To report fraud, waste, or abuse, contact us through one of the following methods:
email: OIG Hotline@epa.gov	write: EPA Inspector General Hotline
phone: 1-888-546-8740	1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
fax:	202-566-2599	Mailcode 2431T
online:
http://www.epa.gov/oiq/hotline.htm
Washington, DC 20460

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
13-P-0264
May 23, 2013
Why We Did This Review
We evaluated the U.S.
Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA's) oversight of
regional and state compliance
with Clean Water Act (CWA)
§316(a) and (b) requirements.
These requirements are in place
to help protect aquatic
organisms from the impacts of
thermal discharges and cooling
water intake structures. CWA
§316(b) requires that NPDES
permits for facilities with cooling
water intake structures ensure
that the location, design,
construction, and capacity of the
structures reflect the best
technology available to minimize
harmful impacts on the
environment. The permitting
authority may issue a variance
under CWA §316(a) to allow
facilities to discharge cooling
waters at an alternative, less
stringent thermal effluent limit
that is still protective of aquatic
life.
This report addresses the
following EPA Goal or
Cross-Cutting Strategy:
• Protecting America's waters.
For further information, contact
our Office of Congressional and
Public Affairs at (202) 566-2391.
The full report is at:
www.epa.aov/oia/reports/2013/
20130523-13-P-0264.pdf
EPA Oversight Addresses Thermal Variance and
Cooling Water Permit Deficiencies But Needs to
Address Compliance With Public Notice Requirements
What We Found
Since the 1980s, EPA has had an oversight process, known as Permit Quality
Reviews (PQRs), to promote permit quality and ensure a reasonable degree of
national consistency with regard to core program requirements. The PQRs
EPA conducted from 2007 to 2010 identified a number of deficiencies in
NPDES permits, which EPA made recommendations to improve. Our review of
EPA's PQR oversight process found it has generally been effective in
determining the quality of permits. Like EPA, we found deficiencies in permits
or supporting documents. For example, 55 percent of the fact sheets in our
sample did not contain an explanation of the state's or EPA's decision in the
permit that facilities use the best technology available to minimize the
environmental impact of the cooling water intake structures regulated under
CWA §316(b). Conversely, 75 percent of the fact sheets we reviewed
contained an explanation of the state's or EPA's decision to approve the
facilities' requests for CWA §316(a) thermal variances. A fact sheet briefly
presents the principal facts and the significant factual, legal, methodological,
and policy questions considered in preparing the draft permit.
None of the public notices we reviewed contained all of the required statements
describing the proposed §316(a) thermal variance. We found that EPA's quality
assurance reviews are not designed to address whether public notices for
permits with a §316(a) thermal variance contain required information under the
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) per 40 CFR §124.57. As a result, EPA's
quality assurance reviews did not identify deficiencies in public notices. EPA
established this regulation so that permitting authorities would use public
notices to inform the public about proposed thermal variances.
Recommendation and Planned Agency Corrective Action
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water develop and
implement oversight mechanisms that will help states and regions consistently
comply with CWA §316(a) public notice requirements. The Agency agreed with
our recommendation and committed to implementing corrective actions by
June 30, 2013.
Noteworthy Achievements
The Office of Water is working to improve the quality of permits through its
PQR process. Quality assurance evaluations assess whether NPDES permits
written by states and regions comply with regulations. Through this review
process, the Office of Water works to promote national consistency in permits,
identify best practices in state NPDES programs, and recommend
opportunities for improvement in state and regional permit programs.

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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
May 23, 2013
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: EPA Oversight Addresses Thermal Variance and Cooling Water Permit Deficiencies
But Needs to Address Compliance With Public Notice Requirements
Report No. 13-P-0264
This is our report on the subject evaluation conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report contains findings that describe the problems
the OIG has identified and corrective actions the OIG recommends. This report represents the opinion of
the OIG and does not necessarily represent the final EPA position. Final determinations on matters in
this report will be made by EPA managers in accordance with established audit resolution procedures.
Action Required
Your response to the draft report included a proposed corrective action and completion date. The
recommendation is open with corrective actions underway. We have no objections to the further release
of this report to the public. We will post this report to our website at http://www.epa.gov/oig.
FROM: Arthur A. Elkins Jr.
TO:
Nancy K. Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator
Office of Water
If you or your staff members have any questions regarding this report, please contact Carolyn Copper,
Assistant Inspector General for Program Evaluation, at (202) 566-0829 or copper.carolyn@epa.gov;
or Dan Engelberg, Product Line Director, at (202) 566-0830 or engelberg.dan@epa.gov.

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EPA Oversight Addresses Thermal Variance and	13-P-0264
Cooling Water Permit Deficiencies But Needs to Address
Compliance With Public Notice Requirements
	 Table of C	
Purpose		1
Background		1
Regulations Governing CWA §316(a) Thermal Variances		1
Regulations Pursuant to CWA §316(b) Cooling Water Intake Structures		2
EPA and States Share Responsibility for Regulating Facilities Under
CWA §316(a) and §316(b) 		2
Public Notices Alert the Public to Proposed Permits		4
EPA's Office of Water Conducts Permit Quality Reviews 		4
Noteworthy Achievements 		5
Scope and Methodology		5
Prior Reports		6
Results of Review 		6
Administration of CWA §316(a) and §316(b) Needs Improvement		7
OW Identified Deficiencies and Regions Are Addressing
CWA §316(a) and §316(b) Permit Issues 		8
Conclusion		8
Recommendation		9
Agency Response and OIG Comment		9
Status of Recommendations and Potential Monetary Benefits		10
Appendices
A Permits Reviewed by OIG	 11
B Agency Response to Draft Report	 12
C Distribution	 14

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Purpose
We evaluated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
program permits from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Regions 1, 5, and 6, to review the oversight of regions' and states' compliance
with Clean Water Act (CWA) §316(a) and (b) requirements. These requirements
are in place to help protect aquatic organisms from the impacts of thermal
discharges and cooling water intake structures.
Background
Power plants and manufacturing facilities account for approximately half of all
water withdrawals in the United States. Most of the withdrawn water cools the
steam used to produce electricity. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey's report
Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005, power and self-supplied
industrial facilities withdraw an estimated 219 billion gallons of water per day.
Withdrawing surface waters through cooling water intake structures (CWISs) at
power plants causes adverse environmental impacts by pulling large numbers of
fish, larvae, eggs, and other small aquatic organisms into a facility's cooling
system. Once pulled in, they may be killed by heat, stress, or chemical exposure
(entrainment). Larger fish, crustaceans, and even marine mammals may be killed
or injured when they are trapped against screens at the front of an intake structure
by the force of water being drawn into the system (impingement). EPA estimates
that 2.1 billion fish, crabs, and shrimp are killed by impingement and entrainment
annually.
The environment may also be impacted when the cooling water is discharged.
Because the temperature of the effluent is higher than that of the receiving water,
it may negatively affect plant growth, ecosystem composition, and fish
reproduction and migration.
Regulations Governing CWA §316(a) Thermal Variances
Thermal effluents are regulated because heat is identified as a pollutant under
CWA 502(6). A facility may be authorized to discharge pollutants into U.S.
waters by obtaining an NPDES permit. Section 316(a) authorizes the permitting
authority (either the authorized state or EPA) to impose alternative, less stringent
effluent limits for the control of the thermal component of a discharge in lieu of
the effluent limits that would otherwise be required under CWA §301 or §306.
A variance allows facilities to discharge cooling water at an alternative, less
stringent thermal effluent limit that is still protective of aquatic life. To obtain a
CWA §316(a) thermal variance, the operator of a facility must demonstrate to the
permitting authority that an alternative thermal discharge limit will be protective
of the balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife. This
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alternative effluent limit, or variance, is only in effect for the duration of the
permit.
Regulations Pursuant to CWA §316(b) Cooling Water
Intake Structures
Under CWA §316(b), facilities with NPDES permits and CWISs must ensure that
the location, design, construction, and capacity of the CWIS reflects the best
technology available to minimize adverse environmental impacts. EPA completed
three phases of rulemaking to address cooling water intakes. The Phase I rule,
promulgated in 2001, covers new facilities; Phase II, promulgated in 2004, covers
large existing electric generating plants; and Phase III, promulgated in 2006,
covers certain existing facilities and new offshore and coastal oil and gas
extraction facilities.
EPA suspended the Phase II existing facilities rule in 2007 as a result of a ruling
by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.1 Until a new regulation is
developed, Phase II existing facilities are subject to the only portion of that
regulation still in effect under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in
40 CFR 125.90(b). Under current regulations, including 40 CFR 401.14, permit
writers must use "best professional judgment" on a case-by-case basis to identify
the best technology available to minimize adverse environmental impacts.
According to a recent modification of the settlement agreement between EPA and
an environmental organization, a new set of regulations will be promulgated in
2013.2 The new rule will cover approximately 1,260 existing facilities that
withdraw at least 2 million gallons per day of cooling water.
EPA and States Share Responsibility for Regulating Facilities
Under CWA §316(a) and §316(b)
Both EPA and states have responsibilities for protecting surface waters from harm
under the CWA. EPA has granted authority to 46 states to issue NPDES permits
and EPA has not granted this authority in 4 states and the District of Columbia, as
well as with Indian tribes and in U.S. territories.3 While authorized states issue
NPDES permits, EPA retains the authority to review permits for compliance with
regulations. The following chart is a general summary of the permitting process.
1	Riverkeeper, Inc. v. EPA, 475 F.3d 83 (2d Cir. 2007), rev'd in part sub. nom. Entergy Corp. v. Riverkeeper, Inc., 556 U.S. 208
(2009).
2	Second Amendment to Settlement Agreement among the EPA, Plaintiffs in Cronin et. al. v. Reilly, 93 CIV. 314 (LTS) (SDNY),
and Plaintiffs in Riverkeeper. et. al. v. EPA, 06 CIV. 12987 (PKC) (SDNY) (available through the EPA website at:
http://water.eDa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/316b/upload/modified-settlement-agreement-with-Riverkeeper.pdf).
3	The Virgin Islands and Maine are only partially authorized. Maine's NPDES authority does not include CWA§316(b)
determinations.
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Figure 1: State NPDES Permitting Process — Key Steps


Facility sends permit application to the state



State reviews application for completeness and accuracy.


Requests additional information as necessary



Using application information and other data;


the state develops permit limitations



Prepare fact sheet and supporting documentation

~

Public Notice issued with a 30-day comment period



State reviews and responds to comments from EPA


and the public



State issues final permit


Source: Office of Inspector General (OIG) analysis of EPA NPDES
Permit Writers Manual.
The permitting authority reviews the facility's permit application and prepares the
draft permit, the fact sheet, and the public notice. A fact sheet briefly presents the
principal facts and the significant factual, legal, methodological, and policy
questions considered in preparing the draft permit. Under 40 CFR § 124.8(b)(4),
the fact sheet shall include a summary of the basis for the draft permit conditions,
and if a CWA§316(a) is requested, reasons why these variances are or are not
justified must be included under and 40 CFR §124.8(b)(5). For example, any
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permit that contains a thermal variance issued under §316(a) needs to describe
and justify that variance in its fact sheet. For a permit issued pursuant to §316(b),
the fact sheet must describe and the permit must require that the location, design,
construction, and capacity of the structures reflect the best technology available to
minimize harmful impacts on the environment.
Public Notices Alert the Public to Proposed Permits
Public notices inform citizens about proposed NPDES permits issued by
permitting authority (states or EPA). Compliance with public notice requirements
is important because incomplete or inadequate public notices hinder the public's
awareness and its opportunity for input and involvement in permitting authorities'
decisions pertaining to waterbody protections. The permitting authority publishes
public notices of draft permits so that the public has an opportunity to review and
comment on a draft permit and permit conditions. According to 40 CFR
§124.10(d), the public notice must contain basic information about the permitted
facility, contact information, and public hearing notification (if applicable). If a
facility's draft permit contains a §316(a) thermal variance, the public notice must
contain specific requirements as identified in 40 CFR §124.57. Because of the
2007 suspension of the Phase II existing facilities rule as described above, we are
not reporting on public notice compliance related to §316 (b) decisions in this
report. EPA plans to release new Phase II existing facility rules in June 2013.
EPA's Office of Water Conducts Permit Quality Reviews
EPA's Office of Water (OW) evaluates the quality of permits through its NPDES
Permit Quality Review (PQR) process.4 According to OW staff, the PQRs began in
the mid 1980s. This is a process EPA uses to assess whether NPDES permits are
developed consistent with applicable requirements in the CWA and environmental
regulations. Between 2007 and 2010, OW conducted PQRs in eight regions. One
goal of the PQR was to identify how permitting authorities have incorporated §316
provisions into permit requirements. The universe of potential NPDES permits for
review was determined using EPA's Permit Compliance System database and the
lists of facilities developed during the rulemaking for §316(b). In consultation with
the 8 regions, EPA selected 112 permits to review.5 OW found that decisions
regarding thermal discharge variances under §316(a) and permit conditions
implementing §316(b) were not well documented in state or EPA permits.
According to staff in OW, the PQR process provides a list of findings and
recommendations that are tracked biannually.
4	NPDES PQR findings for Regions 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 are available at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/pqr.cfm.
5	In total, for the §316 core review, 112 permits were reviewed - Region 1 (17), Region 2 (12), Region 3 (16), Region 4 (23),
Region 5 (19), Region 7 (7), Region 9 (7), and Region 10 (11).
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Noteworthy Achievements
OW is working to improve the quality of permits through its PQR process. These
quality assurance evaluations assess whether NPDES permits written by states
and regions comply with regulations. Through this review process, OW works to
promote national consistency in permits, identify successes in implementation of
state NPDES programs, and recommend opportunities for improvement in state
and regional permit programs.
Scope and Methodology
Based on lists containing 262 permits provided by Regions 1, 5, and 6, we
selected a total of 29 permits to review (appendix A provides a detailed list). We
selected these permits because they represent permits issued by states and regions,
permits from locations with high thermoelectric power water withdrawal, and/or
permits where there had been no prior EPA OIG audit coverage. Eight permits in
our sample contained a thermal variance regulated under §316(a). All 29 permits
contained a CWIS that is regulated under §316(b). We collected permit
documents through requests to regions and states. With one exception, we
obtained all of the documents requested. We did not receive a copy of the public
notice for one of the NPDES permits issued by the State of Vermont. This did not
affect our conclusions reached or our ability to address our evaluation objectives.
To determine states' compliance with §316(a) and §316(b) regulations, we
evaluated state permits and documents that EPA regional staff reviewed, as well
as a sample of state permits and documents that were not reviewed by EPA
regional staff. Because the §316(b) Phase II regulations were suspended in 2007,
we only reviewed public notices for compliance with §316(a) regulations.
We reviewed §316(a) and §316(b), as well as applicable regulations, to gain an
understanding of how these sections of the law are implemented. We interviewed
staff from OW and Regions 1, 5, and 6 about EPA's oversight of states'
compliance with §316 requirements. During our field work we learned about
OW's regional PQRs and we incorporated the review of those documents into our
evaluation. In addition to reviewing PQR reports for Regions 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10,
we reviewed a draft PQR report for Region 1 and a summary of draft findings for
Region 4.6 We also contacted the regions for information about oversight of
NPDES permits and progress implementing changes based on OW's PQR
recommendations.
We conducted our review from January to June 2012 in accordance with generally
accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and
perform our review to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a
reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our objectives. We
6 We did not review PQRs for Regions 6 and 8 since the reports had not been released at the time of our evaluation.
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believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our objective.
Prior Reports
We reviewed the following reports related to NPDES permits containing §316(a)
thermal variances and cooling water intake structures regulated under §316(b):
EPA OIG
•	Report No. 2007-P-00038, Decision Needed on Regulating the Cooling
Lagoons at the North Anna Power Station, September 20, 2007.
•	Report No. 11 -P-0221, Oversight of North Carolina's Renewals of
Thermal Variances, May 9, 2011.
U.S. Government Accountability Office
•	Report No. GAO-04-589R, Environmental Protection Agency: National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System—Final Regulations to Establish
Requirements for Cooling Water Intake Structures at Phase II Existing
Facilities, July 22, 2004.
•	Report No. GAO-10-23, Energy-Water Nexus: Improvements to Federal
Water Use Data Would Increase Understanding of Trends in Power Plant
Water Use, October 16, 2009.
Congressional Research Service
•	Report No. R41786, Cooling Water Intake Structures: Summary of EPA 's
Proposed Rule, July 19, 2011.
Results of Review
Since the 1980s, EPA has had an oversight process, known as PQRs, to promote
permit quality and ensure a reasonable degree of national consistency with regard
to core program requirements. The PQRs EPA conducted from 2007 to 2010
identified a number of deficiencies in NPDES permits, which EPA made
recommendations to improve. Our review of EPA's PQR oversight process found
it has generally been effective in determining the quality of permits. Like EPA,
we found deficiencies in permits or supporting documents. For example,
55 percent of the fact sheets in our sample did not contain an explanation of the
state's or EPA's decision in the permit that facilities use the best technology
available to minimize the environmental impact of the cooling water intake
structures regulated under CWA §316(b). Conversely, 75 percent of the fact
sheets we reviewed contained an explanation of the state's or EPA's decision to
approve the facilities' requests for CWA §316(a) thermal variances. A fact sheet
briefly presents the principal facts and the significant factual, legal,
methodological, and policy questions considered in preparing the draft permit.
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None of the public notices we reviewed contained all of the required statements
describing the proposed §316(a) thermal variance. We found that EPA's quality
assurance reviews are not designed to address whether public notices for permits
with a §316(a) thermal variance contain required information under 40 CFR
§124.57. As a result, EPA's quality assurance reviews did not identify
deficiencies in public notices. EPA established this regulation so that permitting
authorities would use public notices to inform the public about proposed thermal
variances. Incomplete or inadequate public notices hinder the public's awareness
and its opportunity for input and involvement in permitting authorities' decisions
pertaining to waterbody protections under §316(a).
Administration of CWA §316(a) and §316(b) Needs Improvement
We reviewed eight permits and associated fact sheets containing CWA §316(a)
thermal variances. Most of the permits in our sample complied with §316(a)
regulations and we did not identify any oversight deficiencies. This is notable
since the OIG has reported oversight of state programs as an EPA management
challenge for the past several years. Region 5 provided oversight of state-issued
permits by reviewing the draft permit and OW conducted permit quality reviews
that included permit analyses of §316(a) in Regions 1 and 5. Region 1 issued four
of these permits. The thermal variance requirements and justification in these four
permits were well documented in the permit and fact sheet. The other four permits
were issued by Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Vermont. In Ohio and Illinois,
Region 5 raised concerns during its review of the draft permit about the lack of
support for the state's decision to approve the thermal variance. The states
modified the final permits to address these concerns. Although the Vermont
permit was not reviewed by Region 1, the permit and fact sheets contained
sufficient explanation of the thermal variance.
Alternatively, 17 out of 29 (59 percent) of the state and EPA permits and 16 out
of 29 (55 percent) of the fact sheets we reviewed did not comply with 40 CFR
§125.90(b). This regulation states that a facility must meet requirements under
§316(b) to minimize adverse environmental impacts as determined by the director
on a case-by-case, best professional judgment basis. The permitting authority's
justification must be documented in the fact sheet, while the permit must lay out
the final decision. However, the fact sheets for 55 percent of the permits we
reviewed did not contain this justification. Instead of requiring facilities to install
the best technology available, about a quarter of the state permits in our sample
required facilities to collect information about the impacts of existing structures.
The public notices we reviewed also did not comply with regulations. We
reviewed public notices for the permits containing a §316(a) thermal variance
(see appendix A). None of the public notices contained all of the required
statements describing the proposed §316(a) thermal variance. We found similar
deficiencies during our 2011 review of North Carolina permits containing §316(a)
thermal variances. While the OW's PQRs examined whether other types of
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permits complied with state and local public notice requirements, the checklist for
permits containing a §316(a) thermal variance did not contain specific questions
to verify that the public notice complied with the applicable regulation
(40 CFR §124.57). As a result, OW did not identify this deficiency in state and
regional permit packages. Because of the 2007 suspension of the Phase II existing
facilities rule as described above, we are not reporting on public notice
compliance related to §316(b) decisions in this report.
OW Identified Deficiencies and Regions Are Addressing CWA §316(a)
and §316(b) Permit Issues
OW found that decisions regarding thermal discharge variances under §316(a)
and permit conditions implementing §316(b) were not well documented in state or
EPA permits. The PQR reports did not identify the cause of these deficiencies but
presented the regions with recommendations to improve compliance with
regulatory requirements. The general recommendation was for regions and states
to re-evaluate §316(a) thermal variances and §316(b) requirements at each permit
renewal and document the basis in the permit and fact sheet. Prior determinations
are also to be documented in the fact sheet and reflected in the current permit, as
appropriate. We contacted the eight regions which have final or draft PQR reports
to determine their progress in implementing OW's recommendations. All eight
regions indicated that they are implementing the PQR recommendations, which
are tracked by OW on a semiannual basis. We believe OW's recommendations
pertaining to §316(a) and (b) and regional follow-up are sufficient and that no
further action is necessary at this point.
Conclusion
OW has made strides in addressing CWA §316(a) and (b) permit deficiencies
through its permit quality reviews and through recommendations for improved
regional oversight. However, we found that none of the state and regional public
notices in our sample contain all of the required statements describing the
proposed §316(a) thermal variance. We also found that OW did not identify these
deficiencies during the PQR process. We concluded that this is a weakness in
OW's PQR process and oversight. Providing the public with the proper notice,
as regulations require, is a central part of better protecting the environment and
public health through public engagement and by obtaining information and input
from the public. The information gaps about thermal variances in public notices
indicate a need for greater transparency and EPA oversight of states' public
notices. Improving that aspect of oversight of state NPDES permits can be
achieved through an improved PQR review process. Further, by increasing
oversight of public notices, regions can help states comply with public notice
requirements once the §316(b) existing facilities regulation is final and state
directors begin implementing the new rule.
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Recommendation
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water:
1. Develop and implement oversight mechanisms that will help states and
regions consistently comply with CWA §316(a) public notice requirements.
Agency Response and OIG Comment
The Agency agreed with our recommendation and provided a timeline for
implementing corrective actions. We revised the final report based on technical
comments received to the draft report.
EPA's comments noted that reviewing and granting CWA §316(a) thermal
variances is a comprehensive and technical process based on biology, which
proves to be a difficult endeavor for NPDES permit writers who are often
engineers by training. EPA's comments pointed out that CWA §316(b)
determinations of best technology available are complicated by a reluctance of
permit writers to require the installation of new technologies, which may require
expensive capital investments, prior to finalization of standards for existing
cooling water intake structures under CWA §316(b). The comment concluded
with a statement that EPA is working to finalize these standards by June 27, 2013,
under a modified settlement agreement.
We acknowledge the technical challenges associated with permit determinations
for thermal variances under CWA §316(a), and the difficulties in implementing an
NPDES permit program when parts of the CWA §316(b) regulations are under
development. We also recognize that the permit quality review process is
designed to identify and correct deficiencies, which in time should aid in the
implementation of the new CWA §316(b) regulations.
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Status of Recommendations and
Potential Monetary Benefits
RECOMMENDATIONS
POTENTIAL MONETARY
BENEFITS (In $000s)
Rec.
No.
Page
No.
Subject
Status1
Action Official
Planned
Completion
Date
Develop and implement oversight mechanisms that
will help states and regions consistently comply
with CWA §316(a) public notice requirements.
Assistant Administrator
for Water
6/30/13
Claimed
Amount
Ag reed-To
Amount
1 0 = recommendation is open with agreed-to corrective actions pending
C = recommendation is closed with all agreed-to actions completed
U = recommendation is unresolved with resolution efforts in progress
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Appendix A
Permits Reviewed by OIG
Permit number and facility
Region
State
§316(a) and (b)
regulated status
Draft permit
reviewed
by region *
Part of OW's
PQR**
NH0020338 - FPL Energy Seabrook,
LLC
1
NH
(a) and (b)
N/A
Yes
VT0000264 - Entergy Nuclear
Vermont Yankee
1
VT
(a) and (b)
No
Yes
MA0003654 - Brayton Point
1
MA
(a) and (b)
N/A
No
MA0004928 - Mirant Canal
1
MA
(a) and (b)
N/A
Yes
MA0004898 - Mirant Kendall Station
1
MA
(a) and (b)
N/A
Yes
CT0000957 - Pfizer
1
CT
(b) only
No
Yes
CT0026476 - Algonquin Power
1
CT
(b) only
No
No
ME0002160 - VERSO Bucksport
1
ME
(b) only
No
Yes
ME0021521 -S.D. Warren Company
1
ME
(b) only
No
No
NH0000655 - Pulp and Paper of
America (aka Fraser Papers)
1
NH
(b) only
N/A
Yes
CT0020389 - Anocoil Corp.
1
CT
(b) only
No
No
ME0000272 - Wyman Station
1
ME
(b) only
No
Yes
VT0020893 - Ryegate Associates
1
VT
(b) only
No
Yes
CT0003263 - Millstone
1
CT
(b) only
Yes
Yes
IL0002224 - Excelon Dresden
5
IL
(a) and (b)
Yes
No
OH0009261 - DP&L OH Hutchings
5
OH
(a) and (b)
Yes
No
WI0002381 - Alliant Nelson Dewy
5
Wl
(b) only
No
No
MI0001457 - Entergy- Palisades
Power Plant
5
Ml
(b) only
Yes
No
MI0005827 - AEP Cook
5
Ml
(a) and (b)
Yes
Yes
MI0038105-Wyandotte Electric
Power
5
Ml
(b) only
No
No
IN0000337 - US Steel
5
IN
(b) only
No
No
OH0002461 - BP-Husky Toledo
5
OH
(b) only
Yes
No
OK0000451 - OG&E Seminole
6
OK
(b) only
Yes
X
LA0002887 - CLECO
6
LA
(b) only
Yes
X
TX0119288 - Lamar Power Partners
6
TX
(b) only
No
X
LA0002925 - SWEPCO
6
LA
(b) only
Yes
X
TX0001066 - Luminant
6
TX
(b) only
No
X
LA0007439 - Entergy Waterford
6
LA
(b) only
Yes
X
TX0070068 - Coleto Creek
6
TX
(b) only
No
X
Source: OIG analysis.
* "N/A" - Not Applicable, denotes permits that were prepared by Region 1 for non-authorized states.
** "X" - A list of facilities evaluated as part of the PQR review will not be available until the Region 6 PQR report
is finalized.
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Appendix B
Agency Response to Draft Report
MAR - 5 2013
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: Response to the Office of Inspector General Draft Audit Report, EPA Is
Addressing Thermal Variance and Cooling Water Permit Deficiencies But Needs
to Evaluate Public Notices (Project No. OPE-FY12-003)
FROM: Nancy K. Stoner
Acting Assistant Administrator
TO:	Carolyn Copper
Assistant Inspector General for Program Evaluation
Thank you for the opportunity to review and respond to the Office of Inspector General (OIG)
draft audit report, EPA Is Addressing Thermal Variance and Cooling Water Permit Deficiencies
But Needs to Evaluate Public Notices. The purpose of this memorandum is to transmit the Office
of Water's (OW) response to the OIG draft report and its recommendations. This memorandum
addresses the report's recommendations; Attachment 1 provides detailed comments on the
report. Below is the recommendation in the draft report with our response:
OW Response to Report Recommendations:
Agreements
No
Recommendation
High-Level Intended Corrective Action(s)
Estimated
Completion by FY
1
Develop and implement
oversight mechanisms
that will help states and
regions consistently
comply with CWA § 316
(a) public notice
requirements.
OW will include an item on the National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) Permit Review Checklist so
that future NPDES Permit Quality
Reviews will serve as an oversight
mechanism to assess consistency of
applicable NPDES permits with CWA §
316(a) public notice requirements.
Third Quarter FY
2013
OW welcomes the opportunity to continue working with OIG to implement these
recommendations. If you have any questions, please contact Randy Hill, Acting Director of the
Office of Wastewater Management, at (202) 564-0748.
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Attachment
cc. Randy Hill
Dan Engelberg
Deborah Nagle
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Distribution
Office of the Administrator
Assistant Administrator for Water
Agency Follow-Up Official (the CFO)
Agency Follow-Up Coordinator
General Counsel
Associate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Associate Administrator for External Affairs and Environmental Education
Regional Administrator, Region 1
Regional Administrator, Region 5
Regional Administrator, Region 6
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Water
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Region 1
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Region 5
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Region 6
13-P-0264

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