Implications of proposed EPA effluent guidelines for Georgia aquatic animal production facilities
Hendrickx, Edward J., Jr.
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In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans for developing new and revised effluent guidelines regulating industrial discharges to surface waters and to publicly owned treatment works. In 2000 EPA decided to include aquaculture in the process and in September of 2002 they released for public comment the proposed effluent guidelines for aquatic animal production facilities. EPA is proposing these guidelines to control the discharge of Total Suspended Solids and also to limit the release of drugs, chemicals, pathogens and non-native species. The categories proposed for consideration include flow-through, recirculating, and net pens systems producing at least 100,000 pounds of fish annually. It is estimated by EPA that 4.1 million pounds of TSS will be eliminated from discharge into waters of the U.S. and the net result will be a reduction in BOD and nutrient discharge of 8.7 millions pounds annually. They estimate an annual economic benefit to the U.S. of between $22,00-$113,000. Compliance cost to the industry nationwide is estimated at $1.5 million. The proposed requirements are assumed to affect 222 facilities nationwide, three of which are in Georgia. The public comment period on the proposal ends in January 2003. EPA is under a Decree to develop final rules by 2004.