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EPA Announces New Activity on Aquaculture Effluents


Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 24 Jan 2000 11:36:59 -0900





text/plain (1 lines)

> Received from MIKE CLIPPER, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

-------- Original Message --------

The following is an important notice from the Engineering and Analysis
Division of the Office of Water at EPA announcing the agency's decision on
"a new activity to develop pollutant controls in the form of nationally
applicable discharge standards for commercial and public aquaculture
operations". Please share this announcement with others in the U.S.
aquaculture community. The federal Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture will
be actively involved in collaborating with EPA and coordinating a network of
stakeholders and expertise to assist in this process.


                        EPA Expands Focus on Nutrient Pollution

        EPA's Office of Water is focusing new efforts to help reduce
nutrient loadings from commercial agricultural and industrial operations
nationwide. Among those efforts is a new activity to develop pollutant
controls in the form of nationally applicable discharge standards (known as
effluent limitations guidelines and standards) for commercial and public
aquaculture operations.

        In assessments of surface water quality, states most frequently cite
siltation, nutrients, and pathogens as the major cause of water quality
impairment. Over the past two years, EPA has directed resources of the
Office of Water's Engineering and Analysis Division to address specific
sources of these pollutants. Current activities addressing coal mining
(remining operations and certain mine land reclamation activities in the
arid west) and the construction and development industry are expected to
result in significant reductions of soil and other solids reaching rivers,
lakes and streams. Ongoing activities to control nutrients and pathogens
from concentrated animal (pork, poultry, beef, and dairy) feeding operations
are expected to improve water quality.

        In 1974, EPA issued a summary technical document for use as guidance
in developing controls for wastewater discharges from fish hatcheries and
farms. At that time a decision was made not to issue final national
effluent limitations guidelines and standards. Based on the 1997
agricultural census data, the aquaculture industry includes close to 5,000
land based and marine environment facilities. The aquaculture industry has
facilities located in every state and territory, and is currently one of
several growing segments of U.S. agriculture. Given the current growth of
the aquaculture industry, and the inconsistent state regulatory oversight,
EPA has decided to examine technologies currently available for the control
of pollutants, primarily nutrients from land based and marine environment
aquaculture operations. Although the aquaculture industry is currently
subject to the NPDES permitting system, there are no national technology
based standards for aquaculture. New national standards for aquaculture
will assist the 43 states that are delegated by EPA to administer the NPDES
permitting program.

        Some aquaculture facilities can contribute nutrients to
environmentally sensitive areas found in estuaries, rivers, lakes, and
streams throughout the country. Improvements in wastewater treatment within
the aquaculture industry have been employed by some facilities to reduce the
nutrient pollutant load. It may be possible for more facilities to employ
these technologies to reduce pollutant discharge loadings to surface waters
and, in some cases, water quality impairment in portions of the U.S. By
examining the cost and performance of pollution control technologies and
practices, EPA is committed to developing national effluent limitations
guidelines and standards that are consistent with the principles of good
environmental stewardship and support the long-term sustainability of the

        Throughout this national regulatory effort, EPA will work closely
with USDA and other federal agencies, academia, industry trade associations,
state and local governments, citizen groups, environmental groups and other
stakeholders. EPA's efforts will build on the technical expertise of
nationally-recognized leaders, such as members and participants of the
Federal Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) and its newly created
Aquaculture Effluents Task Force. EPA will regularly provide to the JSA,
the industry, and the public, information on its data needs and the status
of their efforts throughout the regulatory development period.


Mike Clipper
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street SW Mailcode 4303
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 260-1278 (phone)
(202) 260-7185 (fax)
[log in to unmask] (E-mail)


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