New EPA Rule to Improve Fish Farm Water Quality
EPA finalized a new rule on June 30 establishing regulations for concentrated aquatic animal production (CAAP) or farm raised fish facilities.
The regulation will apply to approximately 245 facilities that generate wastewater from their operations and discharge that wastewater directly into waters of the United States.
This rule will help reduce discharges of conventional pollutants, primarily total suspended solids. The rule will also help reduce non-conventional pollutants such as nutrients.
To a lesser extent, the rule will reduce drugs that are used to manage diseased fish, chemicals used to clean net pens, and toxic pollutants (metals and PCBs).
The final rule applies to direct discharges of wastewater from existing and new facilities that produce at least 100,000 pounds of fish a year and discharge at least 30 days a year and facilities that produce at least 100,000 pounds of fish a year in net pens or submerged cages.
When the rule is fully implemented, discharges of total suspended solids will be reduced by more than 500,000 pounds a year and biochemical oxygen demand and nutrients will be reduced by about 300,000 pounds per year.
The Clean Water Act directs EPA to review the effluent guidelines and to set schedules for new and revised effluent guidelines. This effects newly permitted facilities, and existing facilities upon renewal of their (CAAP) permits.
In January 1992, EPA agreed to a settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and others in a consent decree that established a schedule by which EPA would consider regulations for 19 industrial categories. EPA selected the (CAAP) industry for one of those rules. Issuance of this rule completes all regulations addressed under the settlement agreement.