[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 177 (Thursday, September 12, 2002)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57872-57928]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-21673]



[[Page 57871]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Part II





Environmental Protection Agency





-----------------------------------------------------------------------



40 CFR Part 451



Effluent Limitations Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards 
for the Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Point Source Category; 
Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 67, No. 177 / Thursday, September 12, 2002 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 57872]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 451

[FRL--7263-2]
RIN 2040-AD55


Effluent Limitations Guidelines and New Source Performance 
Standards for the Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Point Source 
Category

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This action presents the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency's (EPA's) proposed effluent limitations guidelines and standards 
for wastewater discharges from the concentrated aquatic animal 
production (CAAP) industrial point source category. The proposed 
regulation proposes new technology-based effluent limitations 
guidelines and standards for wastewater discharges associated with the 
operation of new and existing concentrated aquatic animal production 
facilities.
    EPA estimates that compliance with this regulation, as proposed, 
would reduce the discharge of total suspended solids (TSS) by at least 
4.1 million pounds per year and would cost industry an estimated $1.5 
million and Federal and State permitting authorities an estimated 
$3,337 on an annual basis. EPA expects that the control of TSS would 
reduce the discharge of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and nutrients 
by at least 8.7 million pounds per year. EPA also believes that by 
implementing the best management practices (BMP) plans any toxic and 
non-conventional pollutants that may be discharged will be controlled. 
EPA estimates that the annual quantifiable benefits of the proposal 
would be approximately $22,000-$113,000.

DATES: Comments on the proposal must be postmarked by December 11, 
2002. EPA will conduct two or three public meetings to discuss the 
proposed rule. The information on dates, times and locations of the 
public meetings will be published in a subsequent Federal Register 
notice.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to Ms. Marta Jordan, Office of 
Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), U.S. EPA, 1200 
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460. For hand-deliveries or 
Federal Express, please send comments to Ms. Marta Jordan, Office of 
Water, Engineering and Analysis Division, Room 6233M, 1201 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., 6th Floor, Connecting Wing, Washington, DC 20004. Comments 
may be sent by e-mail to the following e-mail address: 
aquaticanimals@epa.gov. For additional information on how to submit 
comments, see ``SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, How to Submit Comments.''
    The public record for this proposed rulemaking has been established 
under docket number W-02-01 and is located in the Water Docket, EPA 
West Room B135,1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington DC, 20004.The 
record is available for inspection from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, excluding legal holidays. For access to the docket 
materials, call (202) 566-2426 to schedule an appointment. You may have 
to pay a reasonable fee for copying.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information concerning 
today's proposed rule, contact Ms. Marta Jordan at (202) 566-1049. For 
economic information, contact Mr. Nicolaas Bouwes at (202) 566-1002.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulated Entities

    Entities potentially regulated by this action include:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Primary
            Category                 Examples of regulated        NAICS
                                            entities              codes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Industry.......................  Facilities engaged in
                                  concentrated aquatic animal
                                  production, which may
                                  include the following
                                  sectors:.
                                   Finfish Farming and Fish       112511
                                    Hatcheries.
                                   Other Animal Aquaculture...    112519
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The preceding table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather 
provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated 
by this action. This table lists the types of entities that EPA is now 
aware could potentially be regulated by this action. Other types of 
entities not listed in the table could also be regulated. To determine 
whether your facility would be regulated by this action, you should 
carefully examine the applicability criteria in 40 CFR part 451.1, 
451.10, 451.20, and 451.30. You should also examine the description of 
the proposed scope of each subpart in Section VI.B of this document. If 
you have questions regarding the applicability of this proposed action 
to a particular entity, contact the person listed for technical 
information in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

How To Submit Comments

    EPA requests an original and three copies of your comments and 
enclosures (including references). Commenters who want EPA to 
acknowledge receipt of their comments should enclose a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted. Please submit 
any copies of references cited in your comments.
    Comments may also be sent via e-mail, see ADDRESSES. Electronic 
comments must specify docket number W-02-01 and must be submitted as an 
ASCII, Word, or WordPerfect file avoiding the use of special characters 
and any form of encryption. Electronic comments on this proposal may be 
filed online at many Federal Depository Libraries. No confidential 
business information (CBI) should be sent via e-mail.

Protection of Confidential Business Information (CBI)

    EPA notes that certain information and data in the record 
supporting the proposed rule have been claimed as CBI and, therefore, 
are not included in the record that is available to the public in the 
Water Docket. Pursuant to EPA regulations at 40 CFR 2.203 and 2.211, 
EPA treats all information for which a claim of confidentiality is made 
as confidential unless and until it makes a determination to the 
contrary under 40 CFR 2.205. Further, the Agency has not included in 
the docket some data not claimed as CBI because release of this 
information would indirectly reveal information claimed to be 
confidential. To provide the public with as much information as 
possible in support of the proposed rulemaking, EPA is presenting in 
the public record certain information in aggregated form or, 
alternatively, is masking facility identities or employing other 
strategies in order to preserve confidentiality claims. This approach 
ensures that the information in the public record both explains the 
basis for today's proposal and allows for a meaningful opportunity for 
public comment, without compromising CBI claims.
    Some tabulations and analyses of facility-specific data claimed as 
CBI are available to the company that submitted the information. To 
ensure that all data or information claimed as CBI is protected in 
accordance with EPA regulations, any requests for release of such 
company-specific data should be submitted to EPA on company letterhead 
and signed by a responsible official authorized to receive such data.

[[Page 57873]]

The request must list the specific data requested and include the 
following statement, ``I certify that EPA is authorized to transfer 
confidential business information submitted by my company, and that I 
am authorized to receive it.''

Supporting Documentation

    The rules proposed today are supported by several documents:
    1. ``Economic and Environmental Impact Analysis of Proposed 
Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Concentrated 
Aquatic Animal Production Industry Point Source Category'' (EPA-821-R-
02-015). Hereafter referred to as the CAAP Economic Analysis, this 
document presents the analysis of compliance costs; facility, firm, 
small business and market impacts; and water quality impacts and 
potential benefits. In addition, this document presents an analysis of 
cost-effectiveness. (DCN 20141)
    2. ``Development Document for Proposed Effluent Limitations 
Guidelines and Standards for the Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production 
Industry Point Source Category'' (EPA-821-R-02-016). Hereafter referred 
to as the CAAP Development Document, the document presents EPA's 
technical conclusions concerning the CAAP proposal. This document 
describes, among other things, the data collection activities, the 
wastewater treatment technology options, effluent characterization, 
effluent reduction of the wastewater treatment technology options, 
estimate of costs to the industry, and estimate of effects on non-water 
quality environmental impacts. (DCN 61552)
    3. ``Draft Guidance for Aquatic Animal Production Facilities to 
Assist in Reducing the Discharge of Pollutants'' (EPA-821-B-02-002). 
Hereafter referred to as the AAP Technical Guidance Manual, the 
document presents best management practices (BMPs) in use at 
concentrated aquatic animal facilities. The guidance manual presents 
general BMPs that can be applied throughout the industry and BMPs that 
apply to specific sectors of the industry. (DCN 61553)

How To Obtain Supporting Documents

    All documents are available from the National Service Center for 
Environmental Publications, P.O. Box 42419, Cincinnati, OH 45242-2419, 
(800) 490-9198 and the EPA Water Resource Center. The supporting 
technical documentation (e.g., CAAP Development Document, Economic 
Analysis and AAP Technical Guidance Manual) can be obtained on the 
Internet, located at http://www.epa.gov/ost/guide/aquaculture/. This 
website is also linked to an electronic version of today's proposed 
rule.

Overview

    The preamble describes the legal authority for the proposal, 
background information, the technical and economic methodologies used 
by the Agency to develop these proposed regulations and, in an 
appendix, the definitions, acronyms, and abbreviations used in this 
document. This preamble also solicits comment and data generally, and 
on specific areas of interest.

Table of Contents

I. Legal Authority
II. Background
    A. Clean Water Act
    B. Section 304(m) Consent Decree
III. Rulemaking History and Industry Profile
    A. Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Effluent Guideline 
Rulemaking History
    B. Environmental and Human Health Impacts
    C. Industry Profile
IV. Summary of Data Collection
    A. Primary and Secondary Sources of Data and Information
    B. Industry Surveys
    C. Site Visits and Wastewater Sampling
    D. Pollutants Sampled and Analytical Methods
    E. Other Data Collection
    F. Summary of Public Participation
V. Scope/Applicability of Proposed Regulation
    A. Facilities to be Subject to 40 CFR Part 451
    B. Facilities Not Subject to 40 CFR Part 451
VI. Subcategorization
    A. Factors Considered in Developing Proposed Subcategories
    B. Proposed Subcategories
VII. Technology Options, Costs, Wastewater Characteristics, and 
Pollutant Reductions
    A. Description of Wastewater Treatment Technologies and 
Management Practices in the CAAP Industry
    B. Water Use and Wastewater Characteristics
    C. Pollutants of Concern
    D. Approach to Estimating Compliance Costs
    E. Approach to Estimating Pollutant Reductions
VIII. Options Evaluated and Selected for Proposal
    A. Introduction
    B. Flow-through Systems
    C. Recirculating Systems
    D. Net Pen Systems
    E. Ponds
    F. No Regulation Option
    G. CAAP Pretreatment Standards
IX. Economic Analysis
    A. Introduction
    B. Economic Data Collection Activities
    C. Economic Impact Methodologies
    D. Annualized Compliance Cost Estimates
    E. Model Facility Impacts
    F. Other Economic Impacts
    G. BPT Cost Comparison Test and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
    H. Small Business Analysis
    I. Cost-Benefit Analysis
X. Water Quality Analysis and Environmental Benefits
    A. CAAP Environmental Impacts
    B. Environmental Benefits Analysis
XI. Non-Water Quality Environmental Impacts
    A. Energy Requirements
    B. Air Emissions Impacts
    C. Solid Waste Generation
XII. Implementation
    A. Regulatory Implementation of Part 451 through the NPDES 
Permit Program and the National Pretreatment Program
    B. Upset and Bypass Provisions
    C. Variances and Modifications
    D. Best Management Practices
    E. Potential Tools to Assist with the Remediation of Aquaculture 
Effluents
XIII. Administrative Requirements
    A. Executive Order 12866: ``Regulatory Planning and Review''
    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) as amended by the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq.
    C. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    D. Executive Order 13045: ``Protection of Children from 
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks''
    E. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments
    F. Paperwork Reduction Act
    G. Executive Order 13132: ``Federalism''
    H. Executive Order 12898: ``Federal Actions to Address 
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income 
Populations''
    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
    J. Executive Order 13211: ``Energy Effects''
    K.Plain Language
XIV. Solicitation of Data and Comments
    A. General and Specific Comment Solicitation
XV. Guidelines for Submission of Analytical Data
    A. Types of Data Requested
    B. Analytes Requested
    C. Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Requirements
Appendix A: Definitions, Acronyms, and Abbreviations Used in This 
Document

I. Legal Authority

    These regulations are proposed under the authority of sections 301, 
304, 306, 308, 402, and 501 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1311, 
1314, 1316, 1318, 1342, and 1361.

II. Background

A. Clean Water Act

    Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (1972), 
also known as the Clean Water Act (CWA), to ``restore and maintain the 
chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters.'' 
(33 U.S.C. 1251(a)).

[[Page 57874]]

The CWA establishes a comprehensive program for protecting our nation's 
waters. Among its core provisions, the CWA prohibits the discharge of 
pollutants from a point source to waters of the U.S. except as 
authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) 
permit. The CWA also requires EPA to establish national technology 
based effluent limitation guidelines and standards (effluent guidelines 
or ELG) for discharges from different categories of point sources, such 
as industrial, commercial and public sources.
    Congress recognized that regulating only those sources that 
discharge effluent directly into the nation's waters would not be 
sufficient to achieve the CWA's goals. Consequently, the CWA requires 
EPA to promulgate nationally applicable pretreatment standards that 
restrict pollutant discharges from facilities that discharge wastewater 
indirectly through sewers flowing to publicly-owned treatment works 
(POTWs). See section 307(b) and (c), 33 U.S.C. 1317(b) & (c). National 
pretreatment standards are established for those pollutants in 
wastewater from indirect dischargers that may pass through, interfere 
with or are otherwise incompatible with POTW operations. Generally, 
pretreatment standards are designed to ensure that wastewaters from 
direct and indirect industrial dischargers are subject to similar 
levels of treatment. In addition, POTWs are required to implement local 
treatment limits applicable to their industrial indirect dischargers to 
satisfy any local requirements. See 40 CFR 403.5.
    Direct dischargers must comply with effluent limitations in 
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. 
Indirect dischargers, who discharge through POTWs, must comply with 
pretreatment standards. Effluent limitations in NPDES permits are 
derived from effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance 
standards promulgated by EPA, as well as from water quality standards. 
The effluent limitations guidelines and standards are established by 
regulation for categories of industrial dischargers and are based on 
the degree of control that can be achieved using various levels of 
pollution control technology.
    EPA promulgates national effluent limitations guidelines and 
standards of performance for major industrial categories for three 
classes of pollutants: (1) Conventional pollutants (i.e., total 
suspended solids, oil and grease, biochemical oxygen demand, fecal 
coliform, and pH); (2) toxic pollutants (e.g., toxic metals such as 
chromium, lead, nickel, and zinc; toxic organic pollutants such as 
benzene, benzo-a-pyrene, phenol, and naphthalene); and (3) non-
conventional pollutants (e.g., ammonia-N, formaldehyde, and 
phosphorus). EPA considers development of six types of effluent 
limitations guidelines and standards for each major industrial 
category, as appropriate.
1. Best Practicable Control Technology Currently Available (BPT)--
Section 304(b)(1) of the CWA
    EPA may promulgate BPT effluent limits for conventional, toxic, and 
non-conventional pollutants. For toxic pollutants, EPA typically 
regulates priority pollutants which consist of a specified list of 
toxic pollutants. In specifying BPT, EPA looks at a number of factors. 
EPA first considers the cost of achieving effluent reductions in 
relation to the effluent reduction benefits. The Agency also considers 
the age of the equipment and facilities, the processes employed, 
engineering aspects of the control technologies, any required process 
changes, non-water quality environmental impacts (including energy 
requirements), and such other factors as the Administrator deems 
appropriate. See CWA 304(b)(1)(B). Traditionally, EPA establishes BPT 
effluent limitations based on the average of the best performances of 
facilities within the industry, grouped to reflect various ages, sizes, 
processes, or other common characteristics. If, however, existing 
performance is uniformly inadequate, EPA may establish limitations 
based on higher levels of control than currently in place in an 
industrial category when based on an Agency determination that the 
technology is available in another category or subcategory, and can be 
practically applied.
2. Best Control Technology for Conventional Pollutants (BCT)--Section 
304(b)(4) of the CWA
    The 1977 amendments to the CWA required EPA to identify additional 
levels of effluent reduction for conventional pollutants associated 
with BCT technology for discharges from existing industrial point 
sources. In addition to other factors specified in section 
304(b)(4)(B), the CWA requires that EPA establish BCT limitations after 
consideration of a two part ``cost-reasonableness'' test. EPA explained 
its methodology for the development of BCT limitations in July 1986 (51 
FR 24974).
    Section 304(a)(4) designates the following as conventional 
pollutants: biochemical oxygen demand measured over five days 
(BOD5), total suspended solids (TSS), fecal coliform, pH, 
and any additional pollutants defined by the Administrator as 
conventional. The Administrator designated oil and grease as an 
additional conventional pollutant on July 30, 1979 (44 FR 44501).
3. Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BAT)--Section 
304(b)(2) of the CWA
    In general, BAT effluent limitations guidelines represent the best 
economically achievable performance of facilities in the industrial 
subcategory or category. The CWA establishes BAT as a principal 
national means of controlling the direct discharge of toxic and 
nonconventional pollutants. The factors considered in assessing BAT 
include the cost of achieving BAT effluent reductions, the age of 
equipment and facilities involved, the process employed, potential 
process changes, and non-water quality environmental impacts including 
energy requirements, and such other factors as the Administrator deems 
appropriate. The Agency retains considerable discretion in assigning 
the weight to be accorded these factors. An additional statutory factor 
considered in setting BAT is economic achievability. Generally, EPA 
determines economic achievability on the basis of total costs to the 
industry and the effect of compliance with BAT limitations on overall 
industry and subcategory financial conditions. As with BPT, where 
existing performance is uniformly inadequate, BAT may reflect a higher 
level of performance than is currently being achieved based on 
technology transferred from a different subcategory or category. BAT 
may be based upon process changes or internal controls, even when these 
technologies are not common industry practice.
4. New Source Performance Standards (NSPS)--Section 306 of the CWA
    New Source Performance Standards reflect effluent reductions that 
are achievable based on the best available demonstrated control 
technology. New facilities have the opportunity to install the best and 
most efficient production processes and wastewater treatment 
technologies. As a result, NSPS should represent the most stringent 
controls attainable through the application of the best available 
demonstrated control technology for all pollutants (that is, 
conventional, nonconventional, and priority pollutants). In 
establishing NSPS, EPA is directed to take into consideration the cost 
of achieving the effluent reduction and any non-water quality 
environmental impacts and energy requirements.

[[Page 57875]]

5. Pretreatment Standards for Existing Sources (PSES)--Section 307(b) 
of the CWA
    Pretreatment Standards for Existing Sources are designed to prevent 
the discharge of pollutants that pass through, interfere with, or are 
otherwise incompatible with the operation of publicly owned treatment 
works (POTW). Categorical pretreatment standards are technology-based 
and are analogous to BAT effluent limitations guidelines.
    The General Pretreatment Regulations, which set forth the framework 
for the implementation of categorical pretreatment standards, are found 
at 40 CFR part 403. These regulations establish pretreatment standards 
that apply to all non-domestic dischargers. See 52 FR 1586 (Jan. 14, 
1987).
6. Pretreatment Standards for New Sources (PSNS)--Section 307(c) of the 
CWA
    Section 307(c) of the Act requires EPA to promulgate pretreatment 
standards for new sources at the same time it promulgates new source 
performance standards. Such pretreatment standards must prevent the 
discharge of any pollutant into a POTW that may interfere with, pass 
through, or may otherwise be incompatible with the POTW. EPA 
promulgates categorical pretreatment standards for existing sources 
based principally on BAT technology for existing sources. EPA 
promulgates pretreatment standards for new sources based on best 
available demonstrated technology for new sources. New indirect 
dischargers have the opportunity to incorporate into their facilities 
the best available demonstrated technologies. The Agency considers the 
same factors in promulgating PSNS as it considers in promulgating NSPS.

B. Section 304(m) Consent Decree

    Section 304(m) requires EPA to publish a plan every two years that 
consists of three elements. First, under section 304(m)(1)(A), EPA is 
required to establish a schedule for the annual review and revision of 
existing effluent guidelines in accordance with section 304(b). Section 
304(b) applies to effluent limitations guidelines for direct 
dischargers and requires EPA to revise such regulations as appropriate. 
Second, under section 304(m)(1)(B), EPA must identify categories of 
sources discharging toxic or nonconventional pollutants for which EPA 
has not published BAT effluent limitations guidelines under 304(b)(2) 
or new source performance standards under section 306. Finally, under 
304(m)(1)(C), EPA must establish a schedule for the promulgation of BAT 
and NSPS for the categories identified under subparagraph (B) not later 
than three years after being identified in the 304(m) plan. Section 
304(m) does not apply to pretreatment standards for indirect 
dischargers, which EPA promulgates pursuant to sections 307(b) and 
307(c) of the Clean Water Act.
    On October 30, 1989, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and 
Public Citizen, Inc., filed an action against EPA in which they 
alleged, among other things, that EPA had failed to comply with CWA 
Section 304(m). Plaintiffs and EPA agreed to a settlement of that 
action in a consent decree entered on January 31, 1992. The consent 
decree, which has been modified several times, established a schedule 
by which EPA is to propose and take final action for four point source 
categories identified by name in the decree and for eight other point 
source categories identified only as new or revised rules, numbered 5 
through 12. EPA selected the aquatic animal production industry as the 
subject for New or Revised Rule 12. Under the decree, as 
modified, the Administrator is required to sign a proposed rule for the 
aquatic animal production industry no later than August 14, 2002, and 
to take final action on that proposal no later than June 30, 2004.

III. Rulemaking History and Industry Profile

A. Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Effluent Guideline Rulemaking 
History

    EPA actions to regulate aquatic animal production facilities under 
the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting 
program date back to 1973, when EPA proposed and promulgated NPDES 
permit application rules for concentrated aquatic animal production 
facilities. 38 FR 10960 (May 3, 1973)(proposed), 38 FR 18000 (July 5, 
1973). After some litigation over the NPDES regulations, EPA proposed 
and took final action to re-establish the concentrated aquatic animal 
production facility requirements. NRDC v. Costle, 568 F.2d 1369 (D.C. 
Cir.1977); 43 FR 37078 (Aug. 21, 1978); 44 FR 32854 (June 7, 1979). The 
1979 version of the regulations has not substantively changed since 
then.
    The NPDES regulations specify the applicability of the NPDES permit 
requirement to a concentrated aquatic animal production facility. 40 
CFR 122.24 and appendix C to part 122. To be a concentrated aquatic 
animal production facility, the facility must either meet the criteria 
in 40 CFR appendix C or be designated on a case-by-case basis. 40 CFR 
122.24(b). A hatchery, fish farm, or other facility is a concentrated 
aquatic animal production facility if it contains, grows, or holds, 
aquatic animals in either of two categories: cold water or warm water. 
The cold water species category includes ponds, raceways, or other 
similar structures which discharge at least 30 days per year but does 
not include: Facilities which produce less than 9,090 harvest weight 
kilograms (approximately 20,000 pounds) per year; and facilities which 
feed less than 2,272 kilograms (approximately 5,000 pounds) during the 
calendar month of maximum feeding. The warm water category includes 
ponds, raceways, or other similar structures which discharge at least 
30 days per year but does not include: closed ponds which discharge 
only during periods of excess runoff; or facilities which produce less 
than 45,454 harvest weight kilograms (approximately 100,000 pounds) per 
year. 40 CFR part 122, appendix C. EPA does not propose to revise the 
NPDES regulation by today's action.
    Prior to today's proposal, EPA had not proposed effluent 
limitations guidelines and standards for the aquatic animal production 
industry. In the early 1970s, however, EPA staff did evaluate fish 
hatcheries and fish farms to develop recommendations on whether EPA 
should propose effluent guidelines. Ultimately, EPA did not propose any 
such regulations because the 1977 Clean Water Act amendments re-focused 
the Agency's attention on establishing effluent limitations guidelines 
for industry sectors with effluents containing toxic metals and 
organics. EPA's evaluation of fish hatcheries and fish farms did not 
reveal significant contributions of toxic metals or organic chemical 
compounds in the wastes discharged from those hatcheries and farms. 
That draft development document, however, did serve to assist NPDES 
permit writers in the exercise of their ``best professional judgment'' 
to develop permits for those fish hatcheries and fish farms that were 
considered ``concentrated aquatic animal production facilities,'' and 
thus required to apply for NPDES permits under EPA regulations.

B. Environmental and Human Health Impacts

    The operation of CAAP facilities may introduce a variety of 
pollutants into receiving waters. Under some

[[Page 57876]]

conditions, these pollutants can be harmful to the environment. 
According to the 1998 USDA Census of Aquaculture (USDA, 2000, DCN 
60605), there are approximately 4,200 commercial aquatic animal 
production (AAP) facilities in the United States. Aquaculture has been 
among the fastest-growing sectors of agriculture until a recent 
slowdown that began several years ago caused by declining or level 
growth among producers of several major species. EPA analysis indicates 
that many CAAP facilities have treatment technologies in place that 
greatly reduce pollutant loads. However, in the absence of treatment, 
pollutant loads from individual CAAP facilities such as those covered 
by today's proposed rule can contribute up to several thousand pounds 
of nitrogen and phosphorus per year, and tens to hundreds of thousands 
of pounds of TSS per year (see CAAP Economic Analysis). These 
pollutants, if discharged, can contribute to eutrophication and other 
aquatic ecosystem responses to excess nutrient loads and BOD effects. 
In recent years, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, 
New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia have cited the AAP industry as a 
potential or contributing source of impairment to water bodies (EPA, 
2000, DCN 40319). State authorities in Idaho, Michigan, and Maine, for 
example, have set water quality based permit requirements for CAAP 
facilities in addition to technology based limits based on BPJ.
    Another area of potential concern relates to non-native species 
introductions from CAAP facilities, which may pose risks to native 
fishery resources and wild native aquatic species from the 
establishment of escaped individuals (Carlton, 2001, DCN 61434; Volpe 
et al., 2000, DCN 60611). Some CAAP facilities may also employ drugs, 
such as formalin, and chemicals, such as a variety of copper-containing 
pesticides, that may be released into receiving waters. For some 
applications of these drugs and chemicals, there is a belief that 
further information is needed to fully evaluate risks to ecosystems and 
human health associated with their use in some situations. Finally, 
CAAP facilities also may inadvertently introduce pathogens into 
receiving waters, with potential impacts on native biota. Today's 
proposed rule attempts to address a number of these environmental 
concerns.

C. Industry Profile

    The concentrated aquatic animal production industry includes sites 
that fall within the North American Industry Classification System 
(NAICS) codes 112511 (finfish farming and fish hatcheries), 112512 
(shellfish farming), 112519 (other animal aquaculture), and part of 
712130 (aquariums, part of zoos and botanical gardens). SBA sets up 
standards to define whether an entity is small and eligible for 
Government programs and preferences reserved for ``small business'' 
concerns. Size standards have been established for types of economic 
activity, or industry, generally under the NAICS. See 13 CFR part 121 
for more detailed information. The first three groups (NAICS 112511, 
112512, and 112519) have Small Business Administration (SBA) annual 
revenue based size standards of $0.75 million while the SBA size 
standard for NAICS 712130 is $6.0 million. EPA uses these SBA size 
standards to conduct preliminary analyses to determine the number of 
small businesses in an industrial category and whether the proposed 
rule would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    USDA reports that there were approximately 4,200 commercial 
aquaculture facilities in the 1998 Census of Aquaculture (DCN 60605). 
Based on revenues from aquaculture sales alone (not including other 
farm-related revenues from other agricultural crops at the facility), 
more than 90 percent of the facilities have revenues less than $0.75 
million annually and thus may be considered small businesses. The Small 
Business Administration's size standard is based on annual revenue at 
the company level for all products, so using facility revenue from 
aquaculture sales reported in the 1998 Census of Aquaculture is likely 
to over-estimate the proportion of small businesses in the industry. 
Although aquaculture facilities exist in every State, there tends to be 
regional specialization by species as a result of local climate and the 
quality and quantity of water available for aquaculture (for example, 
catfish in the Southeast, salmon on the Northern coasts, and trout in 
Idaho).
    In 1999, commercial farm level aquatic animal sales totaled nearly 
$1 billion (842 million pounds). The range of products includes: 
Finfish raised for food and recreation (including food fish, sport or 
game fish, baitfish, or ornamental fish); crustaceans and molluscs 
raised for food; and other aquatic animals such as alligators, frogs, 
and turtles. Catfish and trout sales account for nearly fifty percent 
of the commercial market ($400 million and $64 million in 
production, respectively).
    The industry includes several types of ownership structures: (1) 
Commercial; (2) Federal and State; (3) Tribal; (4) academic and 
research; and (5) nonprofit. Within the private or commercial sector, 
ownership structures range from small family farms to large 
multinational firms. The non-commercial sector is also diverse. The 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) operates 66 Federal hatcheries, 
six Fish Technology Centers, and nine Fish Health Centers. Its goals 
are to conserve, restore, enhance, and manage the Nation's fishery 
resources and ecosystems for the benefit of future generations. FWS 
distributes more than 50 aquatic species primarily to Federal, Tribal, 
State, and local governments. Many States operate fish hatcheries for 
stocking recreational fisheries, and EPA identified approximately 500 
State hatchery facilities.
    As an approximate measure of the size of the governmental aquatic 
animal production, fish distributions from the FWS in 1999 totaled 5.5 
million pounds. Fisheries magazine published an overview of State 
coldwater fishery programs that listed 23.7 million pounds of trout and 
salmon distributed from State hatcheries in 1996 (Epifanio, 2000, DCN 
60851). EPA estimate that production from 17 Tribal programs is more 
than 1.3 million fish.
    EPA identified approximately 30 academic and research institutions 
that maintain facilities ranging from small research projects to full-
scale systems for training the next generation of aquatic animal 
producers. Information on the magnitude of these operations nationwide 
is currently being sought by EPA through a detailed industry survey.
    Nonprofit organizations in the CAAP industry that were identified 
by EPA include Alaskan salmon hatcheries and non-taxable aquariums. 
Alaskan salmon hatcheries are different from salmon and finfish 
production facilities in the continental United States. Certain types 
of production activities related to the farming of salmon and other 
finfish in Alaska were outlawed in 1990 (ADFG, 2002, DCN 61556). 
Instead, Alaska permits nonprofit ``ocean ranching'', where native 
salmon species are reared from egg to fingerling (chum and pink salmon) 
or smolt (coho, chinook, or sockeye salmon) stage in hatcheries. The 
chum and pink salmon produced in the hatchery are then placed in pens 
in the ocean waters, and after a short additional growing period 
(approximately two months), are released into public waters to be 
available as adults for harvest by fishermen. Two types of nonprofit 
organizations exist--four regional aquaculture associations and eight 
private nonprofit corporations--with a

[[Page 57877]]

total permitted production of approximately 2 billion smolts for ocean 
release. EPA identified approximately 50 aquariums, some of which are 
non-taxable establishments.
    Aquatic animals raised for commercial purposes are very diverse, 
ranging from species produced for human consumption as food to species 
raised for their hides. As mentioned above, governments also produce 
aquatic animals, usually for recreational purposes. The animals may be 
raised in a variety of different production systems. The choice of a 
production system is influenced by a variety of factors including 
species, economics of production, markets, local water resources, land 
availability, and operator preference. Some production systems, 
especially those needed to produce species intended for release into 
the wild or other natural environments, are intended to provide a 
suitable environment that imitates the natural environment of the 
species. CAAP systems include ponds, flow-through systems, 
recirculating systems and open water systems. Each of these production 
systems is described below.
1. Pond Systems
    Pond systems are distinguished from other systems used to produce 
aquatic animals by the frequency of discharge. Typically, ponds do not 
have a continuous discharge. They will discharge water either as a 
result of a storm event or when the pond is drained for harvest or to 
make repairs. Aquatic animals produced in ponds include: catfish, 
shrimp, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, crawfish, baitfish and many 
ornamental and sport fish species. The largest species sector produced 
in ponds is catfish.
    Many pond producers must pump well water to fill their ponds and 
are constantly balancing the need to conserve water and reduce pumping 
costs with keeping ponds full. Most aquatic animal producers minimize 
the frequency or degree to which the ponds are drained because the 
water is a valuable asset. Some species require operators to drain the 
pond to allow for harvesting, while others can be harvested without 
draining by using seines (large nets) to capture the fish. Aquatic 
animals that are more difficult to capture in the seines, may require 
partial draining of the pond to harvest.
    Pond system operators must maintain a level of water quality that 
will support the aquatic animal population. In most cases, water 
quality maintenance requires that the pond be mechanically aerated to 
maintain sufficient oxygen levels. The growth of algae is promoted by 
the presence of nutrients made available either through excess feed or 
animal excretions. Planktonic algae (the desired form of algae) process 
these nutrients and improve water quality. Too much, or the wrong kinds 
of, algae can degrade water quality in ponds by contributing to excess 
turbidity and reduced oxygen levels. Producers monitor the dissolved 
oxygen and turbidity levels to evaluate pond water quality and protect 
their animal crops from rapid shifts in oxygen or other important water 
quality parameters. This monitoring also ensures that the pond is 
serving as an efficient waste treatment system. The pond system itself 
has the ability to decompose biological material and settle out solids 
such as fecal materials, sediment, and uneaten feed. Drugs, such as 
oxytetracycline (added in feed to treat certain diseases) and 
chemicals, such as copper sulfate and other aquatic herbicides (used to 
treat excessive aquatic vegetation or algae), readily bind to sediment 
and other particles in the pond system. Thus, pond systems are capable 
of treating and reducing the pollutants in the system. When the ponds 
are drained, the pollutant loads are likely to have been significantly 
reduced or contained within the sediment at the bottom of the pond. 
Draining practices that minimize disturbance of the sediments at the 
bottom of the pond will ensure that the water quality discharged is 
relatively high in quality.
    While most producers use drainage practices that minimize 
disturbance of the pond bottom (e.g., catfish, hybrid striped bass, and 
many sportfish), several species require specific drainage practices 
that have the potential to discharge higher levels of sediments in 
order to harvest. For example, shrimp require rapid draining. The 
shrimp are carried along with the drainage water and captured in 
external harvest structures. These harvest/draining practices are 
likely to result in the disturbance of the sediment on the bottom of 
the pond. To reduce pollutant loads and minimize escapement of the 
valuable animal crop, the water drained from shrimp ponds is typically 
routed through some type of sediment control structure (e.g., 
sedimentation basins, harvest boxes or vegetated ditches) prior to 
discharge.
    Most of the historical research on pond water quality and the 
various management practices to improve pond effluent quality was 
conducted in the catfish sector. Catfish production is the largest 
aquatic animal production sector in the United States, and the dominant 
species produced in ponds. Over the past few decades there has been 
considerable research leading to the improvement of management 
practices and the reduction of pollutants discharged from catfish 
ponds. One of the most significant changes has been the reduced 
drainage frequency in producing food sized catfish. Today, the 
predominant practice is to drain only to repair or rework the pond 
banks. Industry representatives indicate that ponds used to grow fish 
to food size are drained, on average, once every 5 to 7 years. Other 
practices that are being actively encouraged and promoted include water 
level management to maximize the capture of rainwater. Water level 
management minimizes the need for operators to pump well water to 
refill ponds, especially during the drier summer months, and also 
minimizes the occurrence of overflows (from precipitation). There are a 
number of other best management practices (BMPs) that have been or are 
being developed by various States to reduce pollutant discharges from 
pond systems. For example, BMPs to reduce the impacts from erosion in 
and around ponds include erosion control on pond banks through 
establishment of vegetative cover on all pond banks and rip rap where 
wave action is especially strong. Pond operators can also reduce 
erosion by the proper positioning of stationary and emergency aerators 
to prevent erosion during their operation, closing pond drains as soon 
as possible after draining, and quickly repairing any damaged areas of 
berms. Other BMPs include practices to reduce overflow and draining 
effluent volumes, feed management, proper use and storage of chemicals 
and therapeutic agents, and planning for emergencies.
    Pollutants discharged in overflow from catfish production ponds 
have been well studied in Mississippi and Alabama. The research shows 
variation in pollutant concentration by season, with the summer months 
having the highest levels of pollutants in effluent overflows and 
discharges. The measured pollutants and seasonal average ranges 
included settleable solids (0.01-0.2 mg/L), total suspended solids (29-
135 mg/L), total nitrogen (1.9-7.0 mg N/L), total ammonia (0.27-2.76 mg 
N/L), total phosphorus (0.09-0.54 mg P/L) and biochemical oxygen demand 
(5.3-26.1 mg O2/L) (Tucker et al., 2002, DCN 61555).
    Hybrid striped bass is another species that is often produced in 
pond systems. The body of knowledge needed for the culture of hybrid 
striped bass for foodfish production grew from the expanded efforts 
throughout the southeastern United States to provide

[[Page 57878]]

striped bass and hybrid Morone species for stocking public reservoirs 
for recreational fishing and fisheries management. Responses to EPA's 
screener survey indicates that 77% of striped bass/hybrid striped bass 
producers use earthen ponds, 17% use recirculating systems, and 6% use 
flow-through systems.
    Ponds used to raise food sized hybrid striped bass must be 
completely harvested before the pond can be restocked, otherwise the 
larger fish will feed on the smaller fish. Ponds are drained for 
harvest either annually or biennially, depending on stocking size. The 
ponds must be completely drained to ensure that all fish are captured. 
Some producers use an EPA registered pesticide to kill any remaining 
fish after harvest. If a pesticide is used, water conservation is the 
goal and the pond does not need to be drained. The most commonly used 
pesticide is rotenone, which degrades fairly quickly allowing the pond 
to be restocked within a short period of time.
    Other species that are raised in ponds that must be drained either 
partially or completely to be harvested include tilapia, baitfish, and 
sport fish. Tilapia can escape seines or nets by jumping over or 
swimming under them. Therefore, ponds are partially drained to make it 
more difficult for the tilapia to escape the nets. Most baitfish are 
harvested with seines, but ponds must be drained and all fish removed 
prior to starting a new crop. However, most baitfish producers conserve 
the water that is drained from a pond by moving it to another pond.
2. Flow-Through Systems
    The predominant form of flow-through systems, raceways, are 
constructed to mimic a stream, with fresh water continuously entering 
at the top of the system and discharging from the bottom (or downstream 
end) of the system. Between the top and the bottom of the raceway 
system are a series of production units, which can be either small 
ponds or raceways of earthen or concrete material. Smaller, younger 
fish are typically placed in the units at the top of the system near 
the water source, which is the highest quality water. As the fish grow 
they can tolerate lesser quality water and they are moved to downstream 
units.
    Flow-through systems are used to produce species that must have 
very high quality water. Trout and salmon are two examples of fish that 
require very high quality water with high dissolved oxygen levels and 
consistent cold temperatures. The predominant species raised in flow-
through systems is trout. Salmon fry are also raised in flow-through 
systems until they are moved to a marine environment.
    The most significant pollutant discharged from flow-through systems 
is solids from uneaten feed and feces that settle to the bottom of the 
raceways. These solids are primarily composed of organic matter 
including BOD, organic nitrogen and organic phosphorus. Many flow-
through systems have barriers in the lower portion of each raceway to 
create a quiescent zone. The quiescent zone allows the solids to settle 
and be collected. Restricting the fish from entering the quiescent zone 
keeps the solids from becoming resuspended. The captured solids are 
periodically transferred to an off-line settling basin for additional 
settling. Water is then typically decanted off and recombined with the 
rest of the water being discharged from the facility. Some facilities 
have installed additional solids polishing treatment, such as 
filtration or an additional settling basin. Facilities that do not use 
quiescent zones may treat the total flow-through a settling basin to 
remove solids. Older and smaller facilities that have earthen raceways 
or ponds generally use lower flow rates to prevent scouring and erosion 
of the production unit, allowing solids to accumulate and decompose by 
natural processes.
    Flow-through facilities typically are fed by wells, springs, or by 
diverting a portion of a stream. Springs and wells are preferred 
because they usually provide water that is of consistent temperature, 
high quality, and free from disease organisms. Free flowing springs 
also have the advantage of little or no pumping costs. Some flow-
through system facilities require source waters to be pretreated to 
remove substances such as sediment or iron and to add oxygen.
    Fish in flow-through systems are fed on a scheduled basis, allowed 
to self feed by activating a feeding mechanism. or a combination of the 
two. Dead fish are removed from the raceways on a regular basis to 
prevent accumulation at the end of the raceway that impedes the flow of 
water from the facility.
3. Recirculating Systems
    Recirculating systems are used to raise fish in a controlled 
environment. The fish are raised in tanks with continuously flowing 
water that is recirculated through a water treatment system and 
returned to the production tanks. The treatment may include mechanical 
filters to remove solids and biological filters to degrade the BOD and 
nitrify the ammonia, and oxygenation. Most recirculating systems 
replace about 10% of the system water volume daily to make up for 
evaporation and water supply loss associated with solids filter 
backwash, and to compensate for inefficiencies in the filtration 
process. Several facilities reported treating their effluent with 
primary solids settling and solids polishing filtration.
    Because construction requires considerable capital investment, the 
fish produced in these systems are generally high valued species. 
Species produced include tilapia, hybrid striped bass, and ornamental 
fish species. Recirculating systems are well suited to maintaining 
water temperature and can be built almost anywhere.
4. Net Pen and Open Water Systems
    Net pens and open water systems take advantage of an existing water 
body's circulation to wash away wastes and bring fresh water to the 
animals. Presently, the most common species raised in open water 
systems are molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, and mussels) that are 
primarily grown on floating rafts or prepared bottoms, and salmon that 
are grown to market size in net pens. Lobster pounds, found only in 
Maine, are placed in coves along the shoreline to hold lobsters for 
favorable markets. There is considerable interest and research being 
conducted to raise additional species of fish in net pen systems.
    In the case of molluscs, producers may plant the animals on the 
bottom of an intertidal area or suspend them above the bottom in racks 
or trays or on lines. The molluscs, which are filter feeders, reduce 
concentrations of nutrients through feeding. Molluscs do excrete 
wastes, but generally, this has a minimal impact on the environment.
    Net pen structures are mostly used to grow finfish to food size and 
are constructed in rectangular, octagonal or round shapes. Nets are 
suspended from a floating structure to contain the crop of fish. The 
mesh size of this net is usually increased as the fish grows to provide 
more water circulating inside the net. The net pen structures are 
designed to float at the surface and are constructed with ``jump nets'' 
that extend above the water line to prevent the fish from jumping out. 
There is another net, which surrounds the primary net in the pen to 
keep predators from reaching the confined fish. The pens are anchored 
to the sea floor, but are designed to have some movement with the tidal 
and wave action. These structures are often placed in bays and are 
sited to benefit from tidal and current action to move wastes away from 
the pens and bring oxygenated, high quality water to the net pen. 
Because these systems are placed in

[[Page 57879]]

open waters, anything that is added to the system may contribute to 
pollution. Feed and fish metabolic excretions will contribute solids, 
BOD and nutrients to the water column. Other potential pollutants 
include zinc, that is added in trace amounts to the feed as a mineral 
supplement and copper from an antifouling compound that is used on some 
of the nets. Pollutant discharges from some net pen operations have 
been found to cause impacts to the benthic community. Net pen 
facilities have also been linked to water circulation impacts and 
changes in the natural flushing around the facility that occurs from 
decreased tidal action when nets become fouled.
5. Feed, Diseases, and Non-Native Species
    Some concerns about certain aspects of producing aquatic animals 
have arisen. Among these are the feed (because of the nutrient 
content), diseases and possible ways of treating diseases when they 
occur through the use of drugs and chemicals, and escapement of non-
native species. Each of these is summarized below.
    a. Feed. Most aquatic animal production requires active feeding of 
the animals being raised. A few species, such as molluscs, feed from 
naturally occurring sources. For some species, conditions are created 
to promote the growth of natural sources of feed (such as fertilizing 
ponds to stimulate the algae growth as the source of food). This is 
common practice in the production of baitfish, ornamental, and finfish 
fingerlings of many species. Commercial feed for the major species 
produced has undergone substantial improvements in recent years. The 
feed has been improved both in terms of its nutritional content 
(allowing for the reduction in some ingredients that are not processed 
by the fish, such as phosphorus), and its physical properties (a lower 
density and moisture rate allows the feed to float longer, increasing 
fish consumption and decreasing the amount of uneaten feed). Open water 
facilities offer little, if any, opportunity for treatment and removal 
of pollutants, such as excess feed, prior to discharge, thus feed 
management is a very important component of pollution control at net 
pen facilities. Pond facilities represent the other end of the 
spectrum. Ponds, as described above, act as a waste treatment system 
and have capacity to absorb pollutants resulting from uneaten feed and 
feces. Recirculating systems and flow-through systems perform better 
(i.e., discharge less waste) with the practice of proper feed 
management. These systems can remove some of the pollutants associated 
with uneaten feed, but most flow-through systems do not have the 
technology to treat excess feed as it breaks down and releases 
dissolved pollutants. The decomposition of uneaten feed will put a 
greater demand on the filtration system used by recirculating systems 
to clean the water as it is being recirculated. Feed is the most 
expensive production input for most CAAP facilities, so operators have 
a financial incentive to minimize excess feed, independent of concerns 
about water quality.
    b. Diseases. By providing food and oxygen, aquatic animal 
production facilities can produce fish and other aquatic animals in 
greater numbers than natural conditions would allow. This means that 
system management is important to ensure that the animals do not become 
overly stressed, making them more vulnerable to disease outbreaks. When 
diseases do occur, facilities may be able to treat diseased aquatic 
animals with drugs. Operators producing aquatic animals that are being 
produced for human consumption must comply with requirements 
established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with respect to 
the drugs that can be used legally to treat their animals, the dose 
that can be used, and the withdrawal period that must be achieved 
before the animals can be processed for consumption. Drugs can be 
divided into four categories: approved drugs, investigational drugs, 
extra-label use drugs, and unapproved drugs. Approved drugs have 
already been screened by the FDA to determine whether they cause 
significant adverse public health or environmental impacts when used in 
accordance with label instructions. Currently, there are six approved 
drugs for selected CAAP species and disease conditions. The currently 
approved drugs are: (1) Chorionic gonadotropin (Chorulon[reg]) used for 
spawning, (2) oxytetracycline (Terramycin[reg]) which is an antibiotic, 
(3) Sulfadimethoxine, ormetoprim (Romet-30[reg]) which is an 
antibiotic, (4) tricaine methanesulfonate (Finquel[reg] and Tricaine-S) 
which is an anesthetic, (5) formalin (Formalin-F[reg], Paracide-F[reg] 
and PARASITE-S[reg]) used for fungus and parasite treatment, and (6) 
sulfamerazine which is an antibiotic.
    The FDA authorizes use of investigational drugs on a case-by-case 
basis to allow a way of gathering data for the approval process. 21 
U.S.C. 360b(j). Study protocols establish quantities and conditions of 
use. NPDES permits sometimes have required reporting of the use of 
drugs and chemicals. To EPA's knowledge, very few permits have 
established limitations on the use of drugs and chemicals, probably due 
to their intermittent use and the lack of analytical methods to measure 
such drugs and chemicals in wastewater matrices. Extra-label drug use 
is restricted to use of approved animal and human drugs only by the 
order of a licensed veterinarian, and must be within the context of a 
valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. New unapproved animal 
drugs are sometimes used in discrete cases where the FDA exercises its 
regulatory discretion.
    c. Non-Native Species. Many of the aquatic animal species in 
commercial production are ``non-native'' to the geographic area of 
production. These are species that have been brought into the United 
States from abroad or into a region of the United States where they 
would not occur naturally. When non-native species are introduced to an 
area, there may be a potential for these species to become invasive, 
out-competing and threatening the survival of the native species. There 
may also be the potential that the introduction of non-native species 
will introduce diseases against which native populations have no 
natural defenses. The Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife 
Service along with the Department of Commerce's National Marine 
Fisheries Service oversee the introduction of non-native species into 
the United States. In addition, many State Departments of Fish and 
Wildlife have established programs to control the introduction and 
release of non-native species within their States. The United States, 
however, has banned the importation of very few non-native species. 
There are several examples of species becoming established in the wild, 
in part through aquatic animal production, that some States have 
defined as non-native to specific areas of the United States (e.g., 
Atlantic salmon--non-native to the Pacific Northwest, bighead and grass 
carp, and some ornamental species). It should be noted that aquatic 
animal production is one of several causes of non-native or invasive 
species introductions; ballast water, for example, has been associated 
with non-native or invasive species introductions.

IV. Summary of Data Collection

A. Primary and Secondary Sources of Data and Information

    The Agency evaluated the following databases to locate data and 
information to support regulatory development: the Agency's PCS 
database, the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts database, the 
USDA's AGRICOLA

[[Page 57880]]

database, the 1998 USDA Census of Aquaculture, the SEC's EDGAR 
Database, the Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory, and the 
Hoover's database. In addition, the Agency conducted a thorough 
collection and review of secondary sources, which include data, 
reports, and analyses published by government agencies; reports and 
analyses published by the aquatic animal production industry and its 
associated organizations; and publicly available financial information 
compiled by both government and private organizations.
    EPA used all of the documents cited above in developing the 
industry profile, a survey sampling frame, and for stratifying the 
survey sampling frame. In addition to these publications, EPA examined 
many other documents that provided useful overviews and analysis of the 
aquatic animal production industry. EPA also conducted general Internet 
searches by company name.

B. Industry Surveys

    EPA developed a survey questionnaire because the existing primary 
and secondary sources of information available to EPA did not contain 
the information necessary to fully evaluate regulatory options. In 
particular, EPA evaluates facility/site specific technical and economic 
information to evaluate the costs and benefits of regulation. EPA made 
every reasonable attempt to ensure that the AAP industry Information 
Collection Request (ICR) did not request data and information currently 
available through less burdensome mechanisms. Prior to publishing a 
notice in the Federal Register on September 14, 2000(65 FR 55522), EPA 
met with and distributed draft copies of the survey questionnaires to 
the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture's Aquaculture Effluents Task 
Force (JSA/AETF), which includes representatives from various 
government agencies, industry and trade associations, academia, and 
other interested stakeholders.
    On September 14, 2000, EPA announced its intent to submit the 
Aquatic Animal Production Industry Survey Information Collection 
Request (ICR) to OMB (65 FR 55522). The September 14, 2000 notice 
requested comment on the draft ICR and the survey questionnaire. EPA 
received 44 sets of comments during the 60 day public comment period. 
Commentors on the ICR included: National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, U.S. Trout Farmers Association, American Farm Bureau 
Federation, North Carolina State University, Louisiana Rice Growers 
Association, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Mississippi Farm 
Bureau Federation, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, and the Freshwater 
Institute. EPA made significant revisions to the survey methodology and 
questionnaires as a result of these public comments. Based on the 
comments, EPA revised the questionnaire and divided it into two survey 
versions. The first version is the screener survey (short version) and 
the second version is the detailed survey (the longer version). The two 
primary reasons for the Agency splitting the survey were: (1) Comments 
to the effect that the Agency would not know how much emphasis to place 
on rarely occurring facility types without a census and (2) the need to 
target specific types of aquatic animal production facilities that 
could not be identified using information obtained from the databases 
available to the Agency at that time. After evaluating the comments 
received on the September 14, 2000 notice, EPA drafted a revised 
detailed survey, which was sent to the JSA/AETF for review and comment. 
EPA worked with the JSA/AETF via conference call and written comments 
to further refine the detailed survey. EPA also conducted two 
conference calls with the economic technical subgroup of the JSA/AETF 
to discuss the economic and financial questions in the survey. To the 
extent possible, EPA incorporated comments and suggestions from these 
reviews into the survey.
    EPA published a second notice in the Federal Register on June 8, 
2001 (66 FR 30902), announcing the Agency's intent to submit another, 
revised aquatic animal production industry Survey Information 
Collection Request (ICR) to OMB. The June 8, 2001, notice requested 
comment on the draft ICR supporting statement, the short screener 
survey and the detailed survey questionnaire. EPA received 9 sets of 
comments during the 30 day public comment period. Commenters on the ICR 
included: North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer 
Services, Ohio Aquaculture Association, Catfish Farmers of America, 
National Aquaculture Association, National Association of State 
Aquaculture Coordinators, U.S. Trout Farmers Association, American Farm 
Bureau Federation, and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer 
Services. EPA obtained approval from OMB for the use and distribution 
of the short screener survey on August 1, 2001 (66 FR 64817). EPA 
obtained approval from OMB for the use and distribution of the detailed 
survey on November 28, 2001 (67 FR 6519).
1. Description of the Surveys
    In August 2001, EPA mailed a short screener survey, entitled 
``Screener Questionnaire for the Aquatic Animal Production Industry'' 
to approximately 6,000 potential Aquatic Animal Production facilities. 
A copy of the screener is included in the record (USEPA, 2001, DCN 
10001). The screener survey consisted of eleven questions to solicit 
general facility information, including confirmation that the facility 
was engaged in aquatic animal production, species and size category 
produced, type of production system, wastewater disposal method, and 
the total production at the facility in the year 2000. EPA used the 
information collected from the screener survey to describe industry 
operations and wastewater disposal practices. EPA also used the 
responses to the facility production question to classify whether or 
not each facility is ``small'' according to the Small Business 
Administration regulations at 13 CFR part 121.
    EPA designed the second survey to collect detailed site-specific 
technical and financial information. A copy of the detailed survey is 
included in the record (USEPA, 2002e, DCN 10002). The detailed survey 
is divided into three parts. The first two parts collect general 
facility, technical, and cost data. The first set of questions in part 
A request general facility site information, including facility contact 
information, facility size, and NPDES permit information. The general 
facility information questions also ask the facility to identify 
species and production type and confirm that, in fact, it is engaged in 
aquatic animal production. The second set of questions in part A 
focused on system descriptions and wastewater control technologies.
    The wastewater control technology section is divided into six 
parts, one part for each type of production system (pond, flow-through, 
recirculating, net pens and cages, floating aquaculture and bottom 
culture, and other systems). The individual system sections have been 
tailored with specific questions and responses. Each of these sections 
asks the respondent to describe (1) the system, (2) water use, (3) 
pollutant control practices, and (4) discharge characteristics.
    The second part of the survey asks the respondent for facility cost 
information. The cost information is intended to provide EPA with a 
complete description of all cost elements associated with the pollution 
control practices and technologies used at the facility. Separate 
tables show the details

[[Page 57881]]

of capital and annual operating costs. The cost section also evaluates 
the current discharge monitoring practices, product losses, and feed 
information.
    The third part of the detailed survey elicits site-specific 
financial and economic data. EPA intends to use this information to 
characterize the economic status of the industry and to estimate 
potential economic impacts of wastewater regulations. The survey 
requests financial and economic information for the fiscal years ending 
1999, 2000 and 2001--the most recent years for which data are 
available.
    The Agency intends to use this information to refine the regulation 
proposed today. The Agency also would use data that identifies 
treatment technologies in place to determine the feasibility of 
regulatory options, and to refine its estimates of compliance costs, 
pollutant loading and load reductions associated with the technology-
based options, and potential environmental impacts associated with the 
regulatory options EPA considers for final rulemaking. The data 
gathered through this survey and any revisions to the proposed 
regulation that may result from this additional data would subsequently 
be published in a notice in the Federal Register to provide the public 
an opportunity to comment on this data.
2. Development of Survey Mailing List
    The mailing list (sample frame) for EPA's screener survey was 
developed by synthesizing facility information found in the Dunn and 
Bradstreet database, EPA's Permit Compliance System (PCS), contacts 
with EPA regional permit writers, EPA site visits, State aquaculture 
contacts, assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs on tribal 
facilities, universities, recent issues of Aquaculture Magazine, and an 
extensive collection of Web sites with aquaculture references. The 
mailing list EPA developed contained approximately 6,000 facilities. 
This number seemed to compare favorably with the roughly 4,000 
commercial facilities found in the 1998 Census of Aquaculture and the 
additional Federal, State, Tribal, research, and non-profit facilities 
not found in the 1998 Census of Aquaculture (USDA, 2000, DCN 60605). 
EPA believes that this mailing population was as current as possible 
and reasonably complete.
3. Response to the Screener Survey
    EPA sent the screener survey to all 6,000 facilities on its mailing 
list. EPA received responses from 4,900 facilities, with about 2,300 
facilities reporting that they do produce aquatic animals. The 
discrepancy between the number of surveys sent and the number of 
facilities reporting that they are aquatic animal producers is largely 
attributed to the fact that the list was compiled from general industry 
sources and included aquatic animal processors, retailers, etc.
    As described in Section V, EPA is proposing to establish effluent 
limitations guideline regulations for various segments of the 
concentrated aquatic animal production sector, thus, the Agency sent 
the detailed survey to a sample of 263 facilities. EPA used the results 
of the screener survey to ensure that the facilities that received the 
detailed questionnaire, in fact, produce aquatic animals and that a 
high percentage are conducting operations that would be included in the 
scope of today's proposal.
4. Sample Selection for the Detailed Survey
    Respondents to the detailed questionnaire were selected at random 
from within groups (stratified random selection) that were identified 
using results of the screener survey. The sample and the questionnaires 
described above are expected to provide EPA with the additional 
information that will be used to re-estimate the costs and benefits 
associated with the proposed regulatory options. These results along 
with results from any additional evaluations based on comments on the 
proposal will be published in the Notice of Data Availability (NODA) 
prior to final action.

C. Site Visits and Wastewater Sampling

    During 2000 and 2001, EPA conducted site visits at more than 70 AAP 
facilities. EPA conducted some of these site visits as part of AAP 
conferences that EPA attended to better understand the industry. The 
purposes of these site visits were: (1) To collect information on 
aquatic animal operations; (2) to collect information on the generation 
of wastewater and waste management practices used by the AAP 
facilities; and (3) to evaluate each such facility as a candidate for 
multi-day sampling.
    In selecting candidates for site visits, EPA attempted to identify 
facilities that were representative of various CAAP operations, as well 
as both direct and indirect dischargers. EPA specifically considered 
the type of aquatic animal production operation (production method and 
species produced), geographical region, age of the facility, size of 
facility (in terms of production), wastewater treatment processes 
employed, and best management practices/pollution prevention techniques 
used. EPA also solicited recommendations for good-performing facilities 
(e.g., facilities with advanced wastewater treatment practices) from 
EPA Regional offices, State agencies, and members of the JSA/AETF. The 
site-specific selection criteria are discussed in site visit reports 
prepared for each site visited by EPA (DCN 30987-30998 and 61615-61652) 
and summarized in the CAAP Development Document. The sites visited 
reflect a cross section of the industry that is fairly complete and 
proportionally representative of the industry.
    During each site visit, EPA collected information on the facility 
and its operations, including: (1) General production data and 
information; (2) the types of aquatic animal production wastewaters 
generated and treated on-site; (3) water source and use; (4) wastewater 
treatment and disposal operations. EPA used the site visit reports to 
prepare multi-day sampling and analysis plans (SAPs) for each facility 
that would undergo multi-day sampling. For those facilities selected 
for sampling episodes, EPA also collected information on potential 
sampling locations for wastewater (raw influent, within the treatment 
system, and final effluent); and other information necessary for 
developing a sampling plan for possible multi-day sampling episodes.
    Based on data collected from the site visits, EPA selected three 
facilities for multi-day sampling (two flow-through systems and one 
recirculating system). The purpose of the multi-day sampling was to 
characterize pollutants in raw wastewaters prior to treatment as well 
as document wastewater treatment performance (including selected unit 
processes). Selection of facilities for multi-day sampling was based on 
an analysis of information collected during the site visits as well as 
the following criteria: (1) The facility activities and operations were 
representative of CAAP facilities and (2) the facility utilized in-
process treatment and/or end-of-pipe treatment practices that EPA was 
considering for technology option selection.
    The Agency collected the following types of information during each 
sampling episode: (1) Dates and times of sample collection; (2) flow 
data corresponding to each sample; (3) production data corresponding to 
each sample; (4) design and operating parameters for source reduction, 
recycling, and treatment; technologies characterized during sampling; 
(5) information about site operations that had changed since the site 
visit or that

[[Page 57882]]

were not included in the site visit report; and (6) temperature, pH, 
and dissolved oxygen (DO) of the sampled waste streams.
    During each multi-day sampling episode, EPA sampled facility 
influent and effluent wastestreams over a 5-day period. Samples also 
were collected at intermediate points throughout the wastewater 
treatment system to assess the performance of individual treatment 
units. Samples were obtained using a combination of composite and grab 
samples, depending upon the pollutant parameter to be analyzed. EPA 
selected the duration for sampling the composites to reflect feeding 
and non-feeding conditions at the facilities and to minimize risk to 
sampling personnel. The composite time frames ranged from 12 hours to 
24 hours. EPA had the samples analyzed for a variety of conventional 
(BOD, TSS, oil and grease, and pH), nonconventional (nutrients, 
microbiological, drugs and chemicals), and toxic (metals and organic 
compounds) pollutants. When possible for a given parameter, EPA 
collected 24-hour composite samples in order to capture the variability 
in the waste streams generated throughout the day (e.g., production 
wastewater during feeding and non-feeding periods.)
    Data collected from the sampling episodes contributed to 
characterization of the industry, development of the list of pollutants 
of concern, and development of raw wastewater characteristics. EPA used 
the data collected from the influent, intermediate, and effluent points 
to analyze the efficacy of treatment at the facilities, and to develop 
current discharge concentrations, loadings, and the treatment 
technology options for the Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production 
industry. EPA used effluent data to calculate the long-term averages 
(LTAs) and limitations for each of the proposed regulatory options. EPA 
intends to use industry-provided data from the CAAP detailed survey and 
other sources to complement the sampling data for these calculations in 
final rulemaking. During each sampling episode, EPA collected flow rate 
data corresponding to each sample collected and production information 
from each associated production system for use in calculating pollutant 
loadings. EPA has included in the public record all information 
collected for which a facility has not asserted a claim of Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or which would indirectly reveal information 
claimed to be CBI.
    After conducting the sampling episodes, EPA prepared sampling 
episode reports for each facility and included descriptions of the 
wastewater treatment processes, sampling procedures, and analytical 
results. EPA documented all data collected during sampling episodes in 
the sampling episode report for each sampled site. Non-confidential 
business information from these reports is available in the public 
record for this proposal. For detailed information on sampling and 
preservation procedures, analytical methods, and quality assurance/
quality control procedures see the Quality Assurance Project Plan 
(QAPP) (DCN 61558) and SAPs (DCN 61557, DCN 61710, and DCN 61711) for 
today's proposed rule.

D. Pollutants Sampled and Analytical Methods

    The Agency collected, preserved, and transported all samples 
according to EPA protocols as specified in the AAP QAPP.
    EPA collected composite samples for most parameters because the 
Agency expected the wastewater composition to vary over the course of a 
day. The Agency collected grab samples from unit operations for oil and 
grease and microbiologicals (e.g., total and fecal coliform, fecal 
streptoccocus, Aeromonas, Mycobacterium marinum, E. coli, and 
Enterococcus faecium). Composite samples were collected either manually 
or by using an automated sampler. Individual aliquots for the composite 
samples were collected at a minimum of once every four hours over each 
12-hour period. Oil and grease samples were collected two or three 
times per composite time frame and microbiologicals were collected once 
a day.
    Table IV.D-1 lists the parameters sampled at the majority of the 
facilities, some of which have not been identified as pollutants of 
concern.

                  Table IV.D-1: CAAP Sampled Parameters
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Settleable Solids                    Oil and grease
pH                                   Sulfate
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD\5\)   Metals (e.g., arsenic, chromium,
Chemical oxygen demand (COD)         copper, mercury, zinc)
Total organic carbon (TOC)           Volatile Organics
Total suspended solids (TSS)         Semivolatile Organics
Total dissolved solids (TDS)         Total coliform
Total volatile solids (TVS)          Fecal coliform
Chloride                             Escherichia coli
Total Chlorine                       Fecal streptococci
Ammonia as nitrogen                  Aeromonas
Nitrate/nitrite                      Mycobacterium marinum
Total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN)        Enterococcus faecium
Total phosphorus (TP)                Oxytetracycline
Total dissolved phosphorus (TDP)     Toxicity:
Orthophosphate                       Fathead Minnow, Pimephales promelas
Temperature                          Cladoceran, Ceriodaphnia dubia
Dissolved Oxygen                     Green Alga, Selenastrum
                                      capricornatum
Turbidity
Conductivity
Salinity
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All wastewater sample analyses, except for the field measurements 
of temperature, turbidity, conductivity, salinity, total chlorine, 
dissolved oxygen, settleable solids, and pH were completed by EPA 
contract laboratories. EPA collected field measurements of temperature, 
dissolved oxygen, and pH at the sampling site. The analytical chemistry 
methods used, as well as the sample volume requirements, detection 
limits, and holding times, were consistent with the laboratory's 
quality assurance and quality control plan. Laboratories contracted for 
CAAP sample analysis followed EPA approved analysis methods for all 
parameters except some microbials and drugs (i.e., oxytetracycline) for 
which no current EPA approved method has been formally developed. The 
protocols used to measure those pollutants are available in the docket 
to today's proposal.
    The EPA contract laboratories reported data on their standard 
report sheet and submitted them to EPA's sample control center (SCC). 
The SCC reviewed the report sheets for completeness and reasonableness. 
EPA reviewed all reports from the laboratory to verify that the data 
were consistent with requirements, reported in the proper units, and 
complied with the applicable protocol.

E. Other Data Collection

    EPA conducted a number of other data collection efforts to 
supplement information gathered through the survey process, facility 
sampling activities, site visits, meetings with industry experts, the 
general public, and government funded studies. The main purpose of 
these other data collection efforts was to obtain information on 
documented environmental impacts of aquatic animal production 
facilities, additional

[[Page 57883]]

data on aquatic animal production waste characteristics, pollution 
prevention practices, wastewater treatment technology innovation, and 
facility management practices. These other data collection activities 
included a literature search, a review of current NPDES permits, and a 
review of NPDES Discharge Monitoring Reports.
1. Literature Search on Environmental Impacts
    EPA conducted a literature search to obtain information on various 
aspects of the aquatic animal production industry, including pollutants 
causing environmental impacts, water quality and ecological impacts 
from these pollutants, non-native species impacts, and other potential 
impacts. EPA performed extensive Internet and library searches for 
applicable information. EPA has included a summary of the case studies 
in the public docket (DCN ) associated with today's proposal and in 
Chapter 9 of the CAAP Economic Analysis (DCN 20141). The primary 
sources for the case studies include technical journal articles, 
newspaper articles, industry experts, and government contacts for 
aquaculture.
    EPA also conducted a separate literature search for case studies 
that characterize the AAP industry, or more specifically the typical 
effluents associated with different production system types and 
species. The primary sources for the case studies were technical 
journal articles.
2. Current NPDES Permits
    EPA extracted information from the Agency's Permit Compliance 
System (PCS) to identify concentrated aquatic animal production 
industry point source dischargers with NPDES permits. This initial 
extraction was performed by searching the PCS using reported Standard 
Industrial Classification (SIC) codes used to describe the primary 
activities occurring at the site. Specifically, EPA used the following 
SIC Codes: 0273Animal Aquaculture and 0921 Fish Hatcheries and 
Preserves.
    EPA identified a total of 1,174 concentrated aquatic animal 
production facilities in the PCS database which does not include the 
number identified in the screener. Some of these facilities may have 
permits, but are not in the PCS database. Based on the NPDES permits 
found in the PCS database, EPA estimates that 377 facilities have 
active permits (i.e., facilities that are still in business and are 
required to be permitted).
    EPA selected a sample from this universe of dischargers. The Agency 
then reviewed NPDES permits and permit applications to obtain 
information on facility type, production methods and systems, species 
produced, and effluent treatment practices for each of the aquatic 
animal production sectors. EPA used this information as part of its 
initial screening process to identify the universe of AAP facilities 
that would be covered under the proposal. In addition, this information 
was used to better define the scope of the information collection 
requests and to supplement other information collected on waste 
management practices in the industry. EPA will continue to refine its 
estimates of direct dischargers to further incorporate information from 
the PCS database.
3. Discharge Monitoring Reports
    The Agency collected long-term effluent data from facility 
Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) to supplement the PCS database in 
an effort to perform a check on the achievability of today's proposed 
requirements. DMRs summarize the quality and volume of wastewater 
discharged from a facility under a NPDES permit. DMRs are critical for 
monitoring compliance with NPDES permit provisions and for generating 
national trends on Clean Water Act compliance. DMRs may be submitted 
monthly, quarterly, or annually depending on the requirements of the 
NPDES permit.
    EPA extracted discharge data and permit limits from these DMRs to 
help identify regulated pollutants and to identify better performing 
facilities. EPA was able to collect DMR information on a total of 157 
facilities. Of those 157 facilities, EPA was able to identify 57 flow-
through and 2 recirculating systems for which basic facility 
characteristics are available. EPA does not have sufficient information 
on the facility characteristics for the remaining 98 facilities. EPA 
collected 38,096 data points on 126 separate pollutant parameters 
(including nitrogen, phosphorus, solids, flow, chemicals such as 
formalin, diquat, and copper).
    Indirect dischargers file compliance monitoring reports with their 
control authority (e.g., POTW) at least twice per year as required 
under the General Pretreatment Standards (40 CFR 403) while direct 
dischargers file discharge monitoring reports with their permitting 
authority at least once per year. EPA did not collect compliance 
monitoring reports for CAAP facilities that are indirect dischargers 
because: (1) A vast majority of CAAP indirect dischargers add only 
small volumes of wastewater to POTWs and typically do not discharge 
toxic compounds and (2) this information is less centralized and much 
harder to collect.

F. Summary of Public Participation

    EPA encouraged the participation of all interested parties 
throughout the development of the proposed aquatic animal production 
effluent limitations guidelines and standards. EPA conducted outreach 
to the major trade associations via the JSA/AETF (participants include 
producers, trade associations, academics, federal and state agencies 
and environmental organizations). EPA also participated in several JSA/
AETF meetings and gave presentations on the status of the regulation 
development. EPA also met with environmental groups, including the 
Natural Resources Defense Council, concerning this proposal.
    In the development of the surveys, which were used to gather 
facility specific information on this industry, EPA consulted with the 
various JSA/AETF technical subgroups to ensure that the information 
being requested was asked for in such a way as to be understandable and 
that it would be available in the form requested.
    EPA also met with representatives from USDA, FDA, National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS) of Department of Commerce and United States 
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of Department of Interior to discuss 
this regulation. EPA met with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) of USDA to discuss potential regulations related to 
aquatic pathogens. EPA met with FDA's Center of Veterinary Medicine to 
discuss the new drug approval process. EPA met with NMFS and USFWS 
representatives to discuss non-native species and the regulatory 
authority various agencies have over non-native species. EPA met with 
representatives from State and local governments to discuss their 
concerns with concentrated aquatic animal production facilities and how 
EPA should evaluate options to regulate discharges from these 
facilities.
    EPA learned about the regulatory framework that some of these 
agencies operate under. Specifically, EPA's discussion with USFWS 
focused on intentional and unintentional introductions and what 
authority USFWS has to control unintentional releases of non-native 
species. In discussions with FDA, the major concern raised was the use 
of investigational new animal drugs and extra label use of drugs.

[[Page 57884]]

V. Scope/Applicability of Proposed Regulation

    EPA solicits comments on various issues regarding applicability of 
today's proposed national effluent limitations guidelines and 
standards. The following discussion descibes the applicability for 
three subcategories of concentrated aquatic animal production 
facilities that would be subject to the regulations proposed today.

A. Facilities To Be Subject to 40 CFR Part 451

    EPA is proposing new effluent limitations guidelines and standards 
for three subcategories of the concentrated aquatic animal production 
industry: Flow-through systems, recirculating systems, and net pens. 
EPA does not propose to establish effluent limitations for CAAP 
facilities in any subcategory that produce cold water species with 
annual production between 20,000 pounds and 100,000 pounds annually. 
EPA also does not propose to establish effluent limitations guidelines 
for floating and bottom culture systems for molluscan shellfish (e.g., 
mussel rafts) or for ponds, but EPA does invite comment on whether EPA 
should regulate rapid drain discharges from such ponds. EPA does not 
propose categorical pretreatment standards for any production 
subcategory.

B. Facilities Not Subject to 40 CFR Part 451

    EPA developed the production rate thresholds based on 1998 Census 
of Aquaculture data and the AAP screener survey data, which was 
available prior to proposal. EPA used six production size categories 
that correspond with the revenue classifications used in the 1998 
Census of Aquaculture (i.e., $1,000-$24,999; $25,000-$49,999; $50,000-
$99,999; $100,000-$499,999; $500,000-$1,000,000; and 
$1,000,000) to develop model facilities representing these 
size ranges for each species evaluated. EPA also used these size ranges 
to group facility production data reported in the AAP screener surveys. 
EPA used national average product prices taken from the 1998 Census of 
Aquaculture to estimate the production (in pounds) for the dominant 
species that were reported grown in flow-through (e.g., trout, salmon, 
tilapia) recirculating (e.g., tilapia, hybrid striped bass) and net pen 
(e.g., salmon) systems. For alligator systems reported in the AAP 
screener survey, data from industry reports was used to estimate 
production value and create groupings of the facilities. EPA used these 
size classification groupings to more accurately estimate costs, 
loadings, non-water quality impacts (NWQIs), and economic impacts of 
the proposed limitations and standards for each of the size 
classifications within the various species (or aquatic animal types) 
cultured inthis industry. That is, rather than assume one model 
facility for each of the three regulatory subcategories, EPA used a 
minimum of 6 model facilities for each facility type (e.g., commercial, 
government, research) and species size combinations (e.g., fingerlings, 
stockers, food size) for better accuracy in its analyses (see also CAAP 
Development Document for further details on how these production based 
thresholds were developed). EPA applied these size classifications to 
the AAP screener survey data to derive the model facility 
characteristics that have been used to support this proposed 
regulation.
    In evaluating the AAP screener survey data related to facility 
annual production, EPA identified several variables distinguishing 
various types of facilities. Aquatic animal production facilities 
varied by type of facility operation (i.e., species and production 
method) and type of wastewater management (e.g., direct discharger, 
indirect discharger, no discharge/wastes applied to land on site). EPA 
identified annual production levels (by mass) at facilities and then 
identified the corresponding model facility. For the purposes of 
estimating costs, loads, economic impacts and Non Water Quality Impacts 
(NWQIs), EPA only considered the data for the model facilities that 
would meet the definition of a CAAP facility as defined in 40 CFR 
122.24 and appendix C to part 122. EPA invites comments on the 
appropriateness of using this method of estimating production 
thresholds to characterize concentrated aquatic animal production 
facilities and to determine applicability of the proposed regulations.
    The production-based threshold in today's proposal were based on a 
determination that the facilities below this threshold would likely 
experience adverse economic impacts if they were subject to the 
proposed requirements. EPA made this determination based on the results 
of the model facility analysis and thus would likely find the 
regulations not economically achievable. As described above, the model 
facilities represent specific size ranges (in pounds) derived from 
annual revenue ranges from the 1998 Census of Aquaculture, using price 
data. Most of the impacts that EPA identified would adversely affect 
trout producers below the 94,000 pounds annual threshold. Therefore, 
the Agency proposes to establish the applicability threshold for this 
effluent guideline at 100,000 pounds annually based on the trout model 
facility. EPA believes it would needlessly complicate the regulation, 
with little corresponding environmental benefit, to try to establish 
different applicability thresholds for different species. EPA believes 
this applicability threshold is reasonable and will minimize the 
adverse economic impacts that would be imposed by this proposed 
regulation. See Section IX of this notice for a more detailed 
discussion of the economic impact analysis. EPA intends to conduct more 
detailed evaluations of potential thresholds using responses to the 
detailed survey. Further evaluation may warrant a change in the 
proposed production-based applicability threshold.
    Most smaller CAAP facilities (i.e., those producing below the 
applicability threshold) are not included within the scope of today's 
proposal for a number of reasons: (1) Small CAAP facilities, as a 
group, discharge less than 18% of the total suspended solids (or 1.1 
million lbs/year) and less than 18% of the nutrients and BOD (or 1.1 
million lbs/year) when compared to all discharges from the entire CAAP 
industry; (2) EPA determined that only a limited amount of loadings 
removal would be accomplished by improved treatment at the BPT/BAT 
level of control; and (3) EPA estimated that the small facilities would 
experience compliance costs that exceeded 5% of their revenues which is 
higher than for large facilities. Therefore, EPA is not proposing 
limitations and standards for discharges from the smallest facilities. 
Instead, an NPDES permit for such a smaller facility that is defined as 
a CAAP facility under the NPDES regulations would include limits based 
on the ``best professional judgment'' of the permit writer.
    As explained above, EPA's proposed applicability is based on the 
screener data available for this proposal. EPA invites comment on these 
estimates and conclusions based on modeled data, especially because EPA 
is aware that many permitted flow-through facilities producing less 
than 100,000 pounds of cold water species in Idaho, in fact, can 
achieve similar requirements that EPA is proposing for large 
facilities. EPA invites comment on the cost-reasonableness of lower 
cost BMP plans for smaller facilities (e.g., BMP option without numeric 
limits on TSS). EPA will re-evaluate this size threshold based on new 
data (i.e., the detailed survey responses) and intends to invite 
comment on that data in a notice in the Federal Register. EPA is also 
soliciting comment on alternative size thresholds

[[Page 57885]]

at different production levels. A supplemental analysis in the record 
(CAAP Economic Analysis ) compares the proposed size categories in 
terms of costs, pollutant removals, and economic impacts on the 
affected facilities. EPA specifically is requesting comment on how 
alternative thresholds might be justified using the factors discussed 
above (e.g. economic impact, small pollutant loadings, etc.) and/or 
other relevant factors.
    By today's action, EPA also does not propose effluent limitations 
guidelines and standards for certain species/production system 
combinations for reasons unrelated to economics, specifically, either 
because EPA does not believe the species/production system adds more 
than trivial amounts of pollutants or because no feasible pollutant 
control technologies are available to reduce pollutant loads in more 
than de minimis amounts. EPA is not proposing regulations for 
discharges from:

--Ponds. The culture of aquatic animals in ponds requires high quality 
water to sustain and grow the aquatic animal crop. For many aquatic 
animals raised in ponds, the pond itself serves as a natural biological 
treatment system to reduce wastes generated by animals in the pond 
(including excess feed, manure, and dead aquatic animals). The NPDES 
regulations for warm water concentrated aquatic animal production 
facilities exclude discharges from ``closed ponds which discharge only 
during periods of excess runoff'' and does not apply to facilities that 
discharge less than 30 days per year. Given these circumstances, and 
given that overflow pipes in ponds tend to drain passively from the top 
surface of the pond, discharges due to excess runoff should be of 
comparatively high water quality. As such, EPA does not propose 
nationally-applicable effluent guidelines regulations for pond system 
discharges related to sediment, erosion, nutrients, or feeds. See 
section VIII for additional discussion on pond systems. EPA invites 
comment on its proposal not to adopt ELGs for ponds. In addition, EPA 
specifically invites comments on effluent limitations related to the 
use of drugs and chemicals in ponds should be considered, BMPs related 
to escapement of non-native aquatic animal species raised in ponds, and 
limits to control discharges from the technique of rapid pond drainage 
used in certain pond production systems, particularly shrimp, should be 
considered.
--Lobster pounds. Intertidal impoundments are used for live storage of 
marine crustaceans (e.g., lobsters, crabs, etc.) to keep wild caught 
animals alive pending sale. EPA is not proposing nationally-applicable 
effluent limitations regulation at this time for lobster pounds because 
the Agency has not found any applicable pollutant control technologies 
to reduce discharges, EPA continues to evaluate BMPs that might apply 
for these types of facilities (see AAP Technical Guidance Manual). EPA 
invites comment, however, on whether controls and/or reporting of the 
use of drugs and chemicals that EPA is proposing for other production 
systems would be appropriate for intertidal pounds.
--Crawfish. Crawfish are typically raised in conjunction with plant 
crops, as part of a rice, soybean, crawfish crop rotation because 
crawfish maintain aeration of the growing media. EPA is not proposing 
nationally-applicable effluent limitations guidelines regulation for 
discharges associated with crawfish operations because crawfish 
producers do not add feed, drugs, or chemicals to manage the crawfish 
operations and because any associated pollutants tend to be assimilated 
with the soils used to grow plant crops. EPA invites comment on not 
proposing regulations for discharges associated with production of 
crawfish.
--Molluscan shellfish production in open waters. For large-scale 
production of molluscs for food, operators typically use bottom 
culture, bottom anchored racks, or floating (but tethered to the 
bottom) rafts in open waters. Because such operations do not typically 
add materials to waters of the United States, and because EPA has not 
found any generally-applicable pollutant control technologies to reduce 
any discharge, the Agency is not proposing effluent limitations 
guidelines and standards for discharges from open water mollusc 
culture. EPA notes that molluscs are filter feeders and, in some cases, 
are recommended not only as a food source, but also a pollution control 
technology in and of themselves. Molluscs remove pollutants from 
ambient waters via filtration. EPA also is aware that molluscs have 
been incorporated into polyculture aquatic animal production operations 
to minimize discharges of pollutants. EPA invites comment on not 
proposing regulations for open water molluscan production.
--Aquariums. Public aquariums are AAP facilities that display a variety 
of aquatic animals to the general public and conduct research on many 
different threatened and endangered aquatic species. EPA has 
determined, through the AAP screener survey and site visits, that most 
aquariums are indirect dischargers and if these facilities discharge 
directly into waters of the U.S., it is only done in emergency 
situations requiring rapid dewatering of tanks. These systems maintain 
low stocking densities and very clean, clear water to enhance the 
visual display of the animals. Discharges from aquariums are likely to 
be low in TSS and nutrients because of the low stocking densities. 
Because most of the drugs used to treat stressed or ill animals are 
injected directly into the animal, EPA believes that discharges of 
drugs would be minimal. Few chemicals are used and include pH buffers 
and chemicals used to make artificial sea salt. Based on these 
preliminary evaluations, EPA proposes no regulation for discharges from 
these types of operations. EPA is exploring the potential releases of 
drugs and chemicals and technologies that can and are being used to 
remove drugs and chemicals through the detailed survey. Pending results 
from the detailed survey, EPA solicits comments on whether this 
regulatory approach is appropriate and also requests any data on the 
use of drugs and chemicals in public aquariums.
--Alligators. EPA evaluated screener survey data to determine the scope 
of the alligator industry and the range of treatment technologies that 
are currently used. Alligator production facilities range in size from 
producers with less than 100 animals to some with many thousands of 
animals. As described through contacts with industry experts 
(Hochheimer 2002d DCN 61794), alligator production facilities do not 
discharge effluents from their alligator production systems. Instead, 
effluents are treated in one or two-stage lagoons and then land applied 
to crop or forested land. EPA intends to verify this through the 
collection of detailed survey information. Based on this information 
EPA believes alligator producers would not meet the definition of a 
CAAP because they would not exceed minimum threshold of discharging 30 
days annually.


[[Page 57886]]


--Alaskan Net Pen Systems. In Alaska, salmon fry are raised for 
stocking under an arrangement that does not exist elsewhere in the 
United States. Non-profit, non-governmental salmon producers raise only 
native species for the purpose of supplementing natural populations and 
maintaining Alaska's fishing industry. Producers raise salmon in flow-
through systems, which are transferred to net pen systems as they 
mature. Net pen rearing of salmon in Alaska occurs primarily for pink 
and chum salmon for two months of the year (mid-March to mid-May). Fish 
are placed in the pens weighing about 0.4 grams and reared until they 
reach about 2.0 grams. The industry reports achieving about a 1:1 feed 
conversion ratio since added feed is supplemented by naturally 
occurring zooplankton. Once the fish are released into the ocean the 
nets and pens are fallow until the following year. The Agency is not 
aware of any drug or chemical use in these non-profit Alaska net pen 
system operations. For these reasons the Agency proposes to exclude 
from today's proposed regulation discharges from the net pen phase of 
operations at non-profit Alaska salmon production based on the current 
provisions of Alaska law. The Agency solicits comments on any 
environmental impacts caused by these net pen facilities, in particular 
the use of drugs or chemicals such as anti-foulants. EPA may consider 
requiring these facilities to develop and implement BMP plans similar 
to the plans included in today's proposal for other net pen discharges 
in order to minimize the potential discharge of solids and other 
pollutants associated with net pen systems generally. EPA would 
consider the costs and economic impacts associated with the development 
and implementation of BMPs and would provide prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment on any such costs and impacts in a 
subsequent notice. The Agency solicits comments on this possible 
approach.

VI. Subcategorization

A. Factors Considered in Developing Proposed Subcategories

    The CWA requires EPA, when developing effluent limitations 
guidelines and pretreatment standards, to consider a number of 
different factors. For example, when developing limitations that 
represent the best available technology economically achievable for a 
particular industry category, EPA must consider, among other factors, 
the age of the equipment and facilities in the category, location, 
manufacturing processes employed, types of treatment technology to 
reduce effluent discharges, the cost of effluent reductions and non-
water quality environmental impacts. See Section 304(b)(2)(B) of the 
CWA, 33 U.S.C. 1314(b)(2)(B). The statute also authorizes EPA to take 
into account other factors that the Administrator deems appropriate and 
requires the BAT model technology chosen by EPA to be economically 
achievable, which generally involves consideration of both compliance 
costs and the overall financial condition of the industry. EPA took 
these factors into account in considering whether to establish 
subcategories and found that dividing the industry into subcategories 
leads to better tailored regulatory standards, thereby increasing 
regulatory predictability and diminishing the need to address 
variations among facilities through a variance process. See 
Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Costle, 590 F. 2d 1011, 1053 (D.C. Cir. 1978).

    EPA used published literature, site visit data, industry screener 
survey data and EPA sampling data for the subcategorization analysis. 
Various subcategorization criteria were analyzed for trends in 
discharge flow rates, pollutant concentrations, and treatability to 
determine where subcategorization was warranted. Equipment and facility 
age and facility location were not found to impact wastewater 
generation or wastewater characteristics; therefore, age and location 
were not used as a basis for subcategorization. An analysis of non-
water quality environmental characteristics (e.g., solid waste and air 
emission effects) showed that these characteristics also did not 
constitute a basis for subcategorization (see Section XI).
    Facility size (e.g., acreage, number of employees, production 
rates) directly affects the effluent quality, particularly the quantity 
of pollutants in the effluent and size was used as a basis for 
subcategorization because more stringent limitations would not be 
economically achievable for smaller aquatic animal production 
facilities (see Section V for definition of ``small'' and ``non-small'' 
facilities for each subcategory). See SectionV for a description on how 
and why EPA established production based thresholds for CAAP 
facilities.
    EPA also identified types of production system (e.g., pond, flow-
through system, net pen, etc) as a determinative factor for 
subcategorization due to variations in operating practices, quality and 
quantity of effluent type and discharge frequency. Based on the results 
of an initial evaluation, EPA determined that using the production 
system employed at each facility most appropriately subcategorizes the 
CAAP industry. Additional subdivision was evaluated to better 
characterize the influence of water management strategies on discharge 
frequency, volume, and quality.
    When subcategorized by production system, the AAP industry consists 
of six major subcategories: Pond systems, flow-through systems, 
recirculating systems, net pens and cages, floating aquaculture and 
bottom culture, and alligator systems. AAP facilities can be 
characterized by the relative amount of water used to produce a unit of 
product, the general design of the facility, and the processes used to 
treat production water. Wastewater flow rates, water usage, and water 
requirements and characteristics are considered similar within each 
subcategory.
    EPA's analyses indicate that, in most cases, species is not a 
significant factor in determining differences in production system 
effluent characteristics. The management practices for a particular 
species dictate stocking densities, feed types, feeding rates and 
frequencies, and the overall management strategy. Species, however, 
does not appear to be a major determinant in the quality or quantity of 
effluent from the particular type of production system.
    The following section describes the proposed Concentrated Aquatic 
Animal Production industry subcategorization.

B. Proposed Subcategories

    In today's notice, EPA proposes new limitations and standards for 
facilities in the following CAAP subcategories: flow-through systems, 
recirculating systems, and net pens. EPA developed the proposed limits 
based on the differences in quality and quantity of discharges from 
these types of facilities. Flow-through systems tend to have high 
effluent flows. Some facilities may treat two discharge points: a bulk 
discharge and a discharge from a settling basin referred to as off-line 
settling. The solids generated from the production process are 
collected and treated in the basin through settling. The discharge from 
the off-line settling basin is small in volume and more concentrated in 
pollutants such as TSS, BOD, or nutrients. Other facilities opt to 
treat their entire discharge (full flow settling) which includes the 
solids generated from the production process. Recirculating

[[Page 57887]]

systems have relatively small effluent volumes of treated effluents 
that are high in TSS, BOD and nutrients. Net pen systems discharge TSS, 
BOD and nutrients directly to receiving waters. See Section III. EPA 
chose to further segment the subcategories by facility size (i.e. by 
the amount of aquatic animals produced) because of economic 
considerations (see Section IX).

VII. Control Technology Options, Costs, Wastewater Characteristics, and 
Pollutant Reductions

A. Description of Wastewater Treatment Technologies and Management 
Practices in the CAAP Industry

    Most of the wastewater treatment technologies and management 
practices evaluated as options for AAP facilities are potentially 
applicable to all of the system subcategory types, including (1) feed 
management; (2) health management; (3) control of non-native species 
escapes; (4) drug and chemical use management; (5) water quality 
monitoring; (6) primary solids settling; (7) disinfection; and (8) 
additional solids removal. The following is a description of each of 
these treatment technologies and management practices as they apply to 
all systems followed by a description of any system-specific practices 
evaluated. The descriptions of the practices below, however, do not 
necessarily reflect what EPA proposes to require.
1. Treatment Technologies and Management Practices Considered for All 
Systems
    a. Feed Management. Feed management recognizes the importance of 
effective, environmentally sound use of feed. All AAP operators should 
continually evaluate feeding practices to ensure that feed placed in 
the production unit is consumed. It is important to eliminate excess 
feeding to reduce the input of solids and nutrients in the production 
unit. The goal of good feed management is to increase the ability of 
fish to efficiently convert food to flesh. By observing feeding 
behavior and noting the presence of excess feed, operators can adjust 
feeding rates to ensure minimal excess and waste. Use of high quality 
feed that meets the nutritional requirements of the species being 
cultured can also help to minimize excess feed. Proper storage and 
handling can be important for some types of feed in order to reduce the 
production of small feed particles (or fines) that most animals will 
not eat. Uniform feeding applications are another tool for achieving 
effective feed management. Feeding as much of the rearing unit (e.g., 
pond, raceway, or tank) surface as possible to ensure that all of the 
animals have feed available to consume prevents waste and improves the 
quality of fish production. Because feed is the most expensive 
production input for most facilities, operators have a strong financial 
incentive to minimize excess feed.
    b. Health Management. As a practice to promote health management, 
some operators have developed health management plans that include an 
assessment of the potential animal health problems that may be 
encountered at a facility and the environmental problems that may 
result from disease outbreaks. The plan outlines the actions needed to 
minimize the impacts of disease outbreaks, including the use of drugs 
and chemicals.
    As part of health management practices, AAP facility operators 
sometimes conduct health screenings by collecting samples of the 
cultured species and screening for diseases, parasites, and body 
weight. Health screening allows for the early detection of certain 
diseases and parasites, which would otherwise not be detected until the 
outbreak had spread through the cultured population. Most States have 
disease diagnostic services available to assist in screening aquatic 
animals and identifying potential problems. Measuring weight allows 
producers to evaluate general health, determine how well the crop is 
performing, and constantly update the feeding regimes so that the most 
efficient feed rates are used. Health screening can also reduce the 
need for medicated feeds by detecting the disease problems early. 
However, health screening can be expensive and its effectiveness is 
highly site- and species-specific. Operators have a strong financial 
incentive to conduct health screening to the extent that it is cost-
effective at their facility.
    Mortality of the cultured species in small numbers is a common 
occurrence in aquaculture systems. Mortality removal is another health 
management practice that helps prevent the spread of disease and the 
introduction of excess pollutants into the system. Many of the 
mortalities float to the surface of the culture water and can be 
collected by hand or using nets.
    c. Control of Non-Native Species Escapes. When culturing non-native 
species, it is important to control escapes of the cultured animals if 
there is a potential for adverse impact on wild populations. Where this 
potential exists, it can be minimized by the preparation of a non-
native species escapement plan to address control of escapes. This plan 
would include a mechanism to minimize or prevent the potential for 
escapement. Some examples in existing plans include screens or other 
barriers over discharge pipes to prevent escapement of aquatic animals, 
use of double nets in net pen operations, and training of employees to 
carefully transfer fish when moving or harvesting animals to prevent 
escapes.
    EPA is considering requiring CAAPs to report escapes of non-native 
species to the permitting authority. With this information, the 
permitting authority, in coordination with the state agency responsible 
for fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and/or the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) would evaluate the potential 
for the escaped fish to become established and cause ecological harm. 
Timely notification of any escapes would allow the State, USFWS, or 
NMFS to take measures to control the spread of the non-natives.
    EPA is also considering banning the intentional release of any non-
native species with the potential to cause adverse impacts on wild 
species from CAAPs. EPA is aware of the possibility that non-native 
species may be intentionally released, especially from net pens, if 
they are not growing rapidly enough to justify continued feeding. 
States or USFWS would determine which species the ban would be applied 
to.
    EPA is soliciting comment on the appropriateness and efficacy of a 
ban on intentional releases, the appropriate entity to define which 
species the ban should be applied to, and the practicality of reporting 
requirements for escaped non-native species. EPA is aware of the 
concern that national ELGs under the CWA may not be an effective 
mechanism to address non-native species, since many facilities would be 
outside the scope of the ELGs.
    d. Drug and Chemical Use. Facility operators may develop drug and 
chemical plans that list all of the drugs and chemicals that will be 
used, the conditions for use, safe handling and storage practices, and 
actions being taken to minimize their use (e.g., maintaining water 
quality to minimize stress).
    EPA is evaluating whether to include a whole effluent toxicity 
(WET) test as a screening step for potential adverse environmental 
effects when a facility uses investigational new animal drugs or an 
extra label use drug. EPA solicits comment on: (1) The use of WET tests 
to determine any toxic effects that the addition of drugs could have on 
the receiving water body, (2) when such a test might be appropriate 
(e.g., to reflect

[[Page 57888]]

how the investigational drug use might otherwise impair local benthos) 
and (3) choice of test species.
    e. Production Unit Water Quality Monitoring. Water quality 
monitoring of the production unit water helps ensure that conditions 
are optimal for the species being cultured. Good water quality 
minimizes stress, which reduces the number of disease outbreaks. 
Routine monitoring, especially for dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrite, 
alkalinity, pH, and other key parameters will promote the health of the 
fish. For flow-through and net pen systems, the volume of water that 
flows through a system on a daily basis is quite large and the quality 
of the process water changes slowly, if at all. For these systems, once 
a baseline of water quality is determined, the operator rarely needs to 
monitor process water quality. Because pond and recirculating systems 
can have variable water quality, routine monitoring will also help 
system operators monitor the quality of potential effluent from the 
system.
    f. Primary Solids Control. Solids, which come from feces and 
uneaten feed, are the largest mass of pollutants generated in CAAP 
facilities. There are several technologies that can be used for primary 
solids removal from process waters, in addition to BMPs to control 
solids generated at CAAP facilities. The general strategy is to combine 
BMPs with the removal of solids from the bulk waste stream as 
efficiently as possible and to treat these solids in an environmentally 
sound way.
    Ponds continually process solids by a combination of physical 
(settling in pond) and biochemical (microbial decomposition of solids) 
processes. Since high production AAP pond facilities use additional 
aeration to keep the ponds well mixed and aerated, the processing of 
solids in ponds results in low organic content solids that accumulate 
on the pond bottom that can be periodically used to rebuild pond banks. 
As a result of the long residence times of water and the accumulating 
solids in a pond system, EPA believes in-pond solids settling to be an 
effective form of primary solids control.
    In flow-through systems, quiescent zones and other in-system solids 
collection practices help reduce TSS and associated pollutants in the 
effluent. The water velocities in most flow-through systems are rarely 
high enough to keep solids entrained in the water column. The swimming 
action of the cultured fish or the use of baffles to increase tank 
bottom water velocities, however, tend to keep most of the solids 
suspended in the effluent of the flow-through system. Quiescent zones 
are an effective way to enhance solids settling in flow-through 
systems, though they do reduce the production capacity of the system.
    Because flow-through system animal production capacity is governed 
by the flow rate of water into the rearing unit and species type and 
stage of growth, most raceway flow-through systems utilize excess tank 
volume for installing quiescent zones, which use approximately 10% of 
the bottom of the raceway as a settling area for solids (Hochheimer, 
2002a, DCN 61791). Quiescent zones usually have a wire mesh screen, 
which extends from the bottom of the raceway to above the maximum water 
height to prohibit the cultured species from entering the quiescent 
zone. When the quiescent zones are cleaned, the solids collected in the 
system are moved to the sedimentation basin for solids holding and 
dewatering. This is called off-line settling. The goal of sedimentation 
basins (referred to as off-line settling basins or OLSBs) is to collect 
and store the solids captured in the quiescent zone. Some facilities 
use sedimentation basins which are larger than those designed for 
offline settling for treating all of the flow from the raceway. This is 
called full flow settling.
    EPA believes most flow-through systems collect solids in quiescent 
zones and remove this concentrated solids stream to a settling basin 
for further treatment. The water that is decanted off this settling 
basin at many facilities is commingled with the full flow discharge 
from the production system to be discharged through a single outfall. 
EPA is proposing to establish monthly average and daily maximum limits 
that would apply to the commingled effluent. EPA is also proposing to 
allow, at the permitting authority's discretion, facilities to comply 
with the TSS limits through development of a BMP plan designed to meet 
the limits without having to monitor discharges to demonstrate 
compliance. EPA solicits comment on this compliance alternative that 
would allow compliance with a BMP plan designed to minimize sediment 
discharges that was not explicitly tied to particular numeric limits.
    g. Disinfection. Another water treatment technology option is 
disinfection, which is used to remove most of the pathogens (both 
aquatic animal and human health) from the effluent stream. Disinfection 
is a process by which disease-causing organisms are destroyed or 
rendered inactive. EPA's sampling events found elevated levels of some 
indicator pathogens in effluents from sedimentation basins and solids 
storage facilities. Disinfection was evaluated as a way to reduce the 
discharge levels of these indicator organisms.
    Disinfection is most often accomplished using bactericidal agents. 
Three commonly used bactericidal agents are chlorine, ozone 
(O3), and ultraviolet (UV) radiation (disinfection with UV 
light). Chlorination, the use of chlorine, is the most commonly used 
method of disinfection in the United States. Chlorine and ozone 
function by being added at a concentration that effectively disinfects 
the discharge stream. UV radiation disinfects by penetrating the cell 
wall of pathogens with UV light and completely destroying the cell or 
rendering it unable to reproduce.
    h. Additional Solids Removal (Solids Polishing). Solids polishing 
is the use of a secondary wastewater treatment technology to further 
reduce solids discharged from flow-through and recirculating systems. 
Several technologies are available, including microscreen filters and 
polishing ponds. Microscreen filters are fine mesh filters with 
automatic backwash that collect solids. Polishing ponds are secondary 
sedimentation basins used to settle solids from the discharge of the 
primary sedimentation basin.
    Vegetated ditches are another effective means removing solids from 
effluent. A vegetated ditch is an excavated ditch that serves as a 
discharge conveyance, treatment, and storage system. The walls of the 
ditch are excavated at an angle that supports the growth of a dense 
vegetation layer. The vegetation layer aids in treating the discharge 
and reduces the susceptibility of the ditch banks and bottom to 
erosion. The length and width of the ditch are designed to allow for 
the slowing and temporary storage of the discharge as it flows toward 
the receiving water body. The vegetation layer increases the ability of 
the ditch to remove both coarse and fine particulate matter and the 
associated pollutants, such as BOD, settleable solids, and suspended 
solids.
    Constructed wetland treatment systems also promote solids removal 
from pond system discharges. These systems consist of shallow pools 
constructed on non-wetland sites with water at depths of usually less 
than 2 feet. Constructed wetlands provide substrate for specific 
emergent vegetation types such as cattail, bulrush, and reeds. 
Constructed wetlands are designed to treat discharges through physical, 
chemical, and biological processes. The vegetation causes the discharge 
to slow and flow in a more

[[Page 57889]]

serpentine manner, increasing the likelihood of solids settling. The 
vegetation also aids in the adsorption of potential pollutants through 
plant and bacterial uptake, and it increases the oxygen level in the 
discharge flowing through it. Constructed wetland treatment systems can 
be designed to provide several different benefits, including treatment 
of the discharge through biological and chemical processes, temporary 
storage of discharges, recharge of aquifers, and reduction in discharge 
volume to receiving water bodies.
2. Specific System Treatment Technologies and Practices
    In addition to the technologies and practices evaluated for all 
system types described in the previous section, EPA considered system 
specific technologies and practices. The technologies and practices 
that will be discussed in this next section apply to pond and net pen 
systems only because those practices applying to other systems are 
covered by the items in the previous section.
    a. Pond Systems. 1. In-pond treatment (including aeration). The 
objective of in-pond treatment is to use the natural carrying capacity 
of earthen ponds to process the solids, nutrients, and other compounds 
added to the pond water in the form of feed and chemicals for 
maintaining water quality or animal health. When operated within the 
limits of their carrying capacity, ponds can remove over 90% of solids, 
phosphorous, and BOD, and over 70% nitrogen. Mechanical aeration is 
used to enhance the natural assimilative processes of the pond by 
raising dissolved oxygen levels and provides mixing of the pond waters. 
Improving the quality of the water in the pond improves the quality of 
any discharge leaving the pond.
    2. Water management. Water management practices maintain the pond 
water quality while minimizing pond overflows and drainage discharges. 
One water management practices is not completely filling the pond to 
the top. This allows the pond to store extra water during rainfall 
events without overflowing. By leaving 3-6 inches in reserve, pond 
operators can capture some or all rainfall. Another water management 
practice is the infrequent draining of the ponds. This practice reduces 
the volume of discharge from the pond and minimizes water use. The use 
of seine nets (where practicable) to harvest ponds instead of draining 
the ponds for harvest is another practice that improves water quality 
in the pond. Pond facilities can also improve water quality by 
minimizing erosion to reduce the amount of sediment in the water. To 
minimize erosion, pond operators can use rip rap for pond banks, 
although this may cause other problems such as interference with 
feeding and aeration equipment or providing habitat for pests (e.g., 
snakes). Use of grass and other vegetation also reduces erosion into 
the pond. Rapid repair of accidental damage to pond banks from 
emergency aeration equipment or feeding operations will reduce 
additional erosion. Finally, when possible, pond operators replace deep 
water overflows, which discharge excess volume from the bottom of the 
ponds, with surface overflow structures. Waters discharged from the 
bottom of the pond have higher levels of dissolved nutrients and 
sediments than waters discharged from the surface.
    3. Discharge management. Discharge management practices reduce TSS, 
in effluents and erosion, that discharges from ponds to surface waters. 
Several practices can be used to reduce TSS and other pollutants that 
reach receiving waters during draining and overflow events. Riprap 
sometimes is placed around discharge points that are prone to erosion 
to reduce scouring from the flowing water. Drainage ditches can be 
constructed to convey water efficiently and minimize erosion, as does 
the addition of vegetation to outside slopes of ponds, drainage 
ditches, and other bare soil areas. Pond operators also use vegetated 
ditches, at least 600 feet or longer when possible, to trap TSS, BOD, 
and reduce nutrient loads that would otherwise discharge off site.
    b. Net pen Systems. 1. Active Feed management. In addition to the 
above practices, particularly the drug and chemical control practices, 
net pen facilities can also use underwater cameras or other 
technologies to monitor feeding rates in the net pens by identifying 
when excess accumulation of solids occur. Excess feed is the primary 
source of solids accumulation beneath net pens, which can have an 
adverse effect on the benthic community. Some net pen facilities are 
already monitoring feeding activities though the underwater and other 
mechanisms.

B. Water Use and Wastewater Characteristics

1. Water Use
    The quantity of water required for aquaculture is dependent on the 
type of aquaculture system and facility management practices. For 
aquaculture facilities, water is required to replace evaporative and 
seepage losses, to replenish oxygen, and to flush waste from the 
system.
    Water supplies for ponds are typically wells, located on-site at a 
facility. However, some pond-based facilities rely on pumped or free-
flowing water from surface water bodies such as lakes, streams, or 
coastal waters. Pond operators relying on surface waters, however, are 
careful not to introduce undesirable species or organisms into the 
culture ponds. Water might need to be screened or filtered as it is 
pumped into the pond. Rainwater falling directly on the pond is also 
captured and can be a source for maintaining water levels, but most 
commercial aquaculture ponds cannot be filled with rainfall alone 
because rainfall events are sporadic.
    Pond systems initially require a large supply of water to fill 
ponds and then small amounts of water to regulate the water levels and 
compensate for seepage and evaporation. Generally, ponds are drained 
infrequently. Therefore, after initially filling the ponds, operators 
do not use large volumes of additional water. For those systems that 
rely on well water, water conservation and rainwater capture are 
important management tools to minimize pumping costs.
    Flow-through systems rely on a steady water supply to provide a 
continuous flow of water for production. The water is used to provide 
dissolved oxygen and to flush wastes from the system, which produces a 
high volume of continuous discharge. Most flow-through systems use 
well, spring, or stream water as a source of production water. These 
sources are chosen to provide a constant flow with relatively little 
variation in rate, temperature, or quality.
    Flow-through systems require high volumes of water. Facilities with 
this production system are located where a consistent volume of water 
is available. They are the primary method used to grow salmonid species 
such as rainbow trout. These species require high-quality cold water 
with high levels of dissolved oxygen. Flow though systems are located 
where water is abundant, enabling producers to efficiently produce 
these types of fish.
    Recirculating systems do not require large volumes of water because 
water in these systems is filtered and reused prior to discharge. The 
production water treatment process is designed to minimize fresh water 
requirements, which leads to small-volume, concentrated waste streams, 
which tend to be discharged daily. Solids removal from the 
recirculating production water produces some effluent volume that is 
high in solids, nutrients, and BOD. Facility operators rely on a supply 
of

[[Page 57890]]

pumped groundwater from on-site wells. Most systems add make-up water 
(about 5 to 10 percent of the system volume each day) to dilute the 
production water and to account for evaporation and other losses.
    Net pen systems rely on the water quality of the site at which the 
net pens are located. Open systems, like net pen facilities, can 
implement fewer practices than closed or semi-closed systems to control 
water quality parameters like temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen. 
Net pens and cages rely on tides and currents to provide a continual 
supply of high-quality water to the cultured animals and to flush 
wastes out of the system. The systems may be located along a shore or 
pier or may be anchored and floating offshore or in an embayment. State 
or Tribal siting requirements typically restrict the number of units at 
a given site to ensure sufficient flushing to distribute wastes and 
prevent degradation of the bottom sediments near the net pens.
2. Wastewater Characteristics
    CAAP facilities may discharge a variety of pollutants. For example, 
pollutants commonly found in CAAP effluents are nitrogen, phosphorus, 
organic matter, and solids, many of which are derived either directly 
or indirectly from feeds. Other factors, in addition to feed added, 
affecting the levels or types of pollutants in CAAP facilities may be 
from the source waters such as pollutants picked up in runoff from a 
watershed when surface waters are used as sources. The most significant 
of these pollutants are nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), total 
suspended solids (TSS), and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). CAAP 
facilities also may discharge vitamins and minerals added to feeds for 
proper nutrition, drugs to maintain animal health, and chemicals to 
enhance water quality conditions. Some toxic and non-conventional 
pollutants that may be discharged in small quantities from some types 
of CAAP facilities include: metals (aluminum, barium, boron, copper, 
iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc), and organic chemicals (hexanoic 
acid), and microbiologicals (Aeromonas, fecal streptococcus, total 
coliform).
    Solids are the largest loading of pollutants generated in 
aquaculture. However, most pond systems are managed to capture and hold 
solids within the pond, where the solids naturally degrade. 
Additionally, certain management practices in use at flow-through and 
recirculating systems capture most of the generated solids, which must 
then be properly disposed. While some solids are applied to land, 
solids in effluent discharges from ponds have been estimated. Estimates 
of TSS discharges from catfish farms were 5,170 lbs/acre/year for fry 
and fingerling ponds and 2,418 lbs/acre/year for food fish production 
from ponds that are drained frequently. (Boyd, 2000, DCN 30313). Many 
aquaculture facilities with NPDES permits must control and monitor 
their discharge levels of solids. In Idaho, NPDES permits for flow-
through systems typically specify a maximum average of 0.1 mL/L for 
settleable solids and 5 mg/L for total suspended solids (TSS).
    Nitrogen from CAAP facilities is discharged mainly in the form of 
nitrate, ammonia, and organic nitrogen. Most of this nitrogen, however, 
is in the form of ammonia. Some facilities with ponds and recirculating 
systems also may, at certain times, have high levels of nitrite. 
Organic nitrogen decomposes in aquatic environments into ammonia and 
nitrate. This decomposition consumes oxygen, reducing dissolved oxygen 
levels and can adversely affect aquatic life, particularly when 
nitrogen levels are high enough for the decomposition to occur. 
Phosphorus is discharged from CAAP facilities in both the solid and 
dissolved forms. The dissolved form, however, poses a more immediate 
risk because it is the form that is available to accelerate the growth 
of plants. Although the insoluble form of phosphorus is generally 
unavailable, depending on the environmental conditions, some phosphorus 
may be released slowly from the insoluble form.
    Increased levels of suspended solids and nutrients have very 
different effects on aquatic plants. High levels of suspended solids 
may kill off desirable species, while elevated nutrient levels may 
cause too many plants to grow. In either situation, an ecosystem can be 
changed by increases in either or both of these pollutants.
    Carbon-based organic matter is discharged from CAAP facilities 
primarily from feces and uneaten feed. Elevated levels of organic 
compounds contribute to eutrophication and oxygen depletion. This 
occurs because oxygen is consumed when microorganisms decompose organic 
matter. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is used to measure the amount 
of oxygen consumed by microorganisms when they decompose the organic 
matter in a waterbody. The greater the BOD, the greater the degree of 
pollution and the less oxygen available.
    Some of the other pollutants that may be in CAAP effluents include 
therapeutic drugs, process water treatment chemicals, escaping non-
native animals, and aquatic animal pathogens. There are a few drugs 
that are FDA approved for use in aquatic animal production including 
antibiotics, antifungal agents, and parasiticides. Investigational new 
animal drugs pose an unknown threat to receiving waters because they 
are often untested for environmental impacts.
    A variety of chemicals are used in aquatic animal production 
facilities for the treatment of process water and to maintain water 
quality. Chemicals like salt, agricultural lime, and sodium hydroxide 
are added to maintain system pH and reduce stress. Chemicals such as 
aquatic herbicides are sometimes added to system water to reduce 
aquatic vegetation and algae. When used properly, these chemicals pose 
little risk to the aquatic environment, but improper treatments or 
accidental spillage of chemicals can lead to negative environmental 
impacts. Aquatic animals that are not considered to be native organisms 
may carry exotic diseases, interbreed with other desirable native 
species, and/or destroy the habitat used by the native species. Aquatic 
animal pathogens may also be exported in effluent water from a CAAP 
facility, particularly when outbreaks occur inside the facility. In 
addition, pathogens can enter the facility by other means, such as 
contaminated source water, bird droppings or stormwater runoff. The 
effects and potential risks from pathogens in effluents are not well 
understood.

C. Pollutants of Concern

    EPA reviewed four sources of data to assess the pollutants of 
concern: (1) Data from sampling events at two flow-through facilities; 
(2) data from a sampling event at a recirculating facility; (3) 
discharge monitoring report (DMR) data submitted to EPA from the EPA 
Regional Offices; and (4) permit compliance system (PCS) data from 
EPA's NPDES permit database.
    EPA used two criteria to identify the list of pollutants of 
concern. For the sampling data, the identification criteria were: (1) 
Raw wastewaters with analytes that had three or more reported values 
with an average concentration greater than ten times the nominal 
quantitation limit (NQL); in general, the term ``nominal quantitation 
limit'' describes the smallest quantity of an analyte that can be 
measured reliably with a particular analytical method; and (2) treated 
effluents with analytes that had at least one reported value with an 
average concentration greater than five times the NQL.
    For the PCS and DMR data sets, the original data were first 
associated with

[[Page 57891]]

a system type as defined by NPDES permit information. Measurements for 
parameters in the DMR and PCS data without a value or with a value of 
zero were excluded from the data sets and assumed to be non-detectable. 
All other data were summarized, by system type and analyte, with an 
analysis for the average sampling value, the maximum sampling value, 
the minimum sampling value, and the number of samples taken.
    The PCS and DMR data, made up of mostly State and federal 
facilities and large commercial facilities that have NPDES permits, 
represent the best available information. One limitation of the data is 
the lack of information on pond systems. Generally, the pollutants 
identified in the DMR or PCS database are included in the list of 
pollutants of concern listed below.
    The pollutants of concern that are currently indicated for the CAAP 
industry, based on the available data, include the following: TSS, BOD, 
ammonia, biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, chlorides, 
chlorine, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, nitrite, oil and grease, 
orthophosphate, ozone, pH, settleable solids, sulfate, temperature, 
total dissolved solids, total kjeldahl nitrogen, total organic carbon, 
total phosphorus, total suspended solids, turbidity, and volatile 
residue, metals including aluminum, arsenic, barium, boron, calcium, 
copper, chromium, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, 
selenium, sodium, titanium, vanadium, and zinc, and microbiologicals 
including Aeromonas, fecal streptococcus, fecal coliform, and total 
coliform, organic chemicals including bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, 
hexanoic acid, P-cresol, and phenol, and pesticides including diquat 
and formalin.
1. Methodology for Proposed Selection of Regulated Pollutants
    EPA selects the pollutants for regulation based on the pollutants 
of concern (POCs) identified for each subcategory.
    EPA selected a subset of pollutants for which to establish 
numerical effluent limitations from the list of POCs for each regulated 
subcategory. Generally, a pollutant or pollutant parameter is 
considered a POC if it was detected in the untreated process wastewater 
at 5 times the NQL as described in the previous section in more than 10 
percent of samples.
    Monitoring for all POCs is not necessary to ensure that Aquatic 
Animal Production wastewater pollution is adequately controlled because 
many of the pollutants originate from similar sources and are treated 
with the same technologies and similar mechanisms. Therefore, it may be 
sufficient to monitor for one pollutant as a surrogate or indicator of 
several others.
    Total coliform, fecal coliform, E. coli, fecal streptococci, 
Enterococcus faecium, Mycobacterium marinum, and Aeromonas were sampled 
at two of the sampling event facilities to determine the presence of 
these indicator organisms in CAAP effluents. Sampling points included 
influent water, process water, and treated effluents, and solids 
storage effluents. Most of the data show non-detectable levels of these 
organisms, including influent water. However, some of the indicators, 
including Aeromonas, total coliform, and fecal streptococcus, had 
average measured levels greater than 60,000 bacteria/100 mL in 
effluents from primary settling treatment units. These levels compare 
to total coliform levels of up to 1 billion bacterial counts/100mL in 
untreated domestic waste water. EPA evaluated disinfection and found it 
to be not economically achievable (see section VII). EPA is soliciting 
comments on the presence of these indicator organisms and whether they 
can and should be controlled in effluents from CAAP facilities.
    Metals may be present in trace amounts in CAAP wastewaters for a 
variety of reasons. Metals may be used as feed additives, occur in 
sanitation products, or they may result from deterioration of CAAP 
machinery and equipment. Although metals may serve useful purposes in 
CAAP operations, many metals are toxic to algae, aquatic invertebrates 
and/or fish. EPA observed that treatment systems used within the CAAP 
industry provide substantial reductions of most metals. Because most of 
the metals can be adequately controlled by controlling solids, and EPA 
is proposing control of TSS, EPA is not proposing to regulate metals 
directly.
    Residuals from federally registered pesticides that may be used for 
controlling animal parasites and aquatic plants, may be present in 
wastewaters. Most treatment systems within the CAAP industry are not 
specifically designed and operated to remove pesticides residuals. Many 
of the pesticide residuals, however rapidly bind to sediment particles. 
Pollution control technologies or management practices that control TSS 
are expected also to control most pesticide residuals as well. EPA 
encourages CAAP facility operators to always follow pesticide label 
instructions, minimize the use of any aquatic pesticides by preventing 
aquatic weed problems when possible, maintaining water quality to keep 
algal blooms in check, and using other means, when possible, to control 
aquatic weeds. Therefore, EPA is not proposing to regulate pesticide 
discharges directly from CAAP facilities in today's action.
2. Selection of Proposed Regulated Pollutants for Existing and New 
Direct Dischargers
    EPA is proposing to establish effluent limitations for CAAP 
facilities for total suspended solids (TSS) with an alternative to use 
BMPs to control solids. The specific justifications for the pollutants 
to be regulated for each subcategory are provided below. In general, 
EPA selected the pollutant or pollutants based on its 
representativeness of the characteristics of CAAP wastewaters generated 
in the industry, and its capacity to measure the performance of 
treatment processes that serve as the basis for the proposed effluent 
limitations.
    Total suspended solids (TSS) is a measure of the quantity of solids 
in wastewater. Some CAAP facilities produce wastewaters high in organic 
solids including uneaten feed and fish feces. These solids can cause a 
high oxygen demand (both chemical and biochemical) and are high in 
protein and nitrogen content. Because some nutrients bind to solids, 
and solids often include oxygen-demanding organic material, limiting 
the loading of solids will prevent degradation of surface waters. EPA 
believes that by controlling TSS either through numerical limitations 
or BMPs, BOD and nutrients will also be effectively controlled. 
Parameters whose control through treatment processes or BMPs would lead 
to control of a wide range of pollutants with similar properties are 
generally good indicators of overall wastewater treatment performance.
    EPA is considering including BOD limitations in addition to TSS for 
recirculating systems although limits for BOD are not included in 
today's proposal. Control of TSS alone may not provide effective 
control of BOD in the effluent from recirculating facilities. 
Recirculating facilities are different from flow-through facilities. 
While the pollutants present in the wastewater from both systems are 
largely derived from the solids introduced by the animal feed or feces, 
at flow-through systems the water is flowing through the facility so 
rapidly there is little opportunity for the solids to break down. Thus, 
EPA believes that controlling TSS effectively controls the other 
pollutants present in the wastewater. Recirculating systems,

[[Page 57892]]

however, recirculate 90 to 95 percent of their wastewater and treat the 
water prior to returning it to the production systems. The 
recirculating system's internal water treatment is designed to remove 
solids and ammonia and add oxygen. The water recirculation provides an 
opportunity for other pollutants to become more concentrated and EPA 
believes that dissolved BOD may become concentrated in recirculating 
systems. EPA's sampling data indicate that there are elevated levels of 
BOD in the raw wastewater. The recirculating facility that EPA sampled 
is using biological treatment to treat its wastewater prior to 
discharge and has permit limits to control the BOD in their effluent. 
EPA has not estimated the cost of installing biological treatment at 
recirculating facilities and does not currently have sufficient data to 
determine whether this technology is common at other recirculating 
facilities. EPA will re-evaluate the need to establish BOD limitations 
after the detailed surveys have been returned. It is also likely that 
the Agency will conduct additional sampling at recirculating facilities 
to obtain additional data on the raw wastewater characteristics and the 
performance of wastewater treatment. EPA solicits comment on the 
establishment of BOD limits for the Recirculating Subcategory and data 
on the raw wastewater characteristics as well as any treated effluent 
characteristics. The CAAP Development Document includes potential 
values of such BOD limits.
    Based on the methodology described above, EPA proposes to regulate 
pollutants in each subcategory that will ensure adequate control of a 
range of pollutants from all types of CAAP production systems. EPA is 
proposing to regulate TSS for control of other pollutants present in 
CAAP wastewaters such as metals, nutrients and BOD.
3. Approach to Determining Long Term Averages, Variability Factors, and 
Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards
    This subsection describes the statistical methodology used to 
develop long-term averages, variability factors, and limitations for 
the BPT, BCT, BAT, and NSPS numerical limitations option. The same 
basic procedures apply to the calculation of all effluent limitations 
guidelines and standards for this industry, regardless of whether the 
technology is BPT, BCT, BAT, or NSPS. For simplicity, the following 
discussion refers only to effluent limitations; however, the discussion 
also applies to new source standards.
    The proposed limitations for pollutants for each option, as 
presented in today's notice, are provided as maximum daily discharge 
limitations and maximum monthly average discharge limitations. 
Definitions provided in 40 CFR 122.2 state that the ``maximum daily 
discharge limitation'' is the ``highest allowable `daily discharge' '' 
and the ``average monthly discharge limitation'' is the ``highest 
allowable average of `daily discharges' over a calendar month, 
calculated as the sum of all `daily discharges' measured during a 
calendar month divided by the number of `daily discharges' measured 
during that month.'' Daily discharge is defined as the `discharge of a 
pollutant' measured during a calendar day or any 24-hour period that 
reasonably represents the calendar day for purposes of sampling.''
    EPA calculated the proposed limitations based upon percentiles 
chosen with the intention, on one hand, to accommodate reasonably 
anticipated variability within the control of the facility and, on the 
other hand, to reflect a level of performance consistent with the Clean 
Water Act requirement that these effluent limitations be based on the 
``best'' technologies properly operated and maintained. The daily 
maximum limitation is an estimate of the 99th percentile of the 
distribution of the daily measurements. The maximum monthly average 
limitation is an estimate of the 95th percentile of the distribution of 
the monthly averages of the daily measurements. The percentiles for 
both types of limitations are estimated using the products of long-term 
averages and variability factors.
    In the first of two steps in estimating both types of limitations, 
EPA typically determines an average performance level (the ``long-term 
average'' or LTA) that a facility is capable of achieving with well-
designed and operated model technologies (which reflect the appropriate 
level of control). This long-term average is calculated from the data 
from the facilities using the model technologies for the option. EPA 
expects that all facilities subject to the limitations will design and 
operate their treatment systems to achieve the long-term average 
performance level on a consistent basis because facilities with well-
designed and operated model technologies have demonstrated that this 
can be done. In the second step of developing a limitation, EPA 
determines an allowance for the variation in pollutant concentrations 
when processed through well-designed and operated treatment systems. 
This allowance for variance incorporates all components of variability 
including process and wastewater generation, sample collection, 
shipping, storage, and analytical variability. This allowance is 
incorporated into the limitations through the use of the variability 
factors, which are calculated from the data from the facilities using 
the model technologies. If a facility operates its treatment system to 
meet the relevant long-term average, EPA expects the facility to be 
able to meet the limitations. Variability factors assure that normal 
fluctuations in a facility's treatment are accounted for in the 
limitations. By accounting for these reasonable excursions above the 
long-term average, EPA's use of variability factors results in 
limitations that are generally well above the actual long-term 
averages.
    While the actual monitoring requirements will be determined by the 
permitting authority, the Agency has assumed four samples per month 
(i.e., monthly monitoring) in determining the proposed maximum monthly 
average limitations.
    The long-term averages (LTAs), variability factors, and limitations 
for today's proposal were based upon pollutant concentrations collected 
from two data sources: EPA sampling episodes and discharge monitoring 
reports. The proposed limitations are based upon the modified delta-
lognormal distribution. For the final rule, EPA intends to evaluate its 
appropriateness for these data and possibly consider other 
distributions such as the censored lognormal distribution.
    EPA used a combination of the data from sampling episodes and DMR 
data to calculate the proposed limits. Two sampling episodes provided 
information on flow-through systems and one sampling episode provided 
information on recirculating systems. Additional DMR data from four 
Virginia flow-through CAAP facilities taken over a period of several 
years supplemented the EPA sampling data. The combination of sampling 
data, from locations in Idaho and Michigan, and DMR data from Virginia 
provided EPA with broad geographic and facility size coverage to 
account for some variability when establishing the proposed limits. EPA 
found the limited data to be adequate to establish proposed limits for 
flow through systems. For option 1, flow-through systems, the proposed 
limits were developed based on two EPA sampling episodes each with five 
data points and DMR data from three facilities with the number of data 
points used being 19, 34, and 37. For option 3 for the flow-through 
systems, the proposed limits were developed from

[[Page 57893]]

DMR data from one facility with 16 data points and a sampling episode 
with five data points from one of the facilities with data from 
effluents prior to a polishing pond that also was used for the option 1 
limits. EPA solicits comment on the amount of the data for calculation 
of the proposed limits. While the proposed regulation includes 
limitations for recirculating systems, EPA did not have enough detailed 
data to adequately calculate numeric limits for recirculating systems. 
The preliminary limitations for recirculating systems used the permit 
limits for the one sampling episode facility. EPA intends to collect 
additional data and solicits available data to further evaluate numeric 
limits for both the flow-through systems and recirculating systems.
    EPA also solicits comment on whether autocorrelation is likely to 
be present in weekly measurements of wastewater data from the CAAP 
industry. EPA also solicits data that demonstrate the presence or 
absence of such autocorrelation (see Section XV for guidelines on 
submitting data). When data are said to be positively autocorrelated, 
it means that measurements taken at specific time intervals (such as 1 
week or 2 weeks apart) are related. For example, positive 
autocorrelation would be present in the data if the final effluent 
concentration of TSS was relatively high one week and was likely to 
remain at similar high values the next and possibly succeeding weeks. 
In some industries, measurements in final effluent are likely to be 
similar from one day (or week) to the next because of the consistency 
from day-to-day in the production processes and in final effluent 
discharges due to the hydraulic retention time of wastewater in basins, 
holding tanks, and other components of wastewater treatment systems. To 
determine if autocorrelation exists in the data, a statistical 
evaluation is necessary and will be considered before the final rule. 
To estimate autocorrelation in the data, many measurements for each 
pollutant would be required with values for equally spaced intervals 
over an extended period of time. If such data are available for the 
final rule, EPA intends to perform a statistical evaluation of 
autocorrelation and if necessary, provide any adjustments to the 
limitations. This adjustment would increase the values of the variance 
and monthly variability factor used in calculating the maximum monthly 
limitation. However, the estimate of the long-term average and the 
daily variability factor (and thus the maximum daily limitation) are 
generally only slightly affected by autocorrelation.

D. Approach To Estimating Compliance Costs

    EPA estimated the costs associated with regulatory compliance for 
each of the regulatory options under consideration to determine the 
economic impact of the effluent limitations guidelines and standards on 
the CAAP industry. The economic burden is a function of the estimated 
costs of compliance to achieve the proposed requirements, which may 
include initial fixed and capital costs, as well as annual operating 
and maintenance (O&M) costs. Estimation of these costs typically begins 
by identifying the practices and technologies that can be used as a 
basis to meet particular requirements. EPA estimated compliance costs 
based on the implementation of the practices or technologies to meet 
particular requirements.
    EPA collected data from published research, meetings with industry 
organizations, discussions with the Aquaculture Effluents Task Force of 
the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, a review of USDA's 1998 Census 
of Aquaculture data, existing concentrated aquatic animal production 
NPDES permits, site visits and sampling events at AAP facilities, 
screener surveys, and detailed industry surveys. These data were used 
to define model CAAP facilities for estimating national compliance 
costs. The data were also used to determine estimates of pollutant 
loads, discharge volumes, current best management practices and 
treatment technologies being used, and the applicability of best 
management practices and treatment technologies for the model farms.
    EPA identified candidate best management practices and appropriate 
treatment technologies for different industry segments that were 
incorporated into regulatory options. The regulatory options serve as 
the basis for compliance cost and pollutant loading calculations.
    EPA developed cost equations for estimating capital, one-time 
fixed, and annual O&M costs for the implementation and use of the 
different best management practices and treatment technologies targeted 
under the proposed regulatory options. Cost equations were developed 
from information collected during the site visits, sampling events, 
published information, vendor contacts, and engineering judgment.
    EPA developed and used computer cost models to estimate compliance 
costs and nutrient loads for each regulatory option. EPA used output 
from the cost model to estimate total annualized costs and the economic 
impact of each regulatory option on the CAAP industry. The AAP industry 
was segmented into six subcategories, based on system type, which 
include ponds, flow-through, recirculating, net pens and cages, 
floating and bottom culture, and other systems.
    For each regulatory option, EPA estimated the costs to install, 
operate, and maintain specific techniques and practices. EPA 
traditionally develops either facility-specific or model facility 
costs. Facility-specific compliance costs require detailed process 
information about many, if not all, facilities in the industry. These 
data typically include production, capacity, water use, wastewater 
generation, waste management operations (including design and cost 
data), monitoring data, geographic location, financial conditions, and 
any other industry-specific data that may be required for the analyses. 
EPA then uses each facility's information to estimate the cost of 
installing new pollution controls.
    When facility-specific data are not available, EPA develops 
``model'' facilities to provide a reasonable representation of the 
industry. Model facilities were developed to characterize the AAP 
facilities and reflect the different characteristics found in the 
industry, such as the size or capacity of an operation, type of 
operation, geographic location, and mode of operation. These models 
were based on data gathered during site visits, information provided by 
industry members and their associations, the 1998 Census of Aquaculture 
and AAP screener survey data. Cost and financial impacts were estimated 
for each model facility, and then industry-level costs were calculated 
by multiplying model facility costs by the estimated number of 
facilities within each model category. For the AAP industry, EPA has 
chosen a model-facility approach to estimate compliance costs. For the 
proposal, the model is based on the use of USDA's Census of Aquaculture 
and EPA's AAP screener survey. More detailed information concerning 
facilities in the CAAP industry that will enable EPA to further revise 
the model facility characteristics is not available until after the 
responses are received from the detailed survey. EPA plans to revise 
the current dataset as a result of the detailed survey collection 
efforts and public comments received on this proposal. The development 
of the model facilities, and the process for determining

[[Page 57894]]

estimates of the number of facilities are described in more detail 
below.
    Model facilities were defined for various groupings of CAAP 
operations based on system type, species, feed conversion ratio, size, 
system specific factors, and regional location. EPA evaluated the major 
species produced in the United States, including catfish, trout, 
salmon, hybrid striped bass, sport or game fish, other food finfish, 
shrimp, baitfish, molluscan shellfish, crawfish, and alligator. EPA 
also evaluated the life stage differences among species in the modeling 
analyses to determine the potential influence of life stage on model 
output. EPA assigned an estimated feed conversion ratio for each 
species and system combination in the definition of the model 
facilities. The feed conversion ratios were the primary factor 
affecting loadings in the model facilities. While these FCRs were 
intended to be representative of the facilitiescorresponding to each 
model, EPA recognizes that there is significant variability in FCRs 
across facilities even within the same model facility type.
    For the economic and cost analyses, the facility size groups were 
based on the facility gross revenue for aquatic animal production. 
These ranges represent the facility revenue categories used in the 
USDA's 1998 Aquaculture Census. Model facilities were analyzed for each 
of these revenue ranges. Data from the 1998 Aquaculture Census and 
screener survey were used to estimate the number of facilities, by 
system type, species, and facility size. (See preamble, Section V, CAAP 
Development Document and Economic Analysis for more details) EPA 
developed cost equations to estimate compliance costs for each model 
facility and regulatory option. Costs were calculated for each 
technology or practice that make up each regulatory option for each 
model facility; based on model facility characteristics, including 
system type, species, feed conversion ratio, size, and system specific 
characteristics. The cost estimates generated contain the following 
types of costs: (1) Capital costs--costs for facility upgrades (e.g., 
construction projects), including land costs and other capital costs 
(equipment, labor, design, etc.); (2) one time non capital costs--one-
time costs for items that cannot be amortized (e.g., consulting 
services or training); (3) Annual operating and maintenance (O&M) 
costs--annually recurring costs, which may be positive or negative.
    These costs provide the basis for evaluating the total annualized 
costs, cost effectiveness, and economic impact of the regulatory 
options proposed for the CAAP industry. For each best management 
practice and treatment technology identified in the options selection 
process, EPA developed a cost module to provide input to the model 
facility calculations.
    EPA recognizes that some individual facilities have already 
implemented some treatment technologies or best management practices 
that were described in the proposed options. As noted above, when 
estimating costs for the implementation of the proposed options across 
the entire subcategory nationwide, EPA did not include costs for best 
management practices or treatment technologies already in place.
    EPA estimated the current frequency of existing best management 
practices and treatment technologies at CAAP facilities based on 
screener survey responses, site visits, and sampling visits. This 
occurrence frequency of practices or technologies was used to estimate 
the portion of the operations that would not incur costs to comply with 
the new regulation. For example, based on site visits, EPA believes 
that all catfish operations using levee ponds to practice water level 
management to capture rainfall and minimize overflows (the frequency 
factor is 100 percent); therefore, no costs were included for water 
level management for these operations. Another example is that EPA 
estimated that 80 percent of trout facilities have quiescent zones 
(based on site visits); therefore, only 20 percent of trout facilities 
would incur a cost for installing quiescent zones to comply with the 
proposed TSS limits.
    Applying the frequency factors to the unit component costs reduces 
the effective cost of that component for the model facility. 
Essentially, EPA adjusts the component cost to account for those 
facilities that already have the component in place, and those 
facilities would not have to install and operate a new component as a 
result of the proposed regulation.
    While this approach should provide a reasonable estimate of 
national costs, it has the drawback of underestimating facility level 
costs for facilities that have not already installed a particular 
technology. This may lead to an underestimate of impacted facilities. 
EPA requests comment on this approach.
    EPA estimated frequency factors based on the sources such as those 
listed below (each source was considered along with its limitations):
    (1) EPA site visit information--This information was used to assess 
general practices of AAP operations and how they vary between regions 
and size classes.
    (2) Screener Survey--This information was used to assess general 
practices of AAP operations and how they vary between regions and size 
classes.
    (3) Observations by industry experts--Experts on AAP operations 
were contacted to provide insight into operations and practices, 
especially where data were limited or not publicly available.
    (4) USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS)--The data 
currently available from 1998 Aquaculture Census were used to determine 
the distribution of AAP operations across the regions by size class.
    (5) USDA APHIS National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS)--
This source provides information on catfish production.
    (6) State Compendium: Programs and Regulatory Activities Related to 
AAP--This summary of State regulatory programs were used to estimate 
frequency factors, based on current requirements for treatment 
technologies and best management practices that already apply to CAAP 
facilities in various states.

E. Approach To Estimating Pollutant Reductions

    A model facility approach was designed to represent the industry. 
Using this approach, every facility was classified according to its 
production system. Additionally, pollutant loads, flow characteristics, 
geographic, and culture species information were linked in the model, 
creating an array of facilities by system type, pollutant loading, 
size, location, and species. Technology options and best management 
practices (BMPs) that were used to prevent the discharge of pollutants 
into the environment were also linked in a similar way. In this case, 
variables account for the applicability of the technologies and BMPs, 
given the characteristics of the model facility (e.g. system type, 
size). The user of the model can manipulate these variables to analyze 
different management options. The model was capable of calculating an 
estimated cost of the management option based on capital and land 
costs, adjusted for geographic differences.
    A benefit of the model facility approach was the option of using 
the same model to represent the whole industry, sectors of the 
industry, and even single facilities. No changes in the theoretical 
model were needed to cope with this, only a manipulation of the input 
data. The following information was used in the modeling approach:


[[Page 57895]]


(1) Number of facilities by system type, size, culture species, and 
location
(2) Technologies and BMPs by system type and facility size
(3) National average capital cost, land requirements of technology 
options, and best management practices
(4) Average flow (daily) by system type and facility size
(5) Estimates of annual production
(6) Data associated with feeding practices: feeding in pounds per day, 
pollutant concentrations in feed, percentage of feed not consumed, 
feces to feed ratio, and pollutant concentrations in feces
(7) Pollutants and flow reductions resulting from of technology options 
and best management practices

    Information obtained from a national survey (i.e. the detailed 
survey) and EPA sampling data about the state of the industry will 
constitute the primary input for establishing a baseline scenario. This 
data has not yet been collected and analyzed but will be in the future, 
followed by publication in the Federal Register of a Notice of Data 
Availability for public comment. Specifically, EPA will use information 
from the detailed survey to revise pollutant loadings and costs 
estimated in today's proposal. Because EPA did not have the detailed 
survey data for the proposed rule, EPA used information from a number 
of published sources and unpublished sources such as comments received 
from small entity representatives through the SBREFA process and 
personal communications with industry representatives.
    The model was based on several facts. First, feed offered to the 
AAP species contributes to pollutant discharges in three ways, (1) 
unmetabolized feed consumed by the cultured species is contained in the 
feces, (2) urine contributes to dissolved ammonia, and (3) uneaten 
feed, both dissolved and in particulate forms, increase the pollutant 
load in the culture water. Second, technology options and BMPs have 
typical efficiency rates of removing specific pollutants from water. 
Third, certain technologies are more applicable to certain system types 
and flows than others. Combining these three components of the effluent 
discharge, the predicted pollution reduction can be estimated for every 
system type and size.

VIII. Options Evaluated and Selected for Proposal

A. Introduction

    For the proposed rule, EPA developed regulatory options using the 
technologies and practices discussed previously (see section VII) based 
on preliminary evaluations of the USDA Census of Aquaculture, screener 
survey responses, site visits and sampling episodes. The initial 
regulatory options included the following technology controls and best 
management practices specific to each production system: feed 
management; quiescent zones; settling basins; microscreen filters 
(solids polishing); a best management practices (BMP) plan (based on a 
modified Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach, 
described later); water level management; in-pond treatment; active 
feed monitoring and disinfection.
    Initially, EPA evaluated options for the following production 
systems: ponds, flow-through systems, recirculating systems, and net 
pens. For ponds, EPA considered feed management, in-pond treatment, 
water management, discharge management and the BMP plan based on the 
HACCP approach as Option 1. Option 2 considered removals of 
conventional and nutrient pollutants through the use of vegetated 
ditches, in-pond, or settling basins. EPA assumed the following in 
treating pond volumes: treating the first 5 percent of the volume on 
all ponds with bottom drains; treating the last 20 percent of volume on 
all ponds with any drain if harvest requires seining or rapid discharge 
of pond volume and treating the last 5 percent of the volume on all 
ponds. Option 3 considered removals of additional BOD and nutrients 
through the use of constructed wetlands.
    For flow-through systems, EPA considered feed management, quiescent 
zones, sedimentation basins and primary settling of collected solids 
and the BMP plan based on the HACCP approach as Option 1. Option 2 
considered removals of additional solids through the use of mechanical 
filtration such as microscreen filters, polishing ponds, and chemical 
addition. Option 3 considered the removals of bacterial levels through 
the use of disinfection such as chlorine, ozone, and UV.
    For recirculating systems, Option 1 considered feed management, 
sedimentation basins and primary settling of collected solids, and the 
BMP plan based on the HACCP approach. Options 2 and 3 for recirculating 
systems are the same as those for flow-through systems.
    For net pen systems, Option 1 considered feed management and the 
BMP plan based on the HACCP approach. Option 2 considered reducing 
pollutant loads associated with feeding through the use of an active 
feed monitoring system.
    Based on the evaluation of the effluent concentration literature 
values and research studies, in addition to the estimated costs of 
compliance, EPA did not pursue or further modify some of the initial 
regulatory options. However, EPA did develop a refined list of 
regulatory options and estimated their costs in preparation for 
analysis required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (discussed more 
fully in Section XIII Administrative Requirements). Several of the 
technologies that were considered in this analysis were also shown to 
be impractical or too costly. This is described in greater detail in 
the CAAP Development Document. For example, one regulatory option EPA 
considered early on in its analysis, but did not pursue was based on 
disinfection. The estimated costs for this technology to be applied 
nationally would be cost prohibitive and would have imposed a severe 
adverse economic impact on this industry. Also several technologies to 
reduce pollutant discharges when pond systems are drained are no longer 
being considered. These technologies were estimated to have a high cost 
in proportion to revenues, and also were determined to provide limited 
benefit in reducing wastewater pollutant loadings.
    Other regulatory options were modified from those initially 
considered. Option 1 initially estimated costs for solids removal as 
well as the implementation of a best management plan based on the HACCP 
approach. The HACCP like BMP approach was a more structured process for 
identifying control points to minimize discharges of drugs, chemicals, 
non-native species and pathogens and developing practices to address 
them. In addition, it would have included a training component. After 
evaluating these costs, EPA modified Option 1. Subsequently, Option 1 
for flow-through includes primary settling (quiescent zones and 
settling basins) and BMP plan development for solids control either as 
an alternative or in lieu of numerical limitations for TSS. Option 1 
for recirculating systems is a settling basin and BMP plan development 
for solids control. Option 1 for net pens is feed management and BMP 
plan development for solids control. For the BMP component for solids 
control, EPA estimated costs assuming 40 hours to develop such a plan 
and one hour of manager time and one hour of worker time per month to 
implement. EPA solicits comment on the time and associated cost 
required for BMP plan development as well as on the possibility of EPA 
or the permitting authority developing a model BMP plan which the 
operator would adopt or

[[Page 57896]]

modify, reducing the time and associated cost required.
    Option 2 was the BMP plan addressing drugs, chemicals, pathogens, 
and non-native species which would have been the same for all 
facilities regardless of production system. Based on recommendations in 
the SBREFA Panel Report, EPA further modified Option 2 to include 
reporting requirements for drug and chemical use only. In the BMP 
component for control of these toxic and non-conventional pollutants, 
EPA estimated costs assuming 40 hours to develop and one hour of 
manager time and one hour of worker time per month to implement. EPA 
solicits comment on the time and associated cost required for BMP plan 
development as well as on the possibility of EPA or the permitting 
authority developing a model BMP plan which the operator would adopt or 
modify, reducing the time and associated cost required. Option 3 
technology for flow-through and recirculating systems is solids 
polishing (i.e., microscreen filters) and for net pens is active feed 
monitoring. The options are additive in nature, and represent 
increasing stringency, thus, Option 2 limitations would be based on and 
incorporate primary settling (Option 1) in addition to the limitations 
based on BMP considerations under Option 2. Because some existing flow-
through facilities that produce between 20,000 and 100,000 pounds per 
year are currently meeting NPDES requirements to report and implement a 
BMP plan for the control of solids, EPA solicits comment on the 
feasibility of requiring other facilities within this production range, 
and new facilities, to meet the same requirements.
    EPA is not proposing to establish phosphorus limits, but will 
continue to evaluate the need for separate limitations for phosphorus. 
The proposed TSS limitations should also ensure effective removal of 
suspended or particulate phosphorus. EPA notes that a number of NPDES 
permits issued to CAAP facilities do include phosphorus limits 
presumably to comply with water quality standards. EPA solicits comment 
on how the use of low phosphorus feeds or wastewater treatment 
practices (including the actual practices used) meet current phosphorus 
limits set by the permitting authority. EPA may consider establishing 
separate phosphorus limits based on treatment of the wastewater to 
precipitate dissolved phosphorus to achieve effective reduction of 
phosphorus in the wastewater discharge from CAAP facilities and 
solicits comment on the need to establish separate limits for 
phosphorus and the costs associated with phosphorus treatment. EPA is 
particularly interested in data documenting the costs of achieving such 
limits, any increased sludge production as a result of treating to 
remove phosphorus from wastewater and monitoring data including the 
method used to analyze the phosphorus in the collected samples. The 
Development Document includes potential values of such phosphorus 
limits.
    Discussion of the regulatory options by type of operation (i.e., 
subcategory) is contained below.

B. Flow-Through Systems

1. BPT
    After considering the technology options described in Section VII, 
and in light of the factors specified in section 304(b)(1)(B) of the 
CWA, EPA is proposing: (1) No nationally-applicable effluent 
limitations guidelines for facilities producing less than 100,000 
pounds per year, (2) effluent limitations based on Option 1 for 
facilities producing 100,000 pounds per year up to 475,000 pounds per 
year, and (3) effluent limitations based on Option 3 for facilities 
producing 475,000 pounds per year or more.
    For small flow-through facilities (facilities that produce between 
20,000 and 100,000 pounds of cold water species annually), the proposed 
rule would not establish any national requirements for existing flow-
through facilities for the reasons described in Section V.B.
    As described in Section IX, EPA's economic analysis is based on the 
best existing data available to EPA, but the Agency will be collecting 
financial data through the detailed survey, which should provide a 
better basis for determining economic achievability. In addition, EPA 
is soliciting information concerning the costs for developing and 
implementing the BMP plan described in today's proposed regulation. EPA 
will reconsider both the BMP costs and the economic achievability.
    For facilities producing 100,000 pounds per year to 475,000 pounds 
per year, the proposed rule would establish BPT limits based on primary 
settling including quiescent zones and settling basins and/or BMP 
development and implementation (Option 1) for existing flow-through 
facilities. EPA considered the revenue classifications in the Census of 
Aquaculture (National 1-6) to estimate economic impacts. EPA then 
converted the revenue classifications into production categories using 
prices for several different species. As EPA continued its impact 
analysis, EPA determined that the 100,000 pounds per year threshold, 
mainly driven by trout production (because of the number of small 
facilities producing trout) would be an appropriate threshold because 
the costs of compliance for the facilities producing above the 
threshold would be affordable while facilities producing below this 
threshold would experience disproportionate economic impacts.
    For facilities producing 475,000 pounds per year or more, the 
proposed rule would establish limits based on solids polishing and/or a 
requirement to develop and implement a BMP plan (Option 3). EPA 
considered the impacts of such proposal requirements on these larger 
facilities and, based on the results, determined that the 475,000 
pounds per year would be an appropriate threshold for which the costs 
of compliance would remain economically achievable.
    EPA is also proposing to establish limits for TSS at large flow-
through facilities discharged from separate off-line treatment systems 
(i.e. physically separate and discharging from an outfall distinct from 
the main flow of the system) based on Option 3 technology performance. 
EPA would apply the percent reduction achieved by a microscreen filter 
used as a solids polishing treatment at the recirculating system that 
EPA sampled. The microscreen performance measured by EPA's sampling 
data indicates that 20 percent reduction in the TSS concentration was 
achieved with this technology by this facility. EPA has applied that 
percent reduction to the long-term average representing treatment 
through a separate off-line settling basin and applied the variability 
factors developed from the off-line settling basin data to obtain the 
monthly average and daily maximum values. EPA believes this transfer of 
performance from recirculating system technology to flow-through system 
discharges would be appropriate because the long term average 
concentrations measured by EPA at both the separate off-line treatment 
at a flow-through system and the influent to microscreen filtration at 
a recirculating system are nearly identical (58.1 mg/L from the flow-
through system compared to 58.3 mg/L from the recirculating system).
    Based on preliminary analysis, these options appear to be 
technically available, economically achievable and cost-reasonable for 
the existing flow-through facilities at these size thresholds. The BPT 
cost comparison test demonstrates, as described in Section IX, that the 
cost per pound

[[Page 57897]]

removed is $0.23/lb using only the removal loadings of the pollutant 
BOD. (Also, see discussion of cost as a percent of revenues in section 
IX.) EPA did not select more stringent options (Options 2 or 3) for 
facilities between 100,000 and 475,000 pounds production per year 
because, EPA determined that the cost impacts would not be reasonable 
and affordable based on the number of facilities (9 out of 31 
commercial facilities) estimated to experience compliance costs greater 
than 10% of revenues from aquaculture sales. As discussed in more 
detail in Section XI, the proposed option has acceptable non-water 
quality environmental impacts. As described earlier in Section VII.C.3, 
the specific effluent limitations guidelines proposed in this rule were 
derived based on a statistical analysis of the performance of primary 
settling and solids polishing at flow-through facilities that are 
sufficiently similar to all of the flow-through facilities that would 
be subject to the effluent limitations guidelines. Based on the 
screener survey data, EPA estimates that primary settling and solids 
polishing are currently used at 91 out of 102 (89%) and 5 out of 102 
(5%), of all flow-through CAAP facilities, respectively.
    EPA estimates that the proposed effluent limitations guidelines 
would cause 8 out of 181 regulated flow-through facilities (4%) to 
experience compliance costs greater than or equal to 5% of their 
revenues.
    As noted previously, the options selected for flow-through systems 
include requirements to develop and implement a best management 
practices (BMP) plan, as well as some reporting requirements. Option 1 
includes a requirement for a BMP plan for solids control. As noted 
previously, control of total suspended solids also controls non-
conventional and toxic pollutants that EPA believes bind with such 
solids. Option 2 includes a requirement for a BMP plan addressing non-
conventional and toxic pollutants, specifically, discharges of certain 
drugs, chemicals, and solids or aquatic animals that carry pathogens, 
as well as escapes of non-native aquatic animals. Option 2 also 
includes some reporting requirements on the use of certain drugs and 
chemicals. For flow-through facilities producing between 100,000 pounds 
per year and 475,000 pounds per year, EPA is proposing the Option 1 BMP 
plan requirements (solids control). For flow-through facilities 
producing more than 475,000 pounds per year, EPA proposes limitations 
based on Option 3, which includes the Option 2 BMP plan requirements 
for non-conventional and toxic pollutants. EPA proposes and solicits 
comment on the use of the BMP plan, either in lieu of or as an 
alternative to the numerical limitations in today's proposal. EPA also 
solicits comments on whether the BMP plan for solids control only would 
be sufficient to assure the pollutant reductions that EPA demonstrates 
to be economically achievable. Many facilities already have developed 
and implemented a BMP plan to control solids through feed management, 
by removing solids regularly, and by treating solids from waste 
handling operations. Identification and proper implementation of such a 
BMP plan may be sufficient in and of itself to achieve the numeric 
limitations EPA proposes today.
    For the most part, the proposed BMP plan requirements would prevent 
or minimize the discharge of pollutants, but also represent 
economically sound aquatic animal production practices. For flow-
through facilities producing 100,000 pounds per year to 475,000 pounds 
per year, the proposed BMP plan requirements would ensure supplemental 
controls to prevent or minimize the discharge of solids. Proposed 
section 451.15(a) would impose a requirement related to management of 
removed solids and excess feed. Specifically, operators would need to 
minimize the re-introduction of solids removed through the treatment of 
the water supply and prevent excess feed from entering the aquatic 
animal production system. Solids are removed from the water supply to 
ensure high quality water supply for aquatic animal production. Given 
the effort to remove solids from that water, re-introduction of those 
solids would increase the amount of solids discharges. Similarly, 
operators should prevent the introduction of excessive feed into the 
production system; uneaten feed increases the total amount of solids 
discharged. Operators have an economic incentive to optimize feed rates 
(e.g., to ensure maximum animal growth at minimum costs), but in some 
cases optimal feed rates from the operator's perspective may not be 
optimal for water quality. To optimize water quality (though not 
necessarily production), operators and laborers should observe feeding 
when food is applied to the system and stop adding feed when the 
animals are no longer eating. In cases where water quality and 
production goals are in conflict, operators must find a reasonable 
balance between the two. The proposed requirements in section 
451.15(a)(1) for management of removed solids and excess feed and 
451.15 (b)(1) & (3) for structural maintenance and disposal of 
biological wastes, respectively, also prevent or reduce unnecessary and 
avoidable solids discharges. Section 451.15(d) would assure that 
personnel who implement the BMP, in fact, understand it.
    For flow-through facilities producing more than 475,000 pounds per 
year, the proposal would require additional BMP implementation to avoid 
inadvertent spillage or release of drugs and chemicals stored at the 
facility. Similar to the storage management practices required for 
solids, proposed section 451.15(b)(2) would require sound management of 
drugs and chemicals stored on-site in order to avoid accidental 
spillage or release into the system. EPA proposes this requirement only 
for the largest flow-through facilities because the Agency anticipates 
that only the largest facilities have a need to maintain significant 
volumes of drugs and chemicals on-site. The more important aspect of 
drugs and chemicals storage would be that personnel working at the site 
also would need to be familiar with proper storage practices.
    EPA also proposes reporting requirements related to uses of certain 
drugs and chemicals. Proposed section 451.3 (a) through (c) would only 
apply to facilities producing more than 475,000 pounds per year because 
drug and chemical discharges from such large facilities are more likely 
to cause an adverse impact on receiving waters. EPA currently lacks 
data on the total amount of unapproved drugs and chemicals released to 
the environment from aquatic animal production facilities. For this 
reason, EPA proposes reporting to ensure that permitting authorities 
have the necessary information to impose any controls that may be 
necessary to reduce or avoid adverse impacts to receiving waters on a 
case-by-case basis using best professional judgment.
    EPA proposes to define ``chemical'' and ``drug'' at section 451.2 
(c) and (e), respectively, to include only those chemicals and drugs 
that would be discharged and that have not been ``approved'' as safe 
and effective. The proposed definition of drug, for example, would not 
include injected drugs. As such, the proposal would only apply to 
residual drugs and chemicals, e.g., after a drug or chemical no longer 
serves its intended purpose. EPA likewise proposes reporting only for 
drugs and chemicals about which little is known. Reporting would not be 
required for EPA registered pesticides and drugs approved by the Food 
and Drug Administration for aquatic animal

[[Page 57898]]

uses or water quality maintenance/restoration chemicals used according 
to label instructions. Reporting would only be required for unapproved 
drugs and/or drugs prescribed by a veterinarian for extra-label uses. 
Reporting would also be required for extra-label uses of chemicals. 
Because drugs that have not been evaluated by FDA may be discharged in 
facility effluents, reporting information should enable informed 
regulatory responses when environmental problems do occur. Under the 
proposal, reports would be both oral and written, according to the use 
that EPA anticipates for regulatory monitoring of those reports. Given 
the intermittent and variable use of drugs and chemicals and given the 
relative absence of data on such uses, EPA does not propose numeric 
effluent limits, but rather only reporting requirements, for the drugs 
and chemicals that would be regulated under today's proposal.
    EPA anticipates that the BMP requirements would be implemented 
through permits and, in many cases, standardized BMP provisions may be 
applicable to all similarly sized flow-through facilities. EPA does not 
anticipate that development or implementation of the proposed BMP 
requirements would significantly interfere with a well-managed 
operation. The proposed requirements, however, would establish a base 
level of sound management practices that are not only economically 
reasonable, but also environmentally protective.
2. BAT
    EPA proposes to establish BAT at a level equal to BPT (i.e., Option 
1 for existing facilities that produce between 100,000 and 475,000 
pounds per year and Option 3 for existing facilities that produce more 
than 475,000 pounds per year). For this subcategory, there are no 
available technologies economically achievable that would achieve more 
stringent effluent limitations than those considered for BPT. Because 
of the nature of the wastewater and wastes generated from CAAP 
facilities, advanced treatment technologies or practices to remove 
additional solids (e.g., smaller particle sizes) in TSS that would be 
affordable do not exist beyond those already considered.
3. BCT
    Since the BCT cost test did not support a more stringent technology 
basis that was economically achievable for BCT, EPA proposes to 
regulate total suspended solids (TSS) using the same technology basis 
as BPT. For more details about the BCT cost test, see Section IX.G.
4. NSPS
    After considering all of the technology options described in 
Section VII, and in light of the factors specified in sections 306 of 
the CWA, EPA proposes standards of performance for new sources equal to 
BPT, BCT, and BAT because no more stringent technologies are available 
for NSPS without causing a barrier to entry for new facilities. Because 
of the nature of the wastewater and wastes generated from CAAP 
facilities, advanced treatment technologies or practices to remove 
additional solids (e.g., smaller particle sizes) in TSS that would be 
affordable do not exist beyond those already considered.
    EPA believes that the proposed NSPS equal to BAT would not present 
a significant barrier to entry. EPA believes that overall impacts from 
the proposed effluent limitations guidelines on new sources would not 
be any more severe than those on existing sources because the costs 
faced by new sources generally should be the same as or lower than 
those faced by existing sources. It is generally less expensive to 
incorporate pollution control equipment into the design at a new plant 
than it would be to retrofit the same pollution control equipment in an 
existing plant. At a new plant, no demolition is required and space 
constraints (which can add to retrofitting costs if specifically 
designed equipment must be ordered) may be less of an issue.
    Although EPA is not proposing performance for new sources for 
smaller cold water facilities (i.e., those producing between 20,000 and 
100,000 pounds per year ), EPA invites comment on whether downward 
adjustments to the proposed thresholds would create a barrier to entry 
for new sources. As described in the BPT discussion, EPA intends to 
reevaluate the costs and potential barrier to entry for small new 
sources and solicits comments on the basis for costs estimated for new 
sources.
    EPA solicits comments on its proposed finding that the proposed 
thresholds would be appropriate and applicable to this subcategory.
5. No Regulation for Flow-Through Systems
    EPA is also considering whether it should establish national 
requirements for flow-through systems at all. If EPA were to decide not 
to promulgate national effluent guidelines for flow-through systems, it 
would likely be based on a combination of several factors. First, EPA 
may conclude that the baseline pollutant discharges from flow-through 
systems are not large enough to warrant national regulations. In 
addition, EPA may conclude that due to significant regional and 
facility-specific variations, it is more effective to continue to rely 
on the BPJ of permit writers to establish appropriate limitations. 
Finally, EPA may conclude that available technologies are either not 
affordable or provide little reduction in pollutant discharges relative 
to existing practice. EPA solicits comments on not regulating flow-
through systems and encourages commenters to support such arguments 
with information and data, particularly data on the loadings, 
efficiency of existing practices including best management practices 
and treatment technologies and the costs associated with pollutant 
removals.
    In addition, EPA is soliciting comment specifically on an 
alternative approach to the reporting and BMP requirements for the 
control of drugs and chemicals. Under this alternative, EPA would issue 
BMP guidance and recommendations in lieu of establishing the reporting 
requirements and BMP requirements for these pollutants (i.e., Option 
2). Both permit writers and CAAP facilities could use this guidance as 
a reference source when evaluating various control practices to 
minimize the discharge of pollutants. The Agency solicits comments on 
the effectiveness of BMPs related to the use of drugs and chemicals or 
practices that would minimize the need to use drugs and chemicals such 
as health management plans (i.e., routine observations of fish 
behavior, maintaining water quality) and the extent to which facilities 
are already implementing BMPs. This approach could also be used to 
address concerns related to pathogens and non-native species. The 
Agency also solicits comments on practices used including record 
keeping and contingency plans (i.e., preventive measures) to minimize 
escapes and discharges of pathogenic bacteria (e.g., through proper 
management of aquatic animal mortalities).

C. Recirculating Systems

1. BPT
    After considering all of the technology options described above, 
and in light of the factors specified in section 304(b)(1)(B) of the 
CWA, EPA is proposing to establish BPT limits on the basis of solids 
polishing (i.e., additional solids removal) including a settling basin 
and the development of a BMP plan, and general reporting requirements 
for drugs and chemical use (Option 3) for existing recirculating 
facilities that produce more than

[[Page 57899]]

100,000 pounds per year. This option is technically available for 
recirculating systems at this size threshold. Based on analysis to 
date, the BPT cost comparison test indicates, as described in Section 
IX, that the cost per pound removed is $0.07/lb using the removal 
loadings of the pollutant TSS. Therefore, based on the analysis to date 
EPA believes this option is economically achievable and cost 
reasonable. This option, the most stringent of the options considered, 
was chosen because no facilities experienced compliance costs greater 
than 5 percent of revenues. Further, this option has acceptable non-
water quality environmental impacts.
    As described earlier in Section VII.C.3, the specific effluent 
limitations guidelines proposed in this rule were derived based on a 
statistical analysis of the performance of solids polishing at existing 
recirculating facilities that are sufficiently similar to all of the 
recirculating facilities that would be subject to the effluent 
limitations guidelines. Solids polishing is currently used at 33 
percent of recirculating system production facilities, and these 
technologies are widely used in other industries such as feedlots, food 
processing, and POTWs. BPT does not mean that the technology needs to 
be in routine use, but rather that the technology must be available at 
a cost and at a time that the Administrator determines to be 
reasonable, and that the technology has been adequately demonstrated if 
not routinely applied.
    EPA is not proposing to establish effluent limitations guidelines 
for existing recirculating facilities that produce less than 100,000 
pounds of aquatic animals per year because most recirculating systems 
produce warm water species which would not meet the CAAPF point source 
definition of 100,000 pounds per year and although EPA identified one 
facility producing a cold water species between 20,000 pounds per year 
and 100,000 pounds per year, the facility would experience significant 
cost impacts even from Option 1. EPA also evaluated an option that 
would apply to small recirculating facilities based on the development 
and implementation of a BMP plan to control solids as described in 
today's proposed regulation. EPA assumed 40 hours would be necessary to 
develop this plan with an additional requirement to implement the plan 
of two hours per month split evenly between labor and management time. 
The cold-water facility described above would experience compliance 
costs greater than 3% of its revenue for this BMP only option. Small 
facilities that meet the definition of a CAAPF are subject to existing 
NPDES regulations, and would be subject to permit limits based on the 
permit writer's ``best professional judgment'' if the facility is a 
``concentrated aquatic animal production facility'' under the 
regulations. EPA invites comment on application of the proposed 
applicability threshold and its estimations of cost reasonableness for 
recirculating systems.
    As described in Section IX, EPA's economic analysis is based on the 
best existing data available to EPA, but we will be collecting 
financial data through our detailed survey which should provide a 
better basis for determining economic achievability. In addition, EPA 
is soliciting information concerning the costs for developing and 
implementing the BMP plan described in today's proposed regulation. EPA 
will reconsider both the BMP costs and the economic achievability. 
Therefore, EPA solicits comment on a requirement for small 
recirculating facilities to develop and implement a BMP plan based on 
the solids control practices included in today's proposal.
    As noted previously, the options selected for recirculating systems 
include requirements to develop and implement a best management 
practices (BMP) plan, as well as some reporting requirements, for 
solids control (including control of associated non-conventional and 
toxic pollutants that EPA believes bind with such solids) and for other 
non-conventional and toxic pollutants, specifically, discharges of 
certain drugs and chemicals. For recirculating system facilities above 
the applicability threshold, EPA is proposing BMPs under both Options 1 
and 2. For discussion of EPA's rationale for BMPs and reporting, see 
the discussion of BMPs in the BPT section regarding flow-through 
systems. Recirculating systems are expected to have much better 
opportunities to control such discharges. Likewise, recirculating 
systems have better opportunities to control the discharge of excess 
feeds.
2. BAT
    EPA proposes to establish BAT equal to BPT for this subcategory. 
For this subcategory, there are no available technologies economically 
achievable that can achieve more stringent effluent limitations than 
those considered for BPT. Because of the nature of the wastewater and 
wastes generated from CAAP facilities, advanced treatment technologies 
or practices to remove additional solids (e.g., smaller particle sizes) 
in TSS that would be affordable do not exist beyond those already 
considered.
    EPA believes that the selected option for the recirculating system 
subcategory is cost reasonable and ``economically achievable'' because 
EPA estimates that the proposed effluent limitations guidelines would 
cause no facilities to experience compliance costs greater than or 
equal to 5% of their annual revenues. Finally, EPA has determined that 
the selected option has acceptable non-water quality environmental 
impacts.
3. BCT
    EPA proposes to regulate BCT equal to BPT because EPA did not 
identify any more stringent technologies beyond those considered. For 
more details about the BCT cost test, see Section IX.G.
4. NSPS
    After considering all of the technology options described above, 
and in light of the factors specified in sections 306 of the CWA, EPA 
proposes standards of performance for new sources equal to BAT (Option 
3). For this subcategory, there are no current technologies that are 
more stringent than those considered for BPT or BAT other than adding 
disinfection. Because of the nature of the wastewater and wastes 
generated from CAAP facilities, advanced treatment technologies or 
practices to remove additional solids (e.g., smaller particle sizes) in 
TSS that would be affordable do not exist beyond those already 
considered.
    EPA believes that the proposed NSPS would not present a barrier to 
entry. EPA believes that overall impacts from the proposed effluent 
limitations guidelines on new sources would not be any more severe than 
those on existing sources because the costs faced by new sources 
generally should be the same as or lower than those faced by existing 
sources. It is generally less expensive to incorporate pollution 
control equipment into the design at a new plant than it is to retrofit 
the same pollution control equipment in an existing plant. At a new 
source, no demolition is required and space constraints (which can add 
to retrofitting costs if specifically designed equipment must be 
ordered) may be less of an issue.
    Although EPA is not proposing new source performance standards for 
smaller facilities (i.e., that produce between 20,000 and 100,000 
pounds per year), EPA invites comment on whether downward adjustments 
to the proposed production thresholds would create a barrier to entry 
for new sources. As described in the BPT discussion, EPA intends to 
evaluate the costs and

[[Page 57900]]

potential barrier to entry for small new sources and solicits comments 
on the basis for the costs estimated for new sources.
    EPA solicits comments on its proposed finding that the proposed 
threshold is appropriate and applicable to this subcategory.
5. No Regulation for Recirculating Systems
    EPA is also considering whether it should establish national 
requirements for recirculating systems at all. If EPA were to decide 
not to promulgate national effluent guidelines for recirculating 
systems, it would likely be based on several factors. EPA may conclude 
that due to significant regional and facility-specific variations, it 
is more effective to continue to rely on the BPJ of permit writers to 
establish appropriate limitations. In addition, EPA may conclude that 
available technologies are either not affordable or provide little 
reduction in pollutant discharges relative to existing practice. EPA 
solicits comments on not regulating recirculating systems and 
encourages commenters to support such arguments with information and 
data, particularly data on the loadings, efficiency of existing 
practices including best management practices and treatment 
technologies and the costs associated with pollutant removals.
    In addition, EPA is soliciting comment specifically on an 
alternative approach to the reporting and BMP requirements for the 
control of drugs and chemicals. Under this alternative, EPA would issue 
BMP guidance and recommendations in lieu of establishing the reporting 
requirements and BMP requirements for these pollutants (i.e., Option 
2). Both permit writers and CAAP facilities could use this guidance as 
a reference source when evaluating various control practices to 
minimize the discharge of pollutants. The Agency solicits comments on 
the effectiveness of BMPs related to the use of drugs and chemicals or 
practices that would minimize the need to use drugs and chemicals such 
as health management plans (i.e., routine observations of fish 
behavior, maintaining water quality) and the extent to which facilities 
are already implementing BMPs. This approach could also be used to 
address concerns related to pathogens and non-native species. The 
Agency also solicits comments on practices used including record 
keeping and contingency plans (i.e., preventive measures) to minimize 
escapes and discharges of pathogenic bacteria (e.g., through proper 
management of aquatic animal mortalities).

D. Net Pen Systems

1. BPT
    After considering all of the technology options described above, 
and in light of the factors specified in section 304(b)(1)(B) of the 
CWA, EPA is proposing to establish BPT limits on the basis of active 
feed monitoring (i.e., additional solids removal) and the development 
of a BMP plan, and general reporting requirements for use of certain 
drugs and chemicals (Option 3) for facilities that produce more than 
100,000 pounds per year as the technology basis for the effluent 
limitations guidelines for existing sources in the proposed rule. This 
option is technically available for net pen systems at this size 
threshold. The BPT cost comparison test indicates, as described in 
section IX, that the cost per pound removed is $0.04/lb using the 
removal loadings of the pollutant, BOD. Based on currently available 
data, EPA believes this option is cost reasonable and economically 
achievable. EPA selected this option, the most stringent of the options 
considered, because no facilities are estimated to experience 
compliance costs greater than or equal to 5% of annual revenues.
    As discussed in more detail below, EPA believes that this option is 
cost reasonable and ``economically achievable'' and represents the best 
performance that is economically achievable for facilities producing 
above the 100,000 pound threshold.
    As discussed in more detail below, EPA is not proposing to 
establish effluent limitations guidelines for existing facilities that 
produce less than 100,000 pounds of aquatic animals per year because 
EPA has not identified any facilities below the 100,000 pounds per year 
threshold. If any facilities exist between the 20,000 and 100,000 
pounds per year threshold, the facilities would be subject to existing 
NPDES regulations, and would be subject to permit limits based on the 
permit writer's ``best professional judgment'' if the facility is a 
``concentrated aquatic animal production facility'' under the 
regulations. EPA invites comment on the application of the proposed 
production threshold and its estimation of cost reasonableness for net 
pen systems.
    Further, this option (including not applying nationally applicable 
active feed monitoring requirements to smaller facilities) has 
acceptable non-water quality environmental impacts. Active feed 
monitoring, may also be a good business practice and it is already used 
by some facilities to reduce feed costs.
    As noted previously, the options selected for net pen systems 
include requirements to develop and implement a best management 
practices (BMP) plan for solids control (focused primarily on feed 
management) and for other non-conventional and toxic pollutants, 
specifically, discharges of certain drugs and chemicals. For net pen 
facilities above the applicability threshold, EPA is proposing BMPs 
under both Options 1 and 2. For discussion of EPA's rationale for BMPs 
and reporting, see the discussion of BMPs in the BPT section regarding 
flow-through systems. Net pen systems do not present the same 
opportunities for solids control as do flow-through systems or 
recirculating systems. Therefore, EPA proposes active feed monitoring 
as the most effective and cost reasonable technology for solids 
control.
2. BAT
    EPA proposes to establish BAT equal to BPT. EPA has determined that 
there are no more stringent options representing BAT that are 
available.
3. BCT
    EPA proposes to regulate BCT equal to BPT because EPA did not 
identify any more stringent technologies beyond those considered. For 
more details about the BCT cost test, see Section IX.G.
4. NSPS
    After considering all of the technology options described above, 
and in light of the factors specified in sections 306 of the CWA, EPA 
proposes standards of performance for new sources equal to BAT.
    EPA believes that the proposed NSPS would not present a barrier to 
entry. EPA believes that overall impacts from the proposed effluent 
limitations guidelines on new source net pens would not be any more 
severe than those on existing net pens. The costs faced by new sources 
generally should be the same as or lower than those faced by existing 
sources. It would generally be less expensive to incorporate pollution 
control equipment into the design at a new plant than it would be to 
retrofit the same pollution control equipment in an existing plant. At 
a new source, no demolition would be required and space constraints 
(which can add to retrofitting costs if specifically designed equipment 
must be ordered) may be less of an issue.
    Although EPA is not proposing performance for new sources for 
smaller cold water facilities (i.e., those producing between 20,000 and 
100,000 pounds per year ), EPA invites comment on whether downward 
adjustments to

[[Page 57901]]

the proposed thresholds would create a barrier to entry for new 
sources.
    EPA solicits comments on its proposed finding that the proposed 
threshold is appropriate and applicable to this subcategory.
5. No Regulation for Net Pen Systems
    EPA is also considering whether it should establish national 
requirements for net pen systems at all. If EPA were to decide not to 
promulgate national effluent guidelines for net pen systems, it would 
likely be based on a combination of several factors. First, EPA may 
conclude that the baseline pollutant discharges from net pen systems 
are not large enough to warrant national regulations. In addition, EPA 
may conclude that due to significant regional and facility-specific 
variations, it is more effective to continue to rely on the BPJ of 
permit writers to establish appropriate limitations. Finally, EPA may 
conclude that available technologies are either not affordable or 
provide little reduction in pollutant discharges relative to existing 
practice. EPA solicits comments on not regulating net pen systems and 
encourages commenters to support such arguments with information and 
data, particularly data on the loadings, efficiency of existing 
practices including best management practices and treatment 
technologies and the costs associated with pollutant removals.
    In addition, EPA is soliciting comment specifically on an 
alternative approach to the reporting and BMP requirements for the 
control of drugs and chemicals. Under this alternative, EPA would issue 
BMP guidance and recommendations in lieu of establishing the reporting 
requirements and BMP requirements for these pollutants (i.e., Option 
2). Both permit writers and CAAP facilities could use this guidance as 
a reference source when evaluating various control practices to 
minimize the discharge of pollutants. The Agency solicits comments on 
the effectiveness of BMPs related to the use of drugs and chemicals or 
practices that would minimize the need to use drugs and chemicals such 
as health management plans (i.e., routine observations of fish 
behavior, maintaining water quality) and the extent to which facilities 
are already implementing BMPs. This approach could also be used to 
address concerns related to pathogens and non-native species. The 
Agency also solicits comments on practices used including record 
keeping and contingency plans (i.e., preventive measures) to minimize 
escapes and discharges of pathogenic bacteria (e.g., through proper 
management of aquatic animal mortalities).

E. Ponds

    As described above, EPA initially developed three technology 
options for pond facilities to control the discharge of pollutants. 
Initial Option 1 included practices to minimize the discharge of solids 
when ponds are drained and to minimize the frequency of overflows due 
to storm events. Initial Option 1 also included the BMP practices to 
minimize feed, reduce the need to use drugs and chemicals and prevent 
the escape of non-native species. Initial Option 2 required more 
extensive solids control with the establishment of a TSS limit that 
would be achieved either with the application of a vegetated ditch or a 
sedimentation pond to capture a portion of the pond drainage. Initial 
Option 3 would have required more treatment to control BOD and 
nutrients and was based on the application of constructed wetlands 
through which the pond drainage would be treated. EPA estimated the 
costs and pollutant reductions that could be expected to occur with 
each of these options and presented them to the Small Business Advocacy 
Review (SBAR) Panel, which is discussed in greater detail in Section 
XIII. The SBAR Panel sought feedback on these options, their costs and 
pollutant loading reductions from several Small Entity Representatives 
(SERs) who were asked to provide comments from their perspective as 
small businesses engaged in aquatic animal production in ponds.
    EPA's preliminary estimates of costs for even Initial Option 1, 
indicated that it would impose significant financial hardship on many 
of the facilities. As noted previously, EPA estimated costs, for 
example, of BMP plans assuming 40 hours for development and 2 hours per 
month for implementation. The SERs noted that many of the structural 
best management practices that EPA was considering as part of Inital 
Option 1 were either inappropriate for their facilities or would be 
even more costly than EPA estimated. SERs also noted that depending on 
the configuration of the facility, it might not be possible to route 
all discharges through a single settling basin as considered under 
Initial Option 2. If several basins were needed, costs and land 
requirements could become cost prohibitive. Finally, the industry 
representatives argued that EPA's estimated baseline pollutant loadings 
discharged from pond systems grossly overstated the pollutant loads 
from ponds.
    As a result of the feedback received from all of these sources, EPA 
reconsidered technologies appropriate for pond systems and the minimal 
impact these technologies would have in reducing pollutant discharges. 
Most important, however, EPA anticipates that only a small number of 
ponds have discharges that meet the NPDES definitions for CAAP 
facilities. Therefore, EPA revised the options, accounting for the 
comments received on the preliminary analysis. The revised options 
assume that all existing pond facilities currently practice good 
management and therefore minimize the discharge of solids when draining 
ponds. This assumption regarding the water quality impacts of not 
regulating ponds is based on information provided from the industry and 
from representatives in EPA regional offices. Ponds are capable of 
assimilating the pollutants that are added to the system, thus settling 
basins generally would not be necessary for pond-based facilities where 
the pond itself can provide adequate solids settling. EPA estimated 
that 108 pond facilities met the CAAP facility definition and that 
these facilities represented 27% of the total regulated CAAP facilities 
and produce 73% of the production for the regulated CAAP facilities. 
The pollutant discharges from the pond facilities represent about 4% of 
the BOD, 12% of the total nitrogen, <1% of the total phosphorus, and 
27% of TSS.
    Nonetheless, EPA was concerned about potential pollutant discharges 
from some pond facilities due to the rapid drainage when harvesting the 
animals, in particular shrimp ponds. Shrimp are harvested through rapid 
pond drainage and capture of the animals in harvest structures which 
are external to the pond, to prevent the shrimp from burrowing into the 
pond bottoms. This drainage practice has the potential to discharge 
more solids because the pond bottom is disturbed during harvest. EPA 
has obtained information on shrimp production in Texas where there are 
many large producers. The State of Texas has issued discharge permits 
to all shrimp producers, which incorporate requirements on the 
discharge of wastewater from these facilities. Texas shrimp facilities 
must comply with numeric limitations for inorganic TSS and typically 
install sedimentation basins to capture the water that is removed from 
a pond prior to its discharge to surface waters. In addition, the Texas 
Department of Parks and Wildlife has concerns over the release of non-
native shrimp, thus facilities have a series of structural barriers to 
prevent shrimp from escaping. There is also

[[Page 57902]]

shrimp production in South Carolina. Most of the shrimp in South 
Carolina are produced at small facilities, but there is one producer 
that is large enough to be considered a CAAP facility subject to NPDES 
requirements. This facility does have an NPDES permit and its permit 
includes a BMP directing it to treat its pond drainage to remove solids 
prior to discharge. EPA's revised analysis of the regulatory options 
took these practices into account in the baseline analysis.
    Based on the information provided by the industry and permits 
issued to pond facilities, EPA is not proposing to establish any 
effluent guidelines requirements for discharges from pond facilities. 
EPA believes there are very few pond facilities that meet the 
definition of a CAAP facility and most of the pond discharges that do 
occur add only than trivial pollutant loads because (1) the pond system 
itself already must have high quality water to produce aquatic animals 
and (2) surface drainage (due to excess precipitation) also will be of 
high quality. EPA supports the efforts of the various State 
agricultural extension services that have developed BMP recommendations 
for discharges from pond facilities. EPA believes that BMPs are very 
effective for controlling pollutant discharge from ponds and is also 
developing BMP guidance for pond producers. EPA's guidance would focus 
on practices to minimize solids in the discharges and to reduce the 
need to use drugs and chemicals. EPA will consider comments on the 
proposed BMP guidance manual that accompanies today's rule.

F. No Regulation Option

    EPA solicits comments on the ``no regulation'' option for 
discharges from all production facility types and encourages commenters 
to support such arguments with information and data, particularly data 
on the loadings, efficiency of existing practices including best 
management practices and treatment technologies and the costs 
associated with pollutant removals.
    EPA considered an option which would be to establish no national 
requirements for the entire point source category on a subcategory-by-
subcategory basis. EPA is proposing this option for four sectors: pond 
operations, molluscan shellfish, alligators and aquariums, as described 
in Section V. EPA is also seeking comment, however, on this option for 
the other subcategories that today's proposed rulemaking would 
regulate.

G. CAAP Pretreatment Standards

    EPA is proposing to not regulate indirect dischargers under today's 
effluent guidelines and standards. The indirect dischargers would be 
discharging mainly TSS and BOD, which the POTWs are designed to treat. 
In addition, the nutrients discharged from CAAP facilities that are in 
concentrations similar to nutrient concentrations in human wastes 
discharged to POTWs. The options EPA considered do not directly treat 
for nutrients, but nutrients are incidentally removed through the 
control of TSS. EPA believes that the POTW removals of TSS would get 
the equivalent nutrient removals obtained by the options considered for 
this proposed rulemaking and therefore concludes there would be no pass 
through of pollutant amounts necessitating regulation.

IX. Economic Analysis

A. Introduction

    This section describes the capital investment and annualized costs 
of compliance with the proposed effluent limitations guidelines and 
standards for the concentrated aquatic animal production industry and 
the potential magnitude of those costs for the regulated community. 
EPA's economic assessment is presented in detail in the report titled 
``Economic and Environmental Impact Analysis of the Proposed Effluent 
Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Concentrated Aquatic 
Animal Production Industry'' (hereafter ``EA'') and in the rulemaking 
record. EPA conducted cost-reasonableness and nutrient cost 
effectiveness analyses on all options evaluated and performed an 
analysis of the economic impacts on small entities for the proposed 
options.

B. Economic Data Collection Activities

    EPA relied on four major sets of data for today's proposal. The 
first set are the data collected in the screener survey titled 
``Screener Questionnaire for the Aquatic Animal Production Industry'' 
OMB Control Number 2040-0237 (hereafter ``screener survey'') which EPA 
distributed to nearly 6,000 potential aquatic animal production 
facilities. The screener survey is described in more detail in Section 
IV.B of this preamble. The screener survey collected facility 
production data information, but no financial information (such as the 
facility's annual revenue or operating costs). EPA used the production 
data, combined with available price data, to estimate revenues for the 
model facilities for which the Agency estimated costs. EPA also used 
the screener survey data to estimate the frequency with which the 
treatment practices that served as the technology basis for costing the 
various options occurred in the CAAP industry.
    The second and third sets of data are from the United States 
Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service 
(USDA/NASS). The second data source is USDA's Census of Aquaculture 
(1998), (60605), which is the primary source of publicly available data 
on the Nation's aquaculture industry (hereafter referred to as ``the 
Census''). Specifically, the Census provides information on aquatic 
animal production, revenues (sales), method of production, species 
produced, sources of water, point of first sale outlets, cooperative 
agreements and contracts, and aquaculture distributed for restoration 
or conservation purposes. The third data source is a special tabulation 
of the Census data generated by USDA/NASS for EPA. The special 
tabulation did not collect new information on the industry, nor did it 
provide information at a level of detail that would disclose 
confidential information. The special tabulation rather provided data 
already collected for the Census in a classification scheme more useful 
for EPA's purposes. Specifically, the data provides facility counts and 
statistical information (mean, median, standard deviation and 
coefficient of variation) on a species basis for the six existing 
Census revenue categories (<$24,999; $25,000 to $49,000; $50,000 to 
$99,999; $100,000 to $499,999; $500,000 to $999,999, and $1 million or 
more). The special tabulation also provides this information for a new 
revenue category that corresponds to the Small Business 
Administration's size standard for a small aquatic animal production 
business (i.e., less than $750,000 annually). EPA used the special 
tabulation data to examine the distribution of aquatic animal 
operations by revenue and species and to estimate the number of 
``small'' entities affected by the proposed rule.
    The fourth set of data are enterprise budgets developed by experts 
in aquacultural economics to depict financial conditions for 
representative aquaculture facilities. Enterprise budgets are useful 
tools for examining the potential profitability of an enterprise prior 
to actually making an investment. To create an enterprise budget, an 
analyst gathers information on capital investments, variable costs 
(such as labor and feed), fixed costs (e.g., interest and insurance), 
and typical yields and combines it with

[[Page 57903]]

price information to estimate annual revenues, costs and return for a 
project. By varying different input parameters, enterprise budgets can 
be used to examine the relative importance of individual parameters to 
the financial return of the project or to identify breakeven prices 
required to provide a positive return. The Economics Subgroup of the 
JSA/AETF provided EPA with enterprise budgets for trout, shrimp, hard 
clam, prawns, and alligators. In addition, EPA identified and collected 
other budgets through literature searches of publications, reports and 
analyses by regional aquaculture centers, universities and cooperative 
extensions, the aquatic animal production industry and its associated 
organizations.
    EPA is currently in the process of collecting detailed facilty-
level technical and economic data on aquatic animal producers. This 
data collection effort is the ``Detailed Questionnaire for the Aquatic 
Animal Production Industry'' OMB Control Number 2040-0240 (hereafter 
``detailed survey'') which EPA distributed in June 2002. The detailed 
survey is described in Section IV of this preamble. EPA intends to 
publish a Notice of Data Availability of its findings based on the 
detailed survey.

C. Economic Impact Methodologies

1. Economic Description of the Aquatic Animal Production Industry
    The aquatic animal production industry includes sites that fall 
within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes 
112511 (finfish farming and fish hatcheries), 112512 (shellfish 
farming), 112519 (other animal aquaculture), and part of 712130 
(aquariums, part of zoos and botanical gardens). The first three groups 
have Small Business Administration size standards of $0.75 million in 
annual revenue while the size standard for NAICS 712130 is $6.0 million 
in annual revenue.
    USDA reports that there were approximately 4,200 commercial 
aquaculture facilities in 1998 (DCN 60605). Based on revenues from 
aquaculture sales alone (not including other farm-related revenues from 
other agricultural crops at the facility), more than 90 percent of the 
facilities have revenues less than $0.75 million annually and thus may 
be considered small businesses. The Small Business Administration's 
size standard is based on annual revenue at the company level for all 
products, so using facility revenue from aquaculture sales is likely to 
over-estimate the proportion of small businesses in the industry. EPA 
intends to use company level revenue from the detailed survey data to 
identify the number of small businesses impacted by the final rule. 
Although aquaculture facilities exist in every State, there tends to be 
regional specialization by species as a result of local climate and the 
quality/quantity of water available for aquaculture (for example, 
catfish in the southeast, salmon on the northern coasts, and trout in 
Idaho).
    In 1999, commercial farm-level aquatic animal sales totaled nearly 
$1 billion (842 million pounds). The range of products includes: 
finfish raised for food and recreation (including food fish, sport or 
game fish, baitfish, or ornamental fish); crustaceans and molluscs 
raised for food; and other aquatic animals such as alligators, frogs, 
and turtles. Catfish and trout sales account for nearly fifty percent 
of the commercial market ($400 million annually and $64 
million annually in production, respectively).
    The industry includes several types of ownership structures: (1) 
Commercial; (2) Federal and State; (3) Tribal; (4) academic and 
research; and (5) nonprofit. Within the private or commercial sector, 
ownership structures range from small family farms to large 
multinational firms. The non-commercial sector is also diverse. The 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) operates 66 Federal hatcheries, 
six Fish Technology Centers, and nine Fish Health Centers. Its goals 
are to conserve, restore, enhance, and manage the Nation's fishery 
resources and ecosystems for the benefit of future generations. FWS 
distributes more than 50 species primarily to Federal, Tribal, State, 
and local governments. Many States operate fish hatcheries for stocking 
recreational fisheries, and EPA identified approximately 500 State 
hatchery facilities. In addition, USDA-ARS and DOC-NOAA operate 
aquaculture research facilities.
    As an approximate measure of the size of the governmental aquatic 
animal production, fish distributions from the FWS in 1999 totaled 5.5 
million pounds. Fisheries magazine published an overview of state 
coldwater fishery programs that listed 23.7 million pounds of trout and 
salmon distributed from State hatcheries in 1996 (DCN 20014). EPA 
estimates that production from 17 Tribal programs is more than 1.3 
million fish annually.
    EPA identified approximately 30 academic and research institutions 
that maintain facilities ranging from small research projects to full-
scale systems for training the next generation of aquatic animal 
producers. Information on the magnitude of these operations nationwide 
is currently being sought by EPA through the detailed survey.
    Nonprofit organizations in the CAAP industry include 30 Alaskan 
hatcheries and non-taxable aquariums. Alaskan hatcheries are different 
from other State hatcheries. The farming of salmon, per se, was 
outlawed in 1990 (Alaska, 2001a; DCN 20002). Instead, Alaska permits 
nonprofit ``ocean ranching'' where salmon are reared from egg to smolt 
stage and then released into public waters to be available for harvest 
by fishermen upon their return to Alaskan waters as adults. EPA has 
identified two types of nonprofit organizations that exist in Alaska--
four regional aquaculture associations and eight private nonprofit 
corporations--with a total annual permitted production of approximately 
2 billion smolts for ocean release. EPA identified approximately 50 
aquariums in the U.S., some of which are non-taxable establishments.
2. Methodological Overview
    This section discusses potential impacts from the estimated 
compliance costs. The analysis consists of several components: (1) 
Assessing the number of facilities that could be affected by this rule; 
(2) estimating the annualized incremental compliance costs for model 
facilities to comply with the different requirements identified in the 
rule; (3) calculating model facility impacts using the test measure of 
the ratio of the estimated annual compliance costs to revenue from 
aquaculture sales (hereafter referred to as a revenue test); and (4) 
extrapolating from the individual model facility results to estimate 
facility impacts at the national level (i.e., in the regulated 
universe) using the revenue test. EPA also calculated industry-wide 
costs and pollutant removals and performed cost-reasonableness and 
nutrient cost-effectiveness tests.
    EPA used the screener survey data to characterize the industry by 
production system, species, ownership structure (commercial and non-
commercial, with the latter including Federal, State, Tribal, academic/
research, and other operators), and annual production at the 
facilities. EPA used the information to construct its model facilities. 
EPA converted the six revenue categories presented in the Census 
(<$24,999; $25,000 to $49,000; $50,000 to $99,999; $100,000 to 
$499,999; $500,000 to $999,999, and $1 million or more) to six 
production categories (ranges in pounds) for each species using the 
Census prices and assigned each screener survey facility to the

[[Page 57904]]

appropriate category. This conversion allows EPA to use information 
from both data sources as appropriate. As discussed in Section VII, EPA 
developed costs for 96 different combinations of production system/
species/ownership structure/production category. All costs are reported 
in 2000 dollars, unless otherwise noted.
    Neither the Census nor EPA's screener survey collected data on 
farm-level operating costs. This absence of matched pairs of operating 
cost and revenue data limited EPA's efforts in developing the economic 
analysis for proposal. EPA considered alternative approaches to the 
revenue test presented in today's preamble to examine economic impacts 
to the industry, including developing representative model facilities 
based on enterprise budget data. EPA determined these alternative 
approaches to be infeasible given the lack of information on the 
distribution of profits among aquatic animal producers. EPA intends to 
perform a detailed financial analysis on actual farm-level data 
collected in the detailed survey prior to final action on today's 
proposal. In today's proposal, EPA is using the existing technical and 
economic data to make preliminary evaluations of economic achievability 
in advance of the detailed survey data. Prior to final action of the 
rule, EPA plans to provide the public with an opportunity to review and 
comment on the data received in response to the detailed survey.
    EPA used information from the screener survey to calculate 
``frequency factors,'' that is, the portion of facilities represented 
by a model that already have a particular pollutant control practice in 
place. For example, if three of every ten facilities already have a 
particular pollutant control practice in place prior to the regulation, 
the frequency factor for that practice would be 0.30. EPA estimated 
costs for each pollutant control practice for each facility.
    EPA used the frequency factors and pollutant control practice costs 
in two ways. First, the Agency calculated national estimates by 
calculating the weighted average of each pollutant control practice, 
i.e., the product of the cost and (1 minus the frequency factor). The 
weighted average cost for each control practice within an option were 
summed to calculate the weighted average model facility cost for that 
option. EPA multiplied the weighted average model facility cost times 
the number of facilities represented by the model facility 
configuration. EPA performed these calculations for each model facility 
configuration and summed the results to estimate the national industry 
compliance costs attributed to an option.
    For the revenue tests, EPA assumed that a facility would incur the 
full pre-tax annualized compliance cost of any pollution control 
practices that it needed to implement to meet the proposed rule. For 
example, suppose an option has three components: control practice A 
with a cost of $10 and a frequency factor of 0.9; control practice B 
with a cost of $100 and a frequency factor of 0.5; and control practice 
C with a cost of $1000 and a frequency factor of 0.1. In this case, a 
facility could incur any cost from $0 (all control practices are 
already in place) to $1110 (none of the control practices are already 
in place).
    EPA used the frequency factors to calculate the probability of a 
facility incurring a particular control practice cost combination. 
Table IX.C.1 summarizes the probabilities of a facility incurring the 
example costs. The example model facility has a 90 percent probability 
of incurring a cost of $1,000 or more (the sum of all probabilities for 
costs of $1,000 or more). If the example model facility represents 50 
facilities and the $1,000 cost shows impacts at the 1 percent revenue 
threshold, EPA estimates that 45 facilities (or 50 x 0.9) would show 
impacts at the 1 percent revenue threshold.

                      Table IX.C.1--Example of Applying Frequency Factors for Revenue Tests
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Frequency factor (or inverse)
        Cost combination         ------------------------------------------------  Facility cost  Probability of
                                         A               B               C                         facility cost
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC.............................             0.1             0.5             0.9          $1,110           0.045
AB..............................             0.1             0.5             0.1             110           0.005
AC..............................             0.1             0.5             0.9           1,010           0.045
A...............................             0.1             0.5             0.1              10           0.005
BC..............................             0.9             0.5             0.9           1,100           0.405
B...............................             0.9             0.5             0.1             100           0.045
C...............................             0.9             0.5             0.9           1,000           0.405
No cost.........................             0.9             0.5             0.1               0           0.045
                                 -----------------
    Sum of probabilities........  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............           1.000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While some non-commercial facilities--Federal and state hatcheries, 
academic and research facilities, and tribal facilities--might sell 
some of their production, most fish and egg distribution from these 
facilities have no market transaction (that is, the fish are not sold). 
The industry profile (Section III.C) indicates some of the differences 
between commercial and non-commercial facilities, but the economic 
analysis is constrained by the absence of cost and/or funding data for 
non-commercial facilities until detailed survey data are available. 
Given the data available at this time--production level from the 
screener survey and market value from the Census--the only measure by 
which to evaluate impacts is to impute a value to their production 
based on annual harvest and commercial prices.
    EPA considers the use of a revenue test for commercial and non-
commercial facilities appropriate for this stage of the rulemaking. 
Government facilities might have the options of increasing user fees 
and budgets or re-directing budget allocations. Academic and research 
facilities might have the option of re-directing budget allocations. In 
other words, the economic analysis for non-commercial facilities should 
differ from that performed for commercial facilities. While this is not 
possible with the information available at this time, EPA designed 
different versions of the economic and financial portion of the 
detailed questionnaire for government and academic/research facilities 
with the intent of collecting the data necessary for the different 
analyses.

D. Annualized Compliance Cost Estimates

    As discussed in Secion III, a concentrated aquatic animal 
production

[[Page 57905]]

facility (CAAP) is defined in 40 CFR 122.24 and appendix C. EPA has 
identified approximately 136 direct discharging CAAPs that would be 
regulated by this proposal. EPA calculated the economic impact on each 
model facility based on the cost of compliance using the technology 
basis for each of the options considered for the proposal. For existing 
direct dischargers, EPA calculated impacts for compliance with BPT, 
BCT, and BAT requirements; EPA is not proposing pretreatment standards 
for indirect dischargers. As detailed in Section VIII, EPA based the 
proposed standards for direct discharges on Option 3 for all net pen 
systems and recirculating systems, as well as for flow-through systems 
with annual production of 475,000 pounds and greater. EPA based the 
proposed standards for direct dischargers for flow-through systems with 
annual production between 100,000 and 475,000 pounds on Option 1. EPA 
is not proposing standards for any production system with annual 
aquatic animal production less than 100,000 pounds although EPA 
calculated costs and impacts for these smaller facilities.
    EPA estimates that the total pre-tax annualized compliance costs 
attributed to the proposed rule are $1.10 million (see Table IX.D.1) 
for facilities identified in the screener survey. More than half of the 
estimated cost is projected to be borne by non-commercial facilities. 
Among the commercial facilities, those with flow-through systems will 
incur the greatest share of the cost ($0.16 million annually).

               Table IX.D.1--Estimated Pre-Tax Annualized Compliance Costs Based on Screener Data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Pre-tax
                                                                                     Number of      annualized
               Production system                              Owner               regulated CAAP       cost
                                                                                    facilities      (Millions,
                                                                                                   2000 dollars)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        100,000-475,000 Pounds Production
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through..................................  Commercial......................              31           $0.16
Flow-Through..................................  Non-Commercial..................              57            0.30
Flow-Through..................................  Alaska Non-Profit...............              15            0.32
Recirculating.................................  Commercial......................               5            0.03
Net Pen.......................................  Commercial......................               0              NA
-----------------------------------------------
                                       475,000 Pounds Production and Above
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through..................................  Commercial......................               9            0.04
Flow-Through..................................  Non-Commercial..................               6            0.09
Flow-Through..................................  Alaska Non-Profit...............               2            0.11
Recirculating.................................  Commercial......................               3            0.02
Net Pen.......................................  Commercial......................               8            0.03
                                               -----------------------------------
    Total.....................................  ................................             136            1.10
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In order to estimate the national pre-tax annualized compliance 
costs attributed to the proposed rule, EPA multiplied the commercial 
facilities by a factor of 2.5. EPA believes it was able to identify all 
public facilities in its screener survey mailing list, so these 
compliance costs already represent national estimates and do not need 
to be sealed. The results of scaling up to the national estimates are 
presented in Table IX.D.2. This factor was estimated by calculating the 
ratio of the number of potentially regulated facilities identified in 
the Census to the number of potentially regulated facilities identified 
in the screener survey results. EPA evaluated this comparison by system 
type and found, for those potentially regulated facilities, that the 
ratio was fairly consistent (approximately 2.5). A more detailed 
explanation of this analysis can be found in the EA and rulemaking 
record (DCN 61793). For the final rule, EPA intends to evaluate other 
methods of estimating the number of potentially regulated facilities 
either using the screener or detailed survey data (see approach in TDD 
Appendix).

                      Table IX.D.2--Estimated National Pre-Tax Annualized Compliance Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Pre-tax
                                                                                     Number of      annualized
               Production system                              Owner               regulated CAAP       cost
                                                                                    facilities      (Millions,
                                                                                                   2000 dollars)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        100,000-475,000 Pounds Production
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through..................................  Commercial......................              78           $0.40
Flow-Through..................................  Non-Commercial..................              57            0.30
Flow-Through..................................  Alaska Non-Profit...............              15            0.32
Recirculating.................................  Commercial......................              13            0.06
Net Pen*......................................  Commercial......................              NA              NA
-----------------------------------------------
                                       475,000 Pounds Production and Above
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through..................................  Commercial......................              23            0.09
Flow-Through..................................  Non-Commercial..................               6            0.09
Flow-Through..................................  Alaska Non-Profit...............               2            0.11

[[Page 57906]]

 
Recirculating.................................  Commercial......................               8            0.05
Net Pen.......................................  Commercial......................              20            0.09
                                               -----------------------------------
    Total.....................................  ................................             222          $1.51
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* EPA did not identify any commercial net pens of this size category in the screener survey.

E. Model Facility Impacts

    As mentioned in Section IX.C.2, EPA used the revenue test to make 
preliminary determinations about economic achievability in advance of 
the detailed survey data. EPA is not associating any particular 
threshold of the revenue test with facility failure; such a 
determination will be made on the basis of facility-specific 
information collected in the detailed survey. For purposes of today's 
proposal, EPA believes that a large percentage of facilities 
experiencing impacts greater than 5% and/or a small percentage 
experiencing impacts greater than 10% indicate disproportionate 
economic burden.
1. Flow-Through Systems
    a. BPT. Table IX.E.1 summarizes the results of the revenue test for 
the three regulatory options at the 3, 5, and 10 percent thresholds. 
The results are divided into two size categories based on annual 
production of aquatic animals: facilities with annual production 
between 100,000 and 475,000 pounds and facilities with annual 
production greater than 475,000 pounds. The results are presented in 
terms of the number of facilities whose test ratio is projected to 
exceed the threshold level (i.e., the number of facilities that would 
incur incremental annualized compliance costs that are greater than 3, 
5, and 10 percent of their annual revenue from aquaculture sales). EPA 
is proposing Option 1 for the smaller size category and Option 3 for 
the larger size category. EPA estimates that under these options, no 
facilities will incur compliance costs greater than 10 percent of 
revenues and only a small number of facilities will incur compliance 
costs greater than 5 percent.

                                                 Table IX.E.1--Revenue Tests for Flow-Through Facilities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Option 1            Option 2            Option 3
                                                                               ------------------------------------------------------------
                              Size                                 Facilities   3% 3% 3% 5% 5% 5% 10%              eq>10%              eq>10%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
100,000-475,000 lbs:
    Commercial..................................................           78              25 8 0             25 15 0            35 23 23             1
    Non-Commercial..............................................           57               0 0 0               0 0 0               4 0 0             1
    Alaska Non-Profit...........................................           15               0 0 0               0 0 0               0 0 0             1
475,000 lbs:
    Commercial..................................................           23               0 0 0               0 0 0               0 0 0             3
    Non-Commercial..............................................            6               0 0 0               0 0 0               0 0 0             3
    Alaska Non-Profit...........................................            2               0 0 0               0 0 0               1 0 0            3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Numbers in the table represent the number of facilities projected to exceed the threshold level.

    b. BCT. In July 1986, EPA developed its methodology for setting 
effluent limitations based on BCT (51 FR 24974). EPA evaluates the 
reasonableness of BCT candidate technologies--those that remove more 
conventional pollutants than BPT--by applying a two-part cost test: a 
POTW test and an industry cost-effectiveness test.
    EPA first calculates the cost per pound of conventional pollutant 
removed by industrial dischargers in upgrading from BPT to a BCT 
candidate technology, and then compares this cost to the POTW 
benchmark. The POTW benchmark is the cost per pound for a POTW to 
upgrade from secondary to advanced secondary treatment. The upgrade 
cost to industry must be less than the POTW benchmark of $0.25 per 
pound (in 1976 dollars) or $0.65 per pound (in 2000 dollars). In the 
industry cost-effectiveness test, the ratio of the cost per pound to go 
from BPT to BCT divided by the cost per pound to go from raw wastewater 
to BPT for the industry must be less than 1.29 (that is, the cost 
increase must be less than 29 percent).
    EPA is establishing BPT limitations for flow-through facilities 
with an annual production of 100,000 pounds and greater. A BCT test can 
be performed for the category with 100,000 to 475,000 in annual 
production. (EPA is proposing the most stringent option for facilities 
with 475,000 and greater in annual production. Hence, there is no more 
stringent option to be considered for BCT for this group.) For purposes 
of this analysis, EPA is assuming that the proposed BPT limits are 
baseline. Thus, EPA is considering only Options 2 and 3 as BCT 
candidate options.
    Table IX.E-2 presents the calculations for the BCT cost test. The 
cost per pound to upgrade from secondary to advanced secondary 
treatment is less than $0.65 for Option 3, so Option 3 passes the first 
part of the test. However, the cost per pound to go from raw wastewater 
to BPT is $0.20, therefore the ratio of the cost per pound to go from 
BPT to BCT divided by the cost per pound to go from raw wastewater to 
BPT for the industry is 2.08 and Option 3 fails the second part of the 
test. Based on these results, EPA is proposing that BCT be set equal to 
BPT.

[[Page 57907]]



                    Table IX.E.2--POTW Cost Test Calculations for Flow-Through Systems (100,000-475,000 Pounds in Annual Production)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Incremental
                                   Incremental    pre-tax total
                                  conventional     annualized      Ratio of costs to                             BPT-BCT Raw-BPT
             Option                pollutants         costs      removals  (POTW test)     Pass POTW test?      ratio  (Industry     Pass industry test?
                                     removed       (Millions,                                                         test)
                                     (lbs.)          2000 $)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2..............................               0           $0.03  Undefined............  No..................  NA..................  NA
3..............................         874,136            0.37  0.42.................  Yes.................  2.08................  No
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    c. BAT. The technology options EPA considered for BAT are identical 
to those it considered for BPT for existing dischargers. Because EPA 
projects limited economic impacts associated with the BPT requirements, 
EPA does not expect significant economic impacts for BAT. EPA did not 
select the more stringent Option 2 for facilities between 100,000 and 
475,000 pounds production per year because EPA was concerned about the 
number of commercial facilities (15 out of 78) estimated to experience 
compliance costs greater than 5% of revenues from aquaculture sales. 
EPA also determined that Option 3 would not be economically achievable 
for these facilities based on the high number of facilities (23 out of 
78) estimated to experience compliance costs greater than the 10% 
revenue threshold. EPA selected Option 3 for facilities with greater 
than 475,000 pounds production because no facilities are estimated to 
experience compliance costs that exceed the 5% revenue threshold.
2. Recirculating Systems
    a. BPT. EPA is proposing Option 3 for recirculating systems with 
annual production greater than 100,000 pounds. EPA estimates that under 
this option, none of the 21 recirculating facilities will incur 
compliance costs greater than 3 percent of revenues (which by 
definition also implies that no facilities will incur compliance costs 
greater than 5 percent or 10 percent).
    b. BCT / BAT. EPA is proposing the most stringent option for 
facilities with recirculating systems. Hence, there is no more 
stringent option to be considered for BCT, so BCT is set equal to BPT. 
The technology options EPA considered for BAT are identical to those it 
considered for BPT. Because EPA projects limited economic impacts 
associated with the BPT requirements, EPA expects only limited economic 
impacts for BCT and BAT.
3. Net Pen Systems
    a. BPT. None of the model facilities for net pen systems incur 
compliance costs greater than 3 percent of revenues for any of the 
regulatory options. EPA is proposing the most stringent option, Option 
3, as BPT for net pen systems.
    b. BCT / BAT. EPA is proposing the most stringent option for 
facilities with net pen systems. Hence, there is no more stringent 
option to be considered for BCT, so BCT is set equal to BPT. The 
technology options EPA considered for BAT are identical to those it 
considered for BPT for existing dischargers. Because EPA projects 
limited economic impacts associated with the BPT requirements, EPA 
expects only limited economic impacts for BAT.
5. New Source Performance Standards for All Production Systems
    EPA is proposing new source performance standards that are 
identical to those proposed for existing dischargers that meet the 
100,000 pound production threshold. Engineering analysis indicates that 
the cost of installing pollution control systems during new 
construction is no more expensive than the cost of retrofitting 
existing facilities and is frequently less expensive than the retrofit 
cost. Because EPA projects the costs for new sources to be equal to or 
less than those for existing sources and because limited impacts are 
projected for these existing sources, EPA does not expect significant 
economic impacts (or barrier to entry) for new sources that meet the 
100,000 pound production threshold.
    EPA is considering establishing new source performance standards 
for smaller coldwater CAAP facilities that produce between 20,000 and 
100,000 pounds per year. Based on the screener data, EPA initially 
identified 110 facilities in this group. EPA intends to conduct further 
analysis pertaining to this issue using detailed survey data. EPA 
invites comment on whether compliance costs would represent a barrier 
to entry to these facilities.

F. Other Economic Impacts

1. Firm-Level Impacts
    For the final rule, EPA intends to conduct an analysis of firm-
level impacts with the detailed survey data. No firm-level analysis is 
possible at this time due to data constraints that arise from the 
predominance of privately-held (i.e. firm not required to file 
financial information with the Securities and Exchange Commission) and 
foreign-held firms. The salmon industry, for example, is predominantly 
foreign-held. Due to differences in accounting standards, EPA does not 
routinely consider foreign firms in its financial analysis. EPA also 
intends to examine the potential cumulative impacts on non-commercial 
concentrated aquatic animal production facilities, such as State and 
Federal hatcheries, using information collected in the detailed survey.
2. Community-Level Impacts
    EPA did not identify any data source with detailed employment 
information for the aquatic animal production industry. Given that the 
scope of the proposed regulation is focused on a limited number of 
larger facilities, EPA believes that is not likely to cause severe 
community impacts. EPA intends to examine community-level impacts based 
on detailed survey data.
3. Foreign Trade Impacts
    EPA believes that proposed regulations will have little, if any, 
impact on foreign trade. Several species, including striped bass, 
tilapia, trout, and salmon, face significant foreign competition. 
However, no facilities in the striped bass sector are expected to incur 
compliance costs that exceed the 1 percent revenue threshold, and no 
tilapia or salmon facilities are expected to incur compliance costs 
that exceed the 3 percent revenue threshold. EPA used its regulatory 
flexibility and proposed different options for different levels of 
production for the system most commonly used to raise trout (i.e., 
flow-through) to mitigate potential adverse impacts. EPA solicits 
comments on the potential impacts of the proposed rule on foreign 
trade.

[[Page 57908]]

G. BPT Cost Comparison Test and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

    EPA is evaluating technology options for the control of only 
conventional pollutants at BPT. CWA Section 304(b)(1)(B) requires a 
cost-reasonableness assessment for BPT limitations. In determining BPT 
limitations, EPA must consider the total cost of treatment technologies 
in relation to the effluent reduction benefits gained by such 
technology. This inquiry does not limit EPA's broad discretion to adopt 
BPT limitations that are achievable with available technology unless 
the required additional reductions are wholly out of proportion to the 
costs of achieving such marginal reduction.
    The BPT cost comparison test is based on the average cost per pound 
of pollutants removed by a BPT regulatory option. The cost component is 
measured as total pre-tax annualized costs in 2000 dollars. In this 
case, the pollutants removed are conventional pollutants although, in 
some cases, removals may include priority and nonconventional 
pollutants. Historically, the cost comparison values have ranged from 
$0.21 to $33.72 (2000 dollars).
    For the CAAP industry, EPA has chosen to evaluate cost 
reasonableness on the basis of the higher of TSS or BOD removals (not 
the sum of these removals) to avoid possible double-counting of 
removals. The costs and removals for the proposed options for the flow-
through, recirculating, and net pen subcategories are summarized in 
Table IX.G.1. The cost comparison values range from $0.04/lb to $0.23/
lb, values that EPA considers to be acceptable.

                                     Table IX.G.1.--BPT Cost Comparison Test
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Conventional
                                                                   Total pre-tax     pollutant     Average cost
                        Production system                           annualized       removals     per pound  ($/
                                                                   cost  (2000$)       (lbs)            lb)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through....................................................      $1,004,363       4,450,465           $0.23
Recirculating...................................................          45,071         638,365            0.07
Net Pens........................................................          34,345         868,899            0.04
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    a. Nutrient Cost-Effectiveness. EPA also has calculated the cost-
effectiveness of the removal of nutrients for the options considered in 
today's proposal. As a benchmark for comparison, EPA has estimated that 
the average cost-effectiveness of nutrient removal by POTWs with 
biological nutrient removal is $4/lb for nitrogen and $10/lb for 
phosphorus. Table IX.G.2 summarizes the nutrient cost-effectiveness by 
production system for all the options considered. The removals are 
given for total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) individually 
and on a combined basis. Option 2 always has a higher nutrient cost-
effectiveness value than Option 1 because the additional requirement 
for a health management plan adds costs but results in no nutrient 
removals. For recirculating systems and net pen systems, all options 
are more cost-effective than these benchmarks. For flow-through 
systems, nutrient cost-effectiveness significantly exceeds these 
benchmarks suggesting that the requirements are not very cost effective 
for removing nutrients at flow-through systems. However, as noted 
previously all options for all systems were within the BPT cost 
comparison range that EPA considers to be acceptable.

                                  Table IX.G.2--Costs, Nutrient Removals, and Cost-Effectiveness for Options Considered
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Average nutrient cost    Average nutrient cost-    Average nutrient cost-
                                                                  Total      effectiveness  (TN +TP,   effectiveness  (TN, $/    effectiveness  (TP, $/
                            Option                              annualized            $/lb)                      lb)                       lb)
                                                                   cost    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 (2000$)      Removals       $/lb       Removals       $/lb       Removals       $/lb
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through:
    1........................................................     $946,796        5,121      $184.89        2,110      $448.72        3,011      $314.45
    2........................................................      998,269        5,121       194.94        2,110       473.11        3,011       331.54
    3........................................................    1,438,226      110,666        13.00       85,469        16.83       25,197        57.08
Recirculating:
    1........................................................       30,469            0           NA            0           NA            0           NA
    2........................................................       33,587            0           NA            0           NA            0           NA
    3........................................................       45,071       32,453         3.12       25,090         1.80        7,363         6.12
Net Pens:
    1........................................................        6,205       66,170         0.09       56,717         0.11        9,453         6.13
    2........................................................        9,322       66,170         0.14       56,717         0.16        9,453        31.04
    3........................................................       34,345       86,890         0.40       74,477         2.61       12,413         2.77
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EPA is proposing a tiered approach for flow-through systems with Option 
1 for systems with production levels between 100,000 and 475,000 
pounds, and Option 3 for systems with production levels 475,000 pounds 
and higher. Due to the absence of economies of scale, smaller 
facilities bear a relatively higher cost per pound of pollutant 
removal. EPA is proposing Option 3 for all recirculating and net pen 
systems. Table IX.G.3 summarizes the nutrient cost-effectiveness for 
the proposed options.

[[Page 57909]]



                                  Table IX.G.3.--Costs, Nutrient Removals, and Cost-Effectiveness for Proposed Options
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Average nutrient cost-    Average nutrient cost-    Average nutrient cost-
                                                                  Total     effectiveness  (TN +TP, / effectiveness  (TN, /lb)  effectiveness  (TP, /lb)
                      Production system                         annualized             lb)           ---------------------------------------------------
                                                                   cost    --------------------------
                                                                  (2000)      Removals       /lb        Removals       /lb        Removals       /lb
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through.................................................   $1,004,363       66,103       $15.19       50,273       $19.98       15,830       $63.45
Recirculating................................................       45,071       32,453         3.12       25,090         1.80        7,363         6.12
Net Pens.....................................................       34,345       86,890         0.40       74,477         2.61       12,413         2.77
                                                              --------------
    Total....................................................    1,083,779      185,446         5.84      149,840         7.23       35,606        30.44
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

H. Small Business Analysis

    Based on the special tabulation from the Census discussed in 
Section IX.B, EPA identified approximately 4,200 small commercial 
aquatic animal producers, which represents over 90 percent of the total 
AAP producers. Based on screener survey data, EPA identified: a total 
of 999 small entities (including 26 small Alaskan flow-through 
facilities that are non-profits); a total of 344 small entities that 
met the definition of a CAAP facility; and 48 small entities that are 
within the scope of the proposed rule (31 flow-through, 12 Alaskan, and 
5 recirculating). That is, about 35 percent of facilities within the 
scope of the proposed rule are small. Of the 36 regulated small CAAP 
facilities that are commercially owned, approximately 17 (which 
represents 5 percent of the total small CAAP facilities or 47 percent 
of the regulated small CAAP facilities) incur compliance costs greater 
than 1 percent of aquaculture revenue and 10 small commercial entities 
(which represents less than 3 percent of the total small CAAP 
facilities or 28 percent of the regulated CAAP facilities) incur 
compliance costs greater than 3 percent.
    For commercial facilities, EPA assumed that the facility is 
equivalent to the business, an assumption that will be re-examined when 
detailed survey data is available. However, because sufficient data is 
available to determine the parent nonprofit association (and its 
revenues) for the small Alaskan nonprofit facilities, EPA analyzed 
small entity impacts at the level of the parent association. EPA 
determined that 12 small Alaskan nonprofit facilities within scope of 
the proposed rule are owned by 8 small nonprofit associations. Of the 6 
small Alaskan nonprofit associations for which EPA had data, 3 
associations incur compliance costs greater than 1 percent of revenues 
and 1 association incurs compliance costs greater than 3 percent.
    EPA intends to make its final determination of the impact of the 
aquatic animal production rulemaking on small businesses based on 
analyses of the detailed survey data. EPA did convene a Small Business 
Advocacy Review Panel pursuant to section 609(b) of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA) as amended by the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA). For a discussion of the Panel's 
outreach and findings see Section XIII.B.

I. Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Table IX.I.1 summarizes the total social costs and benefits of the 
proposed rule. The estimated pre-tax annualized compliance cost is 
$1.51 million in 2000 dollars for the proposed rule (see Table 6-5). 
All CAAP facilities within the proposed scope are currently permitted, 
so incremental administrative costs of the regulation are negligible. 
However, Federal and State permitting authorities will incur a burden 
for reviewing the BMP plan and reports on the use of drugs and 
chemicals. EPA estimates these costs to be approximately $3,337 per 
year (EPA ICR No. 2087.01). That is, the recordkeeping and reporting 
burden to the permitting authorities is less than two-tenths of one 
percent of the pre-tax compliance cost for the proposed rule. The 
social costs are shown using both a 7 percent and 3 percent discount 
rates.
    The monetized benefits presented are based on the Mitchell and 
Carson contingent valuation estimates of annual willingness to pay, so 
the total willingness to pay derived from these values is an annual 
amount. The model facility approach did not provide any intuition about 
the timing of compliance or the dynamics of when benefits would accrue 
so the benefit analysis is based on the environmental effects achieved 
when the proposed regulation is fully implemented. There is no 
variation through time. The annualized value of a level annual flow is 
equal to the annual flow itself, when the rate for discounting and 
annualization are the same. Thus, the annualized benefits are the same 
as the annual benefits no matter what discount rate is applied. The 
estimated monetized benefits of the rule range from $0.022 million to 
$0.113 million. This is likely to be an underestimate because EPA can 
fully characterize only a limited set of benefits to the point of 
monetization. Section 10.6 describes several types of benefits--those 
that can be both quantified and monetized; those that can be quantified 
but not monetized; and those that cannot be quantified or monetized.

                          Table IX.I.1.--Estimated Social Costs and Monetized Benefits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Pre-tax annualized cost      Annualized monetized benefits
                                     Number of       (Millions, 2000 dollars)       *  (Millions, 2000 dollars)
        Production system            regulated   ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      CAAPFs            7%              3%              Min             Max
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flow-Through....................             181          $1.31           $1.20           $0.019          $0.091
Recirculating...................              21           0.11            0.11            0.003           0.022
Net Pen.........................              20           0.09            0.08   ..............  ..............
                                 -----------------
    Industry Total..............             222           1.51            1.39            0.022           0.113
                                 =================
State and Federal Permitting      ..............           0.003           0.003  ..............  ..............
 Authorities....................

[[Page 57910]]

 
Estimated cost of the proposed    ..............           1.513           1.393           0.022          $0.113
 rule...........................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Monetized benefits are not scaled to the national level.

    The monetized benefits are based on the 128 flow-through and 
recirculating systems from the screener data (i.e., are not scaled to 
the national level) because EPA was not able to estimate a 
representative national scaling factor. Hence, Table IX.I.1 compares 
annualized compliance costs associated with 222 facilities to 
annualized benefits from 128 facilities.

X. Water Quality Analysis and Environmental Benefits

A. CAAP Environmental Impacts

1. Nutrients, Solids, and Water Quality
    As described earlier, some CAAP facilities may contribute 
significant amounts of nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) and solids to 
receiving waters. These discharges have the potential to contribute to 
a number of water quality impacts related to eutrophication, defined as 
an increase in the rate of supply of organic matter in an ecosystem 
(Nixon, 1995, as cited in NSTC, 2000 (DCN 61562). The increase in 
organic matter can be caused either by increased inputs from sources 
outside of the ecosystem (e.g., agricultural runoff or industrial 
effluents) or by enhanced organic matter production within the 
ecosystem caused by increased nutrient inputs to the system. Adverse 
environmental consequences of eutrophication include harmful algal 
blooms, increased water column turbidity, low dissolved oxygen and 
associated stresses to stream biota, increased water treatment 
requirements, changes in benthic fauna, and stimulation of harmful 
microbial activity with possible adverse consequences for human health. 
These consequences have long been a concern in the protection and 
development of water resources (e.g., Dunne and Leopold, 1978; DCN 
61563).
    As noted earlier in the Preamble, actual water quality impacts from 
CAAP facilities vary greatly and depend on type and size of facility, 
treatment processes and technologies, and physical, biological, and 
chemical characteristics of the receiving water body. However, EPA 
estimates of untreated (``raw'') model facility loadings shown in Table 
X.A.1 suggest that large CAAP facilities can, in the absence of 
treatment, contribute significant total annual pollutant loads. 
Estimated loadings from large net pen facilities, not shown in Table 
X.A.1, range from about 132,000 pounds to over four million pounds 
annually. When multiple CAAP facilities are located on a single 
receiving water, which occurs in such states as Idaho and Maine, 
cumulative pollutant loadings to the receiving water may be 
correspondingly higher and may be of concern from a stream ecology 
perspective. EPA's Region 10 identified discharges from CAAP facilities 
as contributors to phosphorus problems in the middle Snake River, where 
over 70 CAAP facilities, several municipal treatment plants, and 
several food processors were identified. The region adopted strict 
numeric limits on phosphorus from the CAAP facilities that led to an 
overall reduction in phosphorus over the past five years (Fromm and 
Hill, 2002; DCN 31005).

   Table X.A.1.--Typical Raw Pollutant Loadings for Individual Flow-Through and Recirculating Model Facilities
[FT = flow through; SB = striped bass; M = medium; L = large. (For definition of model facility size categories,
                          see Chapter 9 of the CAAP Development Document (DCN 61552))]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       Total
                                                                  Total nitrogen       Total         suspended
                                                   BOD5  (lb/yr)      (lb/yr)       phosphorus     solids  (lb/
                                                                                      (lb/yr)           yr)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Salmon FT L.....................................       2,019,852           8,678          19,707       1,731,301
SB FT M.........................................          62,149             267             606          53,271
Tilapia FT M....................................         155,373             668           1,516         133,177
Tilapia FT L....................................         388,433           1,669           3,790         332,943
Trout FT M......................................          77,687             334             758          66,589
Trout FT L......................................       1,009,926           4,339           9,853         865,651
Trout Stockers FT M.............................          77,687             334             758          66,589
Trout Stockers FT L.............................         466,120           2,003           4,548         399,531
SB Recirc L.....................................         383,564           1,650           4,181         328,770
Tilapia Recirc L................................         127,855             550           1,394        109,590
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: CAAP Economic Analysis (DCN 20141).

    Seven States, reporting recently under CWA section 303(d), identify 
CAAP facilities as a potential source of impairment for one or more 
water bodies. These States include Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, 
New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia. None of these states, 
excluding North Carolina and New Mexico, submitted a 2000 report of 
impaired waters and their listings from 1998 are considered current. 
North Carolina and New Mexico did submit a 2000 report, which updates 
the impaired waters listed in the 1998 report. Nationwide, CAAP is 
listed as one of numerous potential sources of impairment for 191 miles 
of rivers and streams (less than 1% of all rivers and streams 
nationwide that were reported to be impaired), and for 2,788 acres of 
lakes, reservoirs, and

[[Page 57911]]

ponds (less than 1% of all lake, reservoir and pond acreage nationwide 
reported to be impaired; EPA, 2002; DCN 40319). It should be noted that 
other sources frequently also contribute to impairment of water bodies 
where CAAP is cited as a potential source of impairment.
    Several researchers in the United States have measured biological 
variables downstream of aquaculture facilities. In some cases, 
researchers observed impacts such as the presence of pollution-tolerant 
benthic invertebrates and changes in biomass and species richness 
(e.g., Kendra, 1991 (DCN 60366); Selong and Helfrich, 1998 (DCN 
60542)). In other cases (e.g., Huggett et al., 2001 (DCN 61564)), 
pollutants evaluated in this study were not found to negatively impact 
the receiving stream. Although limited studies on biological impacts of 
CAAP effluents have been published, States and other authorities have 
taken regulatory action to address concerns with water quality impacts 
from CAAP facilities (e.g., EPA, 2002 (DCN 61728)).
    EPA solicits public comment and data regarding potential impacts of 
nutrient and solids loadings from CAAP facilities on water quality, 
biological, and other characteristics of the receiving waters.
2. CAAP Drugs and Chemicals and Water Quality
    As noted earlier in this Preamble, some CAAP facilities utilize 
animal drugs that are discharged directly into the receiving waters. 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/Center for Veterinarian 
Medicine (CVM) regulates animal drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and 
Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). While extensive toxicity studies are generally 
required prior to drug approval from FDA, limited data on potential 
environmental effects may be available for some medications that are 
currently authorized for investigational use by FDA according to FFDCA 
section 512(j), 21 U.S.C. section 360b(j). In addition, pesticides such 
as a variety of copper compounds (used to kill unwanted algae or to 
prevent the growth of fouling organisms) can impair aquatic organisms 
in receiving waters depending on the rates being applied and other 
factors such as the breakdown rate of the product or active ingredient. 
EPA is not aware of research documenting or characterizing the 
ecological significance of releases of drugs and chemicals at 
aquaculture facilities in the United States. However, the presence of, 
for example, residual antibiotics in the environment and in wild 
organisms near salmon net pens in the United States has been documented 
(Capone et al., 1996, as cited in Boxall et al., 2001 (DCN 61789)). EPA 
furthermore recognizes that general concerns with residual antibiotics 
and pesticides in the environment have been raised. Residual 
antibiotics and pesticides may pollute the water and immunize the 
organisms they are designed to control. The effects of these actions 
can be distributed well outside the original area of use (NOAA, 1999 
(DCN 31006)).
3. Pathogens
    CAAP facilities are not considered to be a significant source of 
pathogens that adversely affect human health (MacMillan et al., 2002 
(DCN 61608)). CAAP facilities culture cold-blooded animals (fish, 
crustaceans, molluscs, etc.) that are unlikely to harbor or foster 
pathogens that would adversely affect warm-blooded animals (e.g. 
humans) by causing disease (MacMillan et al., 2002 (DCN 61608)). CAAP 
facilities could become contaminated with such pathogens, e.g., wastes 
from warm-blooded animals contaminating CAAP facility waters or the 
source waters used by CAAP facilities, but this is not considered a 
substantial risk in the United States (MacMillan et al., 2002 (DCN 
61608)).
    It has been suggested that CAAP facilities may serve as sources of 
infectious disease transmission to wild populations of aquatic 
organisms. Such infectious diseases may include those from pathogens 
that are exotic to native ecosystems, as well as the much larger group 
from pathogenic microbes that already exist in wild fish populations. 
For example, wastes and escapement of infected shrimp from CAAP 
facilities is considered a potential pathway for wild shrimp exposure 
to viral diseases (JSA Shrimp Virus Work Group, 1997 (DCN 61561)). 
Blazer and LaPatra (2002; DCN 40361) cite several studies suggesting 
that CAAP facilities may have been sources of disease transmission to 
wild populations. An example they describe is that of the Asian 
tapeworm (Bothriocephaus acheilognathi) which was identified in North 
America in 1975 and became established in fish farms where golden 
shiners Notemigonus crysoleucas, fathead minnows Pimephales promelas, 
and grass carp were raised. They suggest that the more recent use of 
poeciliids such as mosquitofish Gambusia affinis for mosquito control, 
and possible releases of exotic fishes from aquaria, may have served as 
mechanisms for the introduction of this parasite into native fish in 
areas such as Hawaii. As described in Blazer and LaPatra (2002; DCN 
40361), Font and Tate (1994) found that native Hawaiian fish from 
streams where no exotic species were found were completely free of 
adult helminthes, including the Asian tapeworm. Conversely, in two 
rivers with exotic species, nematodes and Asian tapeworms were found in 
both the exotic species and the native fish (Blazer and LaPatra, 2002 
(DCN 40361)).
    Blazer and LaPatra's (2002; DCN 40361) discussion on the potential 
pathogen risks to wild fish populations from cultured fish also 
provided a summary of risks from viruses, such as infectious 
hematopietic necrosis virus (IHNV), infectious pancreatic necrosis 
virus (IPNV), and infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV), and bacteria, 
such as Edwardsiella ictaluri and Renibacterium salmoninarum. Although 
these viruses and bacteria are hazardous to wild fish populations, a 
causative association between CAAP facilities and disease outbreaks in 
wild populations was not clearly identified.
4. Non-Native (Exotic) Species
    Introductions of non-native, or exotic, aquatic organisms from CAAP 
facilities into the environment via intentional or accidental releases 
is another area of concern. The health of wild populations of aquatic 
animals can be affected by the release of cultured individuals or 
spawning products into the surrounding environment (NOAA, 1999 (DCN 
31006); Goldburg et al., 2001 (DCN 30788); Naylor et al., 2001 (DCN 
61335); Carlton, 2001 (DCN 61434); Volpe et al., 1999 (DCN 60611)). 
Concerns relate to potential impacts on native ecosystems and aquatic 
biota from disease, parasitism, interbreeding, and competition that may 
arise from the escaped organisms. Interbreeding among cultured and wild 
individuals, as well as competitive interactions between released 
populations and local wild populations can lead to declines in the wild 
populations (NOAA, 1999 (DCN 31006)).
    Escapement of Atlantic salmon from net pens in the Pacific Ocean 
has been documented. Since a reporting regulation was imposed in 1996, 
nearly 600,000 Atlantic salmon escaped in the state of Washington 
between 1996 and 1999 (Nash, 2001 (DCN 40149)). In 1997, 300,000 
Atlantic salmon escaped into Puget Sound when net pens were 
accidentally breached (Weber, 1997 (DCN 40151)). Atlantic salmon have 
also escaped from net pens in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2000, Atlantic 
salmon escaped from a net pen off the coast of Maine, when a boat 
slammed into the pen, causing a breach. Approximately 13,000 farmed 
salmon were released near one of the rivers where wild

[[Page 57912]]

Atlantic salmon are listed as endangered (Clancy, 2000 (DCN 40139)).
    Cultured aquatic animals have been released in the United States 
with adverse ecological impacts. Carp, introduced from Asia for food 
production and biological control, subsequently became established in 
rivers in the Mississippi River basin and compete with native fish. 
Non-native Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) now outnumber wild salmon in 
some spawning rivers; and non-native salmon that become established in 
the wild may increase pressure on endangered native salmon populations 
(Naylor et al., 2001 (DCN 61335)). Adverse impacts to native species 
may be of particular concern when the native species are endangered 
(NOAA, 1999 (DCN 31006)). Recently, authorities in New England have 
prohibited at one facility the use of non-North American strains of 
Atlantic salmon and genetically modified salmonids to protect a 
distinct population segment of federally-listed endangered species 
(EPA, 2002a; DCN 61728)). Thus, while EPA is not aware of studies that 
quantitatively characterize the overall significance of aquaculture's 
contribution to non-native species issues, the Agency believes, based 
upon the literature reviewed, that this is a potential area of concern 
for this sector.
5. Other Impacts
    Maintenance of the physical plant of aquaculture facilities can 
generate organic materials ``which may be retained in the surrounding 
waterbody. These materials can cause biological and physical alteration 
of the surrounding environment. This type of waste is not widely 
recognized, but can be quite severe'' (NOAA, 1999 (DCN 31006)). For 
example, cleaning organisms that foul nets from net pens can contribute 
solids, BOD, and nutrients although such inputs are generally produced 
over a short period of time. Cleaning algae from flow-through raceway 
walls and bottoms similarly generates pollutants in effluent. EPA 
solicits comments or data relating to these, or other potential areas 
of environmental impact.

B. Environmental Benefits Analysis

1. Environmental Endpoints Evaluated
    EPA anticipates that improvements in water quality will result from 
today's proposed action, and as a consequence, increases in both the 
recreational as well as the non-use value of affected water bodies will 
also result. This may include improvements in ecological and biological 
endpoints in receiving waters as a result of the expected water quality 
benefits of today's proposed action. Finally, today's proposed action 
provides better information on the use of drugs and other chemicals.
    EPA has quantified and monetized a subset of the anticipated 
benefits of today's proposed action due to lack of assessment modeling 
tools for some benefits categories. The central basis for the 
quantitative benefits analysis is a water quality modeling assessment 
that estimates water quality responses to the pollutant loading 
reductions under technology options described earlier in this Preamble. 
Specifically, the benefits that EPA has been able to quantify are (a) 
water quality improvements in stream reaches downstream of flow-through 
and recirculating systems, and (b) improvements in the recreational use 
value of these same reaches. Benefits that were not quantified include 
water quality and ecological responses to pollutant loading reductions 
at marine net-pen systems and at other coastal facilities such as 
Alaskan salmon hatcheries. Ecological and other water resource benefits 
from reductions in releases of non-native species, aquatic animal 
pathogens, and drugs and chemicals used at CAAP facilities may be only 
partially captured in the monetized benefits analysis. Thus, the 
estimated monetized benefits of today's proposed action may understate 
the potential benefits of the proposed regulation.
    As discussed at the end of the previous economic section, EPA 
estimates the monetized benefits of today's proposed rule for flow-
through and recirculating systems to range from $22,000 to $113,000 
based on an estimated 128 facilities. The range reflects uncertainty in 
assumed background water quality and stream flow conditions in 
receiving streams. Again, this estimated range does not include other 
potential benefits such as those from net pen systems and other coastal 
facilities. The following sections briefly describe the benefits 
analysis.
2. Water Quality Modeling Approach
    One approach to estimating water quality benefits of the proposed 
rule involves simulation of water quality responses at potentially 
regulated facilities and requires data on facility locations, baseline 
effluent quality for regulated facilities, and data characterizing the 
hydrologic and water quality conditions of the specific receiving 
waters at these facilities. At proposal, data inputs required for a 
detailed analysis were not available. Alternatively, EPA has developed 
a representative case study approach to estimate water quality-related 
benefits for model flow-through and recirculating facilities on a 
``prototype'' stream reach. Under this approach, ranges of hydrologic 
and water quality characteristics for a ``prototype'' stream reach 
associated with flow-through and recirculating systems were developed. 
These ranges were developed by (a) identifying a region where a 
relatively large number of CAAP facilities are located, and where 
streamflow, water quality, and facility location data are available, 
and (b) using these data to develop generalized background streamflow 
and water quality characteristics associated with the streams on which 
CAAP facilities in this region are located. EPA was able to identify 
sufficient data for facilities mainly in western North Carolina 
(Central/Eastern Forested Uplands ecoregion). The development of the 
``prototype'' stream reach characteristics is described in greater 
detail in the CAAP Economic Analysis (DCN 20141). The results of this 
case study may be of limited applicability to other ecoregions.
    EPA then modeled water quality responses under regulatory Option1/
Option 2 (for the purposes of this analysis, no additional pollutant 
reductions were assumed for Option 2) and Option 3 for flow-through and 
recirculating model facilities. The pollutant load reductions 
associated with these Options were described in Sections VII and VIII 
of this Preamble. The pollutant concentrations scenarios (Baseline, 
Option 1/Option 2, and Option 3) were each modeled for different 
species types and facility production sizes (medium and large). 
Finally, information from USDA's 1998 Census of Aquaculture (USDA, 
2000; DCN 60605) on the total number of facilities for each facility 
type was used to extrapolate the water quality results for the 
prototype case study to all flow-through and recirculating systems 
nationwide that fall under the scope of the proposed regulation.
    EPA used the QUAL2E (Enhanced Stream Water Quality) model to 
quantify water quality responses for 30 km downstream of modeled 
facilities. QUAL2E is a one-dimensional water quality model that 
assumes steady state flow but allows simulation of diurnal variations 
in temperature, algal photosynthesis, and respiration. The basic 
equation solves the advective-dispersive mass transport equation. Water 
quality constituents simulated include conservative substances, 
temperature, bacteria, BOD5, DO, ammonia, nitrate and organic nitrogen, 
phosphate and organic phosphorus, and

[[Page 57913]]

algae. Simulated changes in DO, BOD5, and TSS calculated for the 30 km 
downstream reach for pre- and post-regulatory scenarios were 
subsequently used to estimate monetary benefits from water quality 
improvements, as described below. Further details on the water quality 
modeling are provided in the CAAP Economic Analysis (DCN 60605).
3. Monetized Benefits
    Economic benefits associated with the CAAP regulatory options are 
based on incremental changes in water quality use-support (i.e., 
boatable, fishable, swimmable) and the population benefitting from the 
changes. A national contingent valuation survey relates changes in 
water quality uses supported to households' willingness to pay for 
water quality improvements (Carson and Mitchell, 1991). EPA used a 
single consolidated water quality index (WQI) to represent water 
quality. WQI is calculated from the water quality criteria estimated in 
the case studies discussed above (BOD, DO, TSS) and fecal coliforms 
which are not affected by today's regulation. Increases in WQI indicate 
improvements in water quality and the ability of the river to support 
more demanding uses. The Carson and Mitchell survey requested an 
overall value so the total willingness to pay based on their survey 
results encompasses aesthetic and non-use values, as well as 
recreational and other use values.
    The Carson and Mitchell survey found that people value changes in 
waters closer to home more than more distant waters. Because of data 
limitations, this evaluation could not distinguish between a local 
population directly affected by water quality improvements and the 
national population. Therefore, the analysis treated all of the changes 
in water quality as if they were occurring far from the households' 
locality. This simplification will reduce the monetized benefits 
attributable to today's rule. EPA solicits comment on additional 
methods for estimating and monetizing benefits.
    Different flow regimes in the model CAAP facilities resulted in a 
range of benefit estimates. As discussed above, data was only available 
at this time to estimate benefits of flow-through and recirculating 
systems. For this comparison, the monetized benefits are estimated to 
range from $22,000 to $113,000 (2000 dollars). Regulation of the 
relatively large number of trout flow-through systems generated the 
largest benefits by this method.

XI. Non-Water Quality Environmental Impacts

    Sections 304(b) and 306(b) of the Clean Water Act require EPA to 
consider non-water quality environmental impacts (including energy 
requirements) associated with effluent limitations guidelines and 
standards. To comply with these requirements, EPA considered the 
potential impact of the proposed CAAP rule on energy consumption, air 
emissions, and solid waste generation. Considering energy use and 
environmental impacts across all media, the Agency has determined that 
the impacts identified in this section are justified by the benefits 
associated with compliance with the proposed limitations and standards. 
In reference to today's proposal, Section XI.A discusses energy 
requirements, section XI.B discusses air emissions, and section XI.C 
discusses sludge generation.

A. Energy Requirements

    EPA estimates that implementation of today's proposal would result 
in a net increase in energy consumption for aquaculture facilities. The 
incremental increase would be based on electricity used to operate 
wastewater treatment equipment at facilities that are not currently 
operating wastewater treatment equipment (microscreen filters for flow-
through and recirculating systems and video cameras for net pens) 
comparable to the regulatory options. To calculate incremental energy 
consumption increases for the aquaculture industry, EPA examined the 
wastewater treatment in place at the aquaculture facilities that would 
be covered by this regulation. EPA used the aquaculture industry cost 
models (described in section VII) to calculate the energy that would be 
required to operate wastewater treatment equipment that would be 
installed to comply with regulatory options. EPA used the information 
obtained in the screener survey to determine if a facility would have 
to install new equipment.
    EPA determined that the incremental increase in energy consumption 
for flow-through and recirculating systems is estimated at 232,000 kWh 
and 64,500 kWh for net pen systems.

B. Air Emissions Impacts

    Potential sources of air emissions from CAAP facilities include 
primary settling operations (e.g., settling basins and lagoons) and the 
land application of manure. EPA assumed that the additional air 
emissions from primary settling operations would be minimal because 
only about 10% of in-scope flow-through and recirculating CAAP 
facilities (estimated from the AAP screener survey data and the 1998 
Census of Aquaculture) would require the addition of primary settling 
to meet Option 1 requirements. Primary settling treatment technologies 
collect solids below the surface of the water, reducing their exposure 
to the atmosphere. Although the proposed options do not require land 
application of manure, the options do increase the amount of solid 
waste collected from CAAP facilities. Land application is a common 
solid waste disposal method in the CAAP industry; therefore, the amount 
of ammonia released as air emissions would be expected to increase as 
the quantity of waste applied to cropland increases. EPA estimated the 
increase in ammonia emissions resulting from the implementation of each 
proposed regulatory option to be 42,470 lbs of ammonia per year. This 
is an increase of about 9.4% over the ammonia emissions presently 
estimated for the industry. For additional details about air emissions 
from CAAP facilities, see Chapter 11 of the CAAP Development Document 
(DCN 61552).

C. Solid Waste Generation

    EPA considered regulatory options based on primary settling 
followed by solids polishing (e.g., microscreen filtration, vegetated 
ditches). EPA estimated the incremental sludge generation from the 
treatment options in a manner similar to estimating the energy 
consumption incremental amounts. EPA estimated that sludge generation 
would not increase at facilities that are currently operating treatment 
systems comparable to the regulatory options. EPA used the cost models 
to estimate the incremental sludge generation rates for facilities not 
currently operating wastewater treatment and for facilities operating 
wastewater treatment not comparable to the regulatory operations.
    EPA calculated the volume of sludge that would be generated by the 
183 in-scope flow-through and recirculating facilities after 
implementation of the regulatory options. The sludge volume estimated, 
on a wet basis (assuming 5% solids), would be an additional 856,576 
pounds at Option 1 and an additional1,788,194 pounds at Option 3.

[[Page 57914]]

XII. Implementation

A. Regulatory Implementation of Part 451 Through the NPDES Permit 
Program and the National Pretreatment Program

    Under sections 301, 304, 306 and 307 of the CWA, EPA promulgates 
national effluent limitations guidelines and standards of performance 
for major industrial categories for three classes of pollutants: (1) 
Conventional pollutants (i.e., total suspended solids, oil and grease, 
biochemical oxygen demand, fecal coliform, and pH); (2) toxic 
pollutants (e.g., toxic metals such as chromium, lead, nickel, and 
zinc; toxic organic pollutants such as benzene, benzo-a-pyrene, phenol, 
and naphthalene); and (3) non-conventional pollutants (e.g., ammonia-N, 
formaldehyde, and phosphorus).
    As discussed in Section II, EPA considers development of six types 
of effluent limitations guidelines and standards for each major 
industrial category, as appropriate:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Effluent limitation guideline or
             Abbreviation                           standard
------------------------------------------------------------------------
BPT...................................  Best Practicable Control
                                         Technology Currently Available.
BAT...................................  Best Available Technology
                                         Economically Achievable.
BCT...................................  Best Control Technology for
                                         Conventional Pollutants.
NSPS..................................  New Source Performance
                                         Standards.
PSES..................................  Pretreatment Standards for
                                         Existing Sources.
PSNS..................................  Pretreatment Standards for New
                                         Sources.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pretreatment standards apply to industrial facilities with 
wastewater discharges to POTWs. The effluent limitations guidelines and 
new source performance standards apply to industrial facilities with 
direct discharges to navigable waters.
1. NPDES Permit Program
    Section 402 of the CWA establishes the National Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. The NPDES permit program is 
designed to limit the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters of 
the United States through a combination of various requirements 
including technology-based and water quality-based effluent 
limitations. This proposed regulation contains the technology-based 
effluent limitations guidelines and standards applicable to the 
concentrated aquatic animal production industry to be used by permit 
writers to derive NPDES permit technology-based effluent limitations. 
Water quality-based effluent limitations (WQBELs) are based on 
receiving water characteristics and ambient water quality standards, 
including designated water uses. They are derived independently from 
the technology-based effluent limitations set out in this proposed 
regulation. The CWA requires that NPDES permits must contain for a 
given discharge, the more stringent of the applicable technology-based 
and water quality-based effluent limitations.
    Section 402(a)(1) of the CWA provides that in the absence of 
promulgated effluent limitations guidelines or standards, the 
Administrator, or her designee, may establish technology-based effluent 
limitations for specific dischargers on a case-by-case basis. Federal 
NPDES permit regulations provide that these limits may be established 
using ``best professional judgment'' (BPJ) taking into account any 
proposed effluent limitations guidelines and standards and other 
relevant scientific, technical and economic information.
    Section 301 of the CWA, as amended by the Water Quality Act of 
1987, requires that BAT effluent limitations for toxic pollutants are 
to have been achieved as expeditiously as possible, but not later than 
three years from date of promulgation of such limitations and in no 
case later than March 31, 1989. See 301(b)(2). Because the proposed 
revisions to 40 CFR Part 451 will be promulgated after March 31, 1989, 
NPDES permit effluent limitations based on the revised effluent 
limitations guidelines must be included in the next NPDES permit issued 
after promulgation of the regulation and the permit must require 
immediate compliance.
2. New Source Performance Standards
    New sources must comply with the new source performance standards 
and limitations of the CAAP rule (once it is finalized) at the time 
they commence discharging CAAP process wastewater. Because the final 
rule is not expected within 120 days of the proposed rule, the Agency 
considers a discharger a new source if construction of the source 
begins after promulgation of the final rule. EPA expects to take final 
action on this proposal in June 2004.
3. Pollutants in Intake Water (Net limitations)
    The TSS limitations being proposed today are based on the 
implementation of production management controls and wastewater 
treatment. Depending upon the quality of the intake water and the 
specific needs and tolerance of the species being raised, some 
facilities may or may not currently employ pre-treatment of intake 
waters prior to their use in the production systems. EPA does not 
intend that the limits being established today would force facilities 
that otherwise would not be pre-treating their intake waters to do so. 
EPA is proposing to apply the TSS limitations on a net basis, such that 
the TSS content of the intake waters is subtracted from the TSS content 
of the effluent in determining compliance with the limitation. This 
credit for intake water pollutant content is consistent with the 
provisions of 40 CFR 122.45(g) and more closely reflects the ability of 
controls and treatment to minimize the addition of TSS by the 
production systems. EPA solicits comment on whether facilities that 
pre-treat intake waters in order to sustain growth of the aquatic 
organisms should base the net calculations upon the content of the 
intake waters subsequent to that pre-treatment, but prior to use in the 
production system.
4. National Pretreatment Standards
    40 CFR part 403 sets out national pretreatment standards which have 
three principal objectives: (1) To prevent the introduction of 
pollutants into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) that will 
interfere with POTW operations including use or disposal of municipal 
sludge; (2) to prevent the introduction of pollutants into POTWs which 
will pass through the treatment works or will otherwise be incompatible 
with the treatment works; and (3) to improve opportunities to recycle 
and reclaim municipal and industrial wastewaters and sludges.
    The national pretreatment and categorical standards comprise a 
series of prohibited discharges to prevent the discharge of ``any 
pollutant(s) which cause Pass Through or Interference.'' [see 40 CFR 
403.5(a)(1)] Local control authorities are required to implement the 
national pretreatment program including application of the federal 
categorical pretreatment standards to their industrial users that are 
subject to such categorical pretreatment standards, as well as any 
pretreatment standards derived locally (i.e., local limits) that are 
more restrictive than the federal standards. This proposed regulation 
does not set federal categorical pretreatment standards (PSES and PSNS) 
applicable to concentrated aquatic animal production facilities 
regulated by 40 CFR part 451.
    The federal categorical pretreatment standards for existing sources 
must be achieved not later than three years

[[Page 57915]]

following the date of publication of the final standards. If EPA were 
to promulgate PSNS in the final rule, CAAP new sources would be 
required to comply with the new source performance standards of the 
CAAP rule (once it is finalized) at the time they commence discharging 
CAAP process wastewater. Because the final rule is not expected within 
120 days of the proposed rule, the Agency considers an indirect 
discharger a new source if its construction commences following 
promulgation of the final rule (40 CFR 122.2; 40 CFR 403.3). EPA 
expects to take final action on this proposal in June 2004.
    In addition, Section 403.7 of the Clean Water Act provides the 
criteria and procedures to be used by a Control Authority to grant a 
categorical industrial user (CIU) variance from a pollutant limit 
specified in a categorical pretreatment standard to reflect removal by 
the POTW treatment plant of the pollutant. Procedures for granting 
removal credits are specified in 40 CFR 403.11.

B. Upset and Bypass Provisions

    A ``bypass'' is an intentional diversion of the streams from any 
portion of a treatment facility. An ``upset'' is an exceptional 
incident in which there is unintentional and temporary noncompliance 
with technology-based permit effluent limitations because of factors 
beyond the reasonable control of the permittee. EPA's regulations 
concerning bypasses and upsets for direct dischargers are set forth at 
40 CFR 122.41(m) and (n) and for indirect dischargers at 40 CFR 403.16 
and 403.17.

C. Variances and Modifications

    The CWA requires application of effluent limitations established 
pursuant to Section 301 or pretreatment standards of Section 307 to all 
direct and indirect dischargers. However, the statute provides for the 
modification of these national requirements in a limited number of 
circumstances. Moreover, the Agency has established administrative 
mechanisms to provide an opportunity for relief from the application of 
the national effluent limitations guidelines and pretreatment standards 
for categories of existing sources for toxic, conventional, and 
nonconventional pollutants.
1. Fundamentally Different Factors Variances
    EPA, with the concurrence of the State, may develop effluent 
limitations or standards different from the otherwise applicable 
requirements if an individual discharging facility is fundamentally 
different with respect to factors considered in establishing the 
limitation of standards applicable to the individual facility. Such a 
modification is known as a ``fundamentally different factors'' (FDF) 
variance. Early on, EPA, by regulation provided for the FDF 
modifications from the BCT effluent limitations, BAT limitations for 
toxic and nonconventional pollutants and BPT limitations for 
conventional pollutants for direct dischargers. For indirect 
dischargers, EPA provided for FDF modifications from pretreatment 
standards. FDF variances for toxic pollutants were challenged 
judicially and ultimately sustained by the Supreme Court. (Chemical 
Manufacturers Assn v. NRDC, 479 U.S. 116 (1985)).
    Subsequently, in the Water Quality Act of 1987, Congress added new 
section 301(n) of the Act explicitly to authorize modifications of the 
otherwise applicable BAT effluent limitations or categorical 
pretreatment standards for existing sources if a facility is 
fundamentally different with respect to the factors specified in 
section 304 (other than costs) from those considered by EPA in 
establishing the effluent limitations or pretreatment standard. Section 
301(n) also defined the conditions under which EPA may establish 
alternative requirements. Under section 301(n), an application for 
approval of a FDF variance must be based solely on (1) information 
submitted during rulemaking raising the factors that are fundamentally 
different or (2) information the applicant did not have an opportunity 
to submit. The alternate limitation or standard must be no less 
stringent than justified by the difference and must not result in 
markedly more adverse non-water quality environmental impacts than the 
national limitation or standard.
    EPA regulations at 40 CFR part 125, subpart D, authorizing the 
Regional Administrators to establish alternative limitations and 
standards, further detail the substantive criteria used to evaluate FDF 
variance requests for direct dischargers. Thus, 40 CFR 125.31(d) 
identifies six factors (e.g., volume of process wastewater, age and 
size of a discharger's facility) that may be considered in determining 
if a facility is fundamentally different. The Agency must determine 
whether, on the basis of one or more of these factors, the facility in 
question is fundamentally different from the facilities and factors 
considered by EPA in developing the nationally applicable effluent 
guidelines. The regulation also lists four other factors (e.g., 
infeasibility of installation within the time allowed or a discharger's 
ability to pay) that may not provide a basis for an FDF variance. In 
addition, under 40 CFR 125.31(b) (3), a request for limitations less 
stringent than the national limitation may be approved only if 
compliance with the national limitations would result in either (a) a 
removal cost wholly out of proportion to the removal cost considered 
during development of the national limitations, or (b) a non-water 
quality environmental impact (including energy requirements) 
fundamentally more adverse than the impact considered during 
development of the national limits. EPA regulations provide for an FDF 
variance for indirect dischargers at 40 CFR 403.13. The conditions for 
approval of a request to modify applicable pretreatment standards and 
factors considered are the same as those for direct dischargers.
    The legislative history of Section 301(n) underscores the necessity 
for the FDF variance applicant to establish eligibility for the 
variance. EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 125.32(b)(1) are explicit in 
imposing this burden upon the applicant. The applicant must show that 
the factors relating to the discharge controlled by the applicant's 
permit which are claimed to be fundamentally different are, in fact, 
fundamentally different from those factors considered by EPA in 
establishing the applicable guidelines. The criteria for applying for 
and evaluating applications for variances from categorical pretreatment 
standards are included in the pretreatment regulations at 40 CFR 
403.13(h)(9). In practice, very few FDF variances have been granted for 
past ELGs. An FDF variance is not available to a new source subject to 
NSPS or PSNS.
2. Economic Variances
    Section 301(c) of the CWA authorizes a variance from the otherwise 
applicable BAT effluent guidelines for nonconventional pollutants due 
to economic factors. The request for a variance from effluent 
limitations developed from BAT guidelines must normally be filed by the 
discharger during the public notice period for the draft permit. Other 
filing time periods may apply, as specified in 40 CFR 122.21(1)(2). 
Specific guidance for this type of variance is available from EPA's 
Office of Wastewater Management. For the proposed rule, this variance 
is not applicable since BAT equals BPT.
3. Water Quality Variances
    Section 301(g) of the CWA authorizes a variance from BAT effluent 
guidelines for certain nonconventional pollutants

[[Page 57916]]

due to localized environmental factors. These pollutants include 
ammonia, chlorine, color, iron, and total phenols. For the proposed 
rule, this variance is not applicable since BAT equals BPT and none of 
the above authorized pollutants are being proposed for regulation for 
this industry.

D. Best Management Practices

    Sections 304(e), 308(a), 402(a), and 501(a) of the CWA authorize 
the Administrator to prescribe BMPs as part of effluent limitations 
guidelines and standards or as part of a permit. EPA's BMP regulations 
are found at 40 CFR 122.44(k). Section 304(e) of the CWA authorizes EPA 
to include BMPs in effluent limitations guidelines for certain toxic or 
hazardous pollutants for the purpose of controlling ``plant site 
runoff, spillage or leaks, sludge or waste disposal, and drainage from 
raw material storage.'' Section 402(a)(1) and NPDES regulations [40 CFR 
122.44(k)] also provide for best management practices to control or 
abate the discharge of pollutants when numeric limitations and 
standards are infeasible. In addition, Section 402(a)(2), read in 
concert with Section 501(a), authorizes EPA to prescribe as wide a 
range of permit conditions as the Administrator deems appropriate in 
order to ensure compliance with applicable effluent limitations and 
standards and such other requirements as the Administrator deems 
appropriate.
    The solids control best management plan includes components that 
are designed to minimize the discharge of solids from the facility. The 
goal of this plan is to control conventional and nutrient pollutants in 
the discharge. The CAAP facility is expected to provide written 
documentation of a best management plan and keep necessary records to 
establish and implement the plan. This type of regulatory structure 
will enable the individual facility operator to develop a plan tailored 
to the unique conditions at the CAAP facility, which reduces the 
discharge of pollutants consistent with the goals of the Clean Water 
Act. See CAAP Development Document for this proposed rule for a 
detailed discussion of pollution prevention and best management 
practices used in the CAAP industry.

E. Potential Tools To Assist With the Remediation of Aquaculture 
Effluents

    A potential option to assist land owners with aquaculture effluent 
quality is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This is 
a voluntary USDA conservation program. EQIP was reauthorized in the 
Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill 2002). The 
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP funds.
    EQIP applications are accepted throughout the year. NRCS evaluates 
each application using a state and locally developed evaluation 
process. Incentive payments may be made to encourage a producer to 
adopt land management, manure management, integrated pest management, 
irrigation water management and wildlife habitat management practices 
or to develop a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP). These 
practices would provide beneficial effects on reducing sediment and 
nutrient loads to those aquaculture operations dependent on surface 
water flows. In addition, opportunities exist to provide EQIP funds to 
foster the adoption of innovative cost effective approaches to address 
a broad base of conservation needs, including aquaculture effluent 
remediation.

XIII. Administrative Requirements

A. Executive Order 12866: ``Regulatory Planning and Review''

    Under Executive Order 12866 [58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993], the 
Agency must determine whether the regulatory action is ``significant'' 
and therefore subject to OMB review and the requirements of the 
Executive Order. The Order defines ``significant regulatory action'' as 
one that is likely to result in a rule that may:
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or 
adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the 
economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public 
health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or 
communities;
    (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
the Executive Order.''
    It has been determined that this proposed rule is a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under the terms of Executive Order 12866. As such, 
this action was submitted to OMB for review. Changes made in response 
to OMB suggestions or recommendations are documented in the public 
record.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) as Amended by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.

    The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment 
rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any 
other statute unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions.
    For purposes of assessing the impacts of today's rule on small 
entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small business that has no 
more than $0.75 million in annual revenues; (2) a small governmental 
jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school 
district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and 
(3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.
    After considering the economic impact of today's proposed rule on 
small entities, including consideration of alternative regulatory 
approaches being proposed, I certify that this action will not have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
We have determined that 17small commercial facilities (which represents 
5 percent of the total small CAAPs or 47% of small CAAPs within the 
scope of the rule), would incur compliance costs greater than 1 percent 
of aquaculture revenue and 10 small commerical facilities (which 
represents less than 3 percent of the total small CAAPs or 28% of small 
CAAPs within the scope of the rule) would incur compliance costs 
greater than 3 percent of aquaculture revenue. Of the 10 small 
regulated CAAPs incurring costs in excess of 3 percent of revenues, the 
highest impact is at 7 percent of revenues. EPA estimates that small 
businesses own 36 facilities out of the 56 commercial facilities 
identified from the screener survey data as being within the proposed 
scope EPA based this estimate on information from the screener survey 
and the 1998 Census of Aquaculture as described in Section IV. EPA 
assumed that there were no multi-facility small businesses and that 
aquatic animal production was the only source of revenues for a 
facility. For this proposal, EPA is using the ratio of pre-tax 
annualized compliance costs to revenues (hereafter referred to as a 
revenue test) as its preliminary

[[Page 57917]]

determination of economic achievability in advance of detailed survey 
data (see Section IX for discussion). (More detail on these estimates 
is provided in the EA).
    We have also determined that three of the six non-profit 
associations for which EPA had reported revenue data would incur 
compliance costs greater than 1 percent of revenue and one association 
would incur compliance costs greater than 3 percent of revenue. Non-
profit organizations produce salmon for the State of Alaska and are 
considered to be small non-profit organizations for the purpose of this 
rulemaking. These non-profit facilities have assumed what is usually a 
State function, which is to raise fish (in this case salmon) in 
hatcheries to be released into the wild to supplement wild populations 
and sustain the Alaska commercial and recreational fishing industries. 
EPA identified 12 small Alaskan nonprofit facilities, owned by 8 
nonprofit associations, within the proposed scope. These facilities 
raise salmon in flow-through hatcheries and as discussed above we 
propose to establish requirements for flow-through facilities with 
annual production greater than 100,000.
    Despite the determination that this rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, 
EPA prepared a small business flexibility analysis that examines the 
impact of the proposed rule on small entities along with regulatory 
alternatives that could reduce that impact. This small business 
flexibility analysis would meet the requirements for an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) and is available for review in 
the docket and is summarized below.
    The Agency is considering this action because the operation of CAAP 
facilities may introduce a variety of pollutants into receiving waters. 
Under some conditions, these pollutants can be harmful to the 
environment. According to the 1998 USDA Census of Aquaculture (USDA, 
2000), there are approximately 4,200 commercial aquatic animal 
production (AAP) facilities in the United States that qualify as small 
businesses. Aquaculture has been among the fastest-growing sectors of 
agriculture until a recent slowdown that began several years ago caused 
by declining or level growth among producers of several major species. 
EPA analysis indicates that many CAAP facilities have treatment 
technologies in place that greatly reduce pollutant loads. However, in 
the absence of treatment, pollutant loads from individual CAAP 
facilities such as those covered by today's proposed rule, can 
contribute up to several thousand pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus per 
year, and tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds of TSS per year (see 
CAAP Economic Analysis). These pollutants, can contribute to 
eutrophication and other aquatic ecosystem responses to excess nutrient 
loads and BOD effects. In recent years, Illinois, Louisiana, North 
Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia have cited the 
AAP industry as a potential or contributing source of impairment to 
water bodies (EPA, 2000). Several state authorities have set water 
quality based permit requirements for CAAP facilities in addition to 
technology based limits based on BPJ (EPA, 2002b).
    Another area of potential concern relates to non-native species 
introductions from CAAP facilities, which may pose risks to native 
fishery resources and wild native aquatic species from the 
establishment of escaped individuals (Hallerman and Kapuscinski, 1992; 
Carlton, 2001; Volpe et al., 2000). CAAP facilities also employ a range 
of drugs and chemicals used both therapeutically that may be released 
into receiving waters. For some investigational drugs, as well as for 
certain applications of approved drugs, there is a concern that further 
information is needed to fully evaluate risks to ecosystems and human 
health associated with their use in some situations (EPA, 2002). 
Finally, CAAP facilities also may inadvertently introduce pathogens 
into receiving waters, with potential impacts on native biota. Today's 
proposed rule attempts to address a number of these environmental 
concerns. These regulations are proposed under the authority of 
sections 301, 304, 306, 308, 402, and 501 of the Clean Water Act, 33 
U.S.C.1311, 1314, 1316, 1318, 1342, and 1361.
    The small entities that would be directly regulated by this 
proposed rule are small commercial CAAP facilities and non-profit 
organizations that produce salmon for the State of Alaska. EPA 
estimates that small businesses own 36 facilities out ofthe 56 
commercial facilities identified from the screener survey data as 
within the proposed scope. We have determined that 17 small commercial 
facilities (which represents 5 percent of the total small CAAPFs) would 
incur compliance costs greater than 1 percent of aquaculture revenue 
and 10 small commercial facilities (which represents less than 3 
percent of the total small CAAPFs) would incur compliance costs greater 
than 3 percent of aquaculture revenue. EPA identified 12 small Alaskan 
nonprofit facilities, owned by 8 nonprofit associations, within the 
proposed scope. We have determined that three of the six associations 
for which EPA had reported revenue data would incur compliance costs 
greater than 1 percent of revenue and one association would incur 
compliance costs greater than 3 percent of revenue.
    The proposed regulation includes reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements as discussed in this section under Paperwork Reduction 
Act.
    EPA identified Federal rules that have an impact on the CAAP 
industry and believe that there are no such rules that would duplicate, 
overlap or conflict with the proposed rule. EPA has identified two sets 
of Federal rules, however, the implementation of which would be 
supplemented by the proposed requirements in today's notice--
specifically, the reporting requirements proposed for certain drugs and 
chemicals. Today's rule would require reporting of investigational new 
animal drugs and any drug that is not used according to label 
requirements. Regulations administered by the Food and Drug 
Administration published at 21 CFR part 511 impose restrictions on such 
usage, but typically do not require reporting of the usage after 
discharge to waters of the United States. Similarly, today's rule would 
require reporting of the usage (and discharge) of chemicals when such 
usage does not comply with label requirements. Some such chemicals 
would be pesticides subject to regulatory requirements under the 
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which is 
administered by EPA. EPA has not published FIFRA requirements to 
require the reporting proposed today for CAAP facilities.
    EPA invites comment on whether there are other Federal rules that 
may duplicate, overlap or conflict with the proposed rule.
    EPA has tried to reduce the impact of this rule on small entities. 
EPA is proposing production thresholds that would minimize 
disproportionate economic impacts on small entities. EPA is not 
proposing any new requirements for 95 percent of the small entities 
producing aquatic animals (including facilities that are not defined as 
CAAP facilities) or 86 percent of the small CAAPFs identified in the 
screener data. Most of these are owned by small businesses and would 
likely experience serious economic impacts if requirements were 
imposed. EPA considered regulating all facilities that met the 
definition of a CAAP facility but concluded that the potential for 
impacts was great enough that CAAP facilities

[[Page 57918]]

which produce cold-water species with an annual production less than 
100,000 pounds should not be subject to the proposed effluent 
guidelines. EPA determined that even proposing the least stringent 
option (Option 1) standards for these direct dischargers would have had 
a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, see 
Section VIII and IX.
    Additionally, we conducted outreach to small entities and convened 
a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel to obtain the advice and 
recommendations of representatives of the small entities that 
potentially would be subject to the rule's requirements. The Agency 
convened the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel on January 22, 2002. 
Members of the Panel represented the Office of Management and Budget, 
the Small Business Administration and EPA. The Panel met with small 
entity representatives (SERs) to discuss the potential effluent 
guidelines and, in addition to the oral comments from SERs, the Panel 
solicited written input. In the months preceding the Panel process, EPA 
conducted outreach with small entities that would potentially be 
affected by this regulation. On January 25, 2002, the SBAR Panel sent 
some initial information for the SERs to review and provide comment. On 
February 6, 2002 the SBAR Panel distributed additional information to 
the SERs for their review. On February 12 and 13, the Panel met with 
SERs to hear their comments on the information distributed in these 
mailings. The Panel also received written comments from the SERs in 
response to the discussions at this meeting and the outreach materials. 
The Panel asked SERs to evaluate how they would be affected and to 
provide advice and recommendations regarding early ideas to provide 
flexibility. See Section 8 of the Panel Report for a complete 
discussion of SER comments.
    The Panel evaluated the assembled materials and small-entity 
comments on issues related to the elements of the IRFA. A copy of the 
Panel report is included in the docket for this proposed rule [DCN 
31019]. The Panel's most significant findings and discussion with 
respect to each of these issues are summarized below. For a full 
discussion of the Panel findings and recommendations, see Section 9 of 
the Panel report.
    Scope: Based on the data provided by EPA, the Panel was concerned 
that small facilities could not afford technology-based discharge 
limitations. For those facilities that do not meet the NPDES permit 
applicability thresholds, the Panel strongly recommended that EPA not 
lower these thresholds or otherwise change the definition of a point 
source for this industry. For those that do meet the threshold but are 
still considered small entities, the Panel recommended that EPA exclude 
them from the scope of the proposed guidelines.
    EPA Response: EPA is not proposing effluent guidelines for 
facilities that do not meet the definition of a CAAP facility under the 
NPDES permit program or modifying the definition of a point source. 
Furthermore, EPA is not proposing effluent guidelines requirements for 
any small CAAP facilities which produce cold water species between less 
than 100,000 pounds annually or any CAAP facilities which use pond 
systems. As described above EPA certifies that this proposal will not 
impose a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
EPA is regulating small business above the threshold because further 
analysis reveals best available technologies that are affordable.
    Pond Systems: The Panel agreed that pond systems producing any 
species as foodfish, stockers, sportfish, or baitfish did not pose any 
significant risk to water quality or have technologies available that 
were economically achievable to control their minimal discharges, and 
thus recommended excluding them from the scope of the proposed 
guidelines. For large pond systems, except for perhaps those which 
rapidly drain for harvest, the Panel recommended that EPA not adopt any 
requirements related to sediment discharge, erosion, nutrients, or feed 
management, as the measures considered are either impractical, not 
economically achievable, or would result in minimal pollutant 
reductions. EPA is still exploring requirements for drugs, chemicals, 
aquatic pathogens and exotic species, but based on information 
developed to date, the Panel believed it unlikely that the measures 
that have been identified so far would be effective in addressing these 
concerns. The Panel thus recommended that EPA continue its research, 
but that it carefully evaluate any potential measures to ensure that 
they are both effective and economically achievable before including 
them in proposed guidelines. Unless EPA identified such measures, the 
Panel recommended that EPA exclude all ponds from coverage under the 
proposed guidelines.
    EPA Response: EPA followed this Panel recommendation.
    Flow-through and Recirculating Systems: Because of their diversity 
and/or the preliminary cost information, the Panel recommended that EPA 
carefully consider economic achievability and technical feasibility 
before proposing any regulation for these types of systems. If no 
feasible and economically achievable technologies are identified, EPA 
should exclude them from the scope of the proposed guidelines. In 
particular, the Panel was concerned about Alaska Salmon facilities and 
recommended that EPA carefully consider not proposing requirements for 
them.
    EPA Response: EPA's analysis of flow-through systems including the 
salmon non-profit facilities in Alaska support the decision to propose 
technology based requirements for the medium and large flow-through 
systems. EPA is proposing to exclude from this regulation salmon net 
pen production in the State of Alaska for the reasons stated previously 
in Section V.B. EPA's analysis indicates that the medium sized 
facilities cannot afford to achieve the same effluent limitations as 
larger flow-through facilities and therefore, EPA proposes to establish 
tiered requirements for the flow-through subcategory based on 
production thresholds. EPA believes that the proposed requirements for 
recirculating systems are also technically feasible and economically 
achievable.
    Net Pen Systems: SERs identified practical limitations and raised 
concerns about the cost effectiveness of the measures under 
consideration, and so the Panel recommended that EPA consider these 
concerns before including them in proposed national effluent 
guidelines.
    EPA Response: EPA considers the proposed net pen system 
requirements (BMPs, reporting, and active feed monitoring) to be cost 
effective and economically achievable.
    Other Systems: The Panel recommended that EPA exclude aquaria, 
baitfish, and molluscan shellfish production from the scope of proposed 
guidelines, unless new information prompted EPA to reconsider. For 
ornamentals, the Panel recommended against inclusion unless drug or 
chemical use or the release of non-native species is found to pose a 
significant environmental risk and EPA identifies effective 
economically achievable technologies to address them. As for alligator 
systems, the Panel was concerned about the survival of the species and 
thus recommended that EPA analyze the impacts on wild species and 
consider such effects in its selection of options.
    EPA Response: EPA is not proposing to establish effluent guidelines 
requirements for any pond systems, which are the most common systems

[[Page 57919]]

used to produce baitfish and ornamentals. EPA does not believe 
alligator producers are CAAP facilities and therefore would not be 
subject to these proposed requirements. EPA is also proposing to 
exclude aquaria from this regulation as described in Section V.B.
    Health Management and Feed Management: The Panel was persuaded by 
the SER comments and recommended that the proposed guidelines not 
include any requirements related to animal health maintenance or feed 
management. The only exception was for net pens, for which EPA is 
proposing feed management requirements as described previously. The 
Panel also agreed that EPA should consider providing guidance on 
appropriate health and feed management practices.
    EPA Response: EPA is not proposing to impose any requirement 
related to health management for any facilities. EPA does not propose 
feed management for flow-through and recirculating systems, except to 
identify and implement practices that minimize the addition of excess 
feed should facilities choose to comply with the alternative compliance 
provision (40 CFR 451.4). Also for flow-through facilities that have 
bulk flow discharged separately from the off-line settling, the bulk 
flow is subject to BMPs to minimize solids including excess feed. 
Active feed monitoring would be required for net pen systems.
    Settling Basins: The Panel recommended, based on SER comments, that 
limitations based on the use of settling basins not be included in the 
proposed guidelines at pond-based systems that utilize slow, controlled 
drainage techniques. For other systems, the Panel recommended that any 
requirements related to solids removal be flexible enough to 
accommodate facilities where settling basins are not a viable option. 
Similarly, the Panel was persuaded that numeric sediment limits were 
not appropriate for pond systems. For other systems, the Panel 
recommended that EPA provide alternative requirements, such as BMPs, in 
lieu of numeric limitations. Finally, the Panel recommended that any 
monitoring requirements included in the effluent guidelines be kept to 
a minimum and limited only to where useful to the operator.
    EPA Response: EPA is not proposing to establish any requirements 
for pond systems. EPA is proposing to establish limits for TSS based on 
sediment control such as settling basins for medium and large flow-
through and recirculating systems, however, facilities are not 
constrained to construct and use settling basins in order to comply 
with the requirements. The Agency also proposes to provide an 
alternative compliance provision which would allow producers to comply 
with this regulation through the development and implementation of a 
BMP plan instead of numerical limitations.
    Groundwater Protection, Disinfection and Manure Application: The 
Panel was persuaded by SER comments on groundwater protection, 
disinfection, and land application of manure and recommended that EPA 
not include any requirements for these topics.
    EPA Response: EPA followed this Panel recommendation.
    Microfiltration: The Panel was also concerned about the economic 
achievability of limitations based either on microfiltration or 
chemical precipitation and thus recommended that EPA reconsider any 
such requirement. The Panel also recommended that any requirements 
related to solids removal be flexible enough to accommodate facilities 
where these technologies are not economically achievable.
    EPA Response: EPA is proposing to establish effluent limits for TSS 
based on the performance of microfiltration, but only for large flow-
through systems and recirculating systems. But these limitations do not 
preclude the use of other technologies or practices to comply with 
these limitations. EPA has estimated the cost of applying 
microfiltration and found limitations to be economically achievable for 
large flow-through and recirculating systems. EPA is proposing to 
provide a compliance alternative that would allow facilities to develop 
and implement a BMP plan in lieu of complying with the numeric 
limitations.
    Quiescent Zones: SERs raised compelling concerns about implementing 
quiescent zones in existing earthen raceways and thus the Panel 
recommended that EPA re-evaluate the need for and practicability of 
such a requirement. The Panel also recommended that any requirements 
related to solids removal be flexible enough to accommodate facilities 
where quiescent zones are not a viable option.
    EPA Response: EPA is not proposing any requirements for the 
smallest flow-through facilities which are the facilities most likely 
to be earthen. The proposed limitations for TSS for the medium and 
large flow-through facilities are based on the application of quiescent 
zones and off-line settling, but facilities may use other technologies 
to achieve the limitations and may comply through the development and 
implementation of a BMP plan in lieu of complying with the numeric 
limitations.
    Pathogens: The Panel questioned whether national effluent 
guidelines would provide any additional environmental protection 
relative to existing practice. The Panel thus recommended that EPA 
address pathogen concerns through guidance rather than through effluent 
guidelines requirements, unless subsequent analysis identifies control 
strategies that can be effectively implemented through national 
effluent guidelines that would be economically achievable for affected 
facilities.
    EPA Response: EPA is not proposing any specific requirements for 
the control of pathogens. Control of diseases is managed by the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture's, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. 
This proposal would require large flow-through and other facilities to 
establish practices as part of their BMP plan that address removing 
mortalities from the system and properly disposing of them. This 
provision should minimize the potential for discharging pathogens.
    Drugs and Chemicals: The Panel found that drug and chemical use is 
in most cases already adequately regulated, and was unable to identify 
any particular technology or BMP that would be broadly applicable or 
effective in addressing concerns related to discharge of drugs or 
chemicals. Thus, unless subsequent analysis identifies control 
strategies that can be effectively implemented through national 
effluent guidelines that would be economically achievable for the 
affected facilities, the Panel recommended that EPA address concerns 
regarding the discharge of drugs and chemicals through guidance rather 
than through effluent guidelines requirements.
    EPA Response: EPA proposes to require regulated facilities to 
report to the permitting authority the use of a drug or chemical that 
is an investigational new animal drug, and any drug or chemical that is 
not used in accordance with the label requirements. This would include 
investigational new animal drugs or drugs that are being used under the 
supervision and at the direction of a licensed veterinarian. EPA 
believes these reporting requirements are necessary to provide the 
permitting authority with sufficient information to determine whether 
additional action is warranted, and to enable action to be taken to 
control the discharge of these pollutants if so warranted.
    Non-Native Species: The Panel found that national effluent 
guidelines are not the best way to deal with non-native species, and 
recommended that EPA

[[Page 57920]]

defer to the States or to other Federal agencies that have the 
authority to prohibit or control the importation of exotic species. For 
those species not prohibited that still have a potential to either 
become a nuisance or non-native species or that may carry diseases that 
pose a threat to native aquatic species, the Panel recommended that EPA 
work with these agencies to develop and implement appropriate 
protection and controls and provide guidance to States.
    EPA Response: EPA proposes to require recirculatory, net pen and 
large flow-through facilities to develop and implement practices which 
minimize the potential escape of non-native species. EPA will consider 
working with these agencies to develop and implement appropriate 
protection and controls.
    New Facilities: The Panel found that it unlikely that compliance 
costs would be significantly lower for new facilities than for existing 
facilities. Therefore, the Panel recommended that the New Source 
Performance Standards not be any more stringent than existing source 
requirements.
    EPA Response: EPA followed this panel recommendation.
    Through consultation with the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel 
and the JSA/AETF, EPA has tried to reduce the impact of this proposed 
rule on small businesses. For example, as described under Section XI, 
EPA had considered technology options for pond systems. Based on 
comments provided by the Small Entity Representatives (SERs), and 
members of the JSA AETF, EPA has concluded that pond systems do not 
pose a significant threat to the environment and is not proposing to 
establish requirements for these facilities.
    We invite comments on all aspects of the proposal and its impacts 
on small entities.

C. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public 
Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the 
effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal 
governments and the private sector. Under Section 202 of the UMRA, EPA 
generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost-benefit 
analysis, for proposed and final rules with ``Federal mandates'' that 
may result in expenditures to State, local, and tribal governments, in 
the aggregate, or to the private sector, of $100 million or more in any 
one year.
    Before promulgating an EPA rule for which a written statement is 
needed, section 205 of the UMRA generally requires EPA to identify and 
consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the 
least costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative that 
achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 do 
not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, 
section 205 allows EPA to adopt an alternative other than the least 
costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative, if the 
Administrator publishes with the final rule an explanation why that 
alternative was not adopted.
    Before EPA establishes any regulatory requirements that may 
significantly or uniquely affect small governments, including tribal 
governments, it must have developed under section 203 of the UMRA a 
small government agency plan. The plan must provide for notifying 
potentially affected small governments, enabling officials of affected 
small governments to have meaningful and timely input in the 
development of EPA regulatory proposals with significant Federal 
intergovernmental mandates, and informing, educating, and advising 
small governments on compliance with the regulatory requirements.
    EPA has determined that this rule would not contain a Federal 
mandate that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more for 
State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private 
sector in any one year. The total annual cost of this rule is estimated 
to be $1.5 million. Thus, today's rule is not subject to the 
requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA. The facilities which 
are affected by today's proposal are direct dischargers engaged in 
concentrated aquatic animal production. These facilities would be 
subject to today's proposed requirements through the issuance or 
renewal of an NPDES permit either from the Federal EPA or authorized 
State governments. These facilities should already have NPDES permits 
as the Clean Water Act requires a permit be held by any point source 
discharger before that facility may discharge wastewater pollutants 
into surface waters. Therefore, today's proposal could require these 
permits to be revised to comply with revised Federal standards, but 
should not require a new permit program be implemented.
    EPA has determined that this rule contains no regulatory 
requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. EPA is not proposing to establish pretreatment standards 
for this point source category which are applied to indirect 
dischargers and overseen by Control Authorities. Local governments are 
frequently the pretreatment Control Authority but since this regulation 
proposes no pretreatment standards, there would be no impact imposed on 
local governments. EPA proposed requirements are not expected to impact 
any tribal governments, either as producers or because facilities are 
located on tribal lands. Thus, today's rule is not subject to the 
requirements of section 203 of UMRA.

D. Executive Order 13045: ``Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks''

    Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) applies to any 
rule that: (1) Is determined to be ``economically significant'' as 
defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental 
health or safety risk that EPA has reason to believe may have a 
disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets 
both criteria, the Agency must evaluate the environmental health and 
safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the 
planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and 
reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the Agency.
    This proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because 
it is not economically significant under Executive Order 12866, nor 
does it concern an environmental health or safety risk that may have a 
disproportionate effect on children.

E. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    Executive Order 13175, entitled ``Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments'' (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), 
requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure ``meaningful 
and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory 
policies that have tribal implications.'' ``Policies that have tribal 
implications'' is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations 
that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on 
the relationship between the Federal government and the Indian tribes, 
or on this distribution of power and responsibilities between the 
Federal government and Indian tribes.''
    This proposed rule does not have tribal implications. It will not 
have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the 
relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on 
the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175.

[[Page 57921]]

EPA does not believe any CAAP facility that would be subject to these 
proposed requirements are located on tribal lands. Nor is EPA aware of 
any tribes engaged in the production of aquatic animals subject to 
these proposed requirements. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply 
to this rule.
    In the spirit of Executive Order 13175, and consistent with EPA 
policy to promote communications between EPA and tribal governments, 
EPA specifically solicits additional comment on this proposed rule from 
tribal officials.

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collection requirements in today's proposed rule 
have been submitted for approval to OMB under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. An Information Collection Request (ICR) 
document has been prepared by EPA (ICR No.2087.01, OMB No. 2040-NEW) 
and a copy may be obtained from Susan Auby by mail at Collection 
Strategies Division; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2822T); 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, by e-mail at 
auby.susan@epa.gov, or by calling (202) 566-1672. A copy may also be 
downloaded from the internet at http://www.epa.gov/icr. In today's 
proposed regulation flow-through and recurculating facilities that 
would be subject to compliance with numeric limitations, however, EPA 
proposes to provide an alternative compliance provision that would 
allow facilities to develop and implement a BMP plan to control solids 
provided the permitting authority determines the plan will achieve the 
numeric limitations. Also flow-through facilities that segregate the 
bulk discharge from off-line settling discharge would develop and 
implement the solids control BMP plan. Larger flow-through facilities 
and all recirculating and net pen facilities within the scope of this 
proposed rule would also develop a BMP plan to address mortalities, 
non-native species, drugs and chemicals storage. These facilities would 
also be required to report to the permitting authority whenever an 
investigational new animal drug is used or drug or chemical is used for 
a purpose that is not in accordance with its label requirements.
    EPA estimates that each plan will require 40 hours per facility to 
develop the plan. The plan will be effective for the term of the permit 
(5 years). An additional two hours per month (comprised of 1 hour of a 
manager's time and 1 hour of a laborer's time) or 24 hours per year are 
assumed to be required for implementation. EPS does not believe that 
the development and implementation of these BMPs will require any 
special skills.
    EPA estimates that half of the flow-through and recirculating 
facilities (92 facilities) would choose to comply with the compliance 
alternative provision and incur the estimated 40 hours for plan 
development plus 24 hours per year for implementation. An estimated 10 
percent of the flow-through facilities (10 facilities) may have 
segregated discharges of bulk flow and off-line settling. These 
facilities would also be required to develop the BMP plan for solids 
control and incur the estimated 40 hours for plan development and an 
additional 24 hours per year for implementation. All recirculating, net 
pen and large flow-through facilities would be required to develop and 
implement the BMP plan addressing non-native species releases, drug and 
chemical storage and mortality removal. This BMP plan is estimated to 
require 40 hours for development and 24 hours per year for 
implementation.
    Facilities that develop a BMP plan would be required to certify 
that they have developed and are implementing the BMP plan. The burden 
for CAAP facilities associated with this certification is included in 
the 40 hours required to develop this plan. The estimated burden for 
Federal and State permitting authorities to review, approve and file 
these certifications is estimated to be 20 minutes per certification. 
The Compliance Alternative Provision requires the permitting authority 
to determine that the plan will achieve the numeric limits. EPA 
estimates that permitting authorities will expend 16 hours per permit 
to make this determination.
    Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources 
expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or 
provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time 
needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize 
technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and 
verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and 
disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to 
comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements; 
train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; 
search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; 
and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.
    An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's 
regulations are listed in 40 CFR part 9 and 48 CFR chapter 15.
    Comments are requested on the Agency's need for this information, 
the accuracy of the provided burden estimates, and any suggested 
methods for minimizing respondent burden, including through the use of 
automated collection techniques. Send comments on the ICR to the 
Director, Collection Strategies Division; U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (2822); 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; and 
to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of 
Management and Budget, 725 17th St., NW., Washington, DC 20503, marked 
``Attention: Desk Officer for EPA.'' Include the ICR number (No. 
2087.01) in any correspondence. Since OMB is required to make a 
decision concerning the ICR between 30 and 60 days after September 12, 
2002, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB 
receives it by October 15, 2002. The final rule will respond to any OMB 
or public comments on the information collection requirements contained 
in this proposal.

G. Executive Order 13132: ``Federalism''

    Executive Order 13132, entitled ``Federalism'' (64 FR 43255, August 
10, 1999), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure 
``meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the 
development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.'' 
``Policies that have federalism implications'' is defined in the 
Executive Order to include regulations that have ``substantial direct 
effects on the States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government.''
    This proposed rule does not have Federalism implications. It will 
not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship 
between the national government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, 
as specified in Executive Order 13132. EPA estimates that, when 
promulgated, these revised effluent guidelines and standards will be 
incorporated into NPDES permits without any additional costs to 
authorized States.
    Further, the revised regulations would not alter the basic State-
Federal scheme established in the Clean Water Act under which EPA 
authorizes States to carry out the NPDES permitting program. EPA 
expects the revised regulations to have little effect, if any,

[[Page 57922]]

on the relationship between, or the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among, the Federal, State and local governments. Thus, 
Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this rule.
    In the spirit of Executive Order 13132, and consistent with EPA 
policy to promote communication between EPA and State and local 
governments, EPA specifically solicits comment on this proposed rule 
from State and local governments.

H. Executive Order 12898: ``Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations''

    The requirements of the Environmental Justice Executive Order are 
that EPA will review the environmental effects of major Federal actions 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. For such 
actions, EPA reviewers will focus on the spatial distribution of human 
health, social and economic effects to ensure that agency decision 
makers are aware of the extent to which those impacts fall 
disproportionately on covered communities.'' This is not a major 
action. Further, EPA does not believe this rulemaking will have a 
disproportionate effect on minority or low income communities because 
the technology-based effluent limitations guidelines are uniformly 
applied nationally irrespective of geographic location. The proposed 
regulation will reduce the negative effects of concentrated aquatic 
animal production industry waste in our nation's waters to benefit all 
of society, including minority and low-income communities. The cost 
impacts of the rule should likewise not disproportionately affect low-
income communities given the relatively low economic impacts of the 
rule.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act (NTTAA) of 1995 (Pub L. 104-113 Sec. 12(d) 15 U.S.C. 272 note) 
directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standard bodies. The NTTAA directs EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB explanations when the Agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.
    Today's proposed rule does not establish any technical standards, 
thus NTTAA does not apply to this rule. It should be noted, however, 
that the proposed rule would require certain facilities that produce 
aquatic animal products to monitor for TSS. Consensus standards for TSS 
were previously approved and are specified in the tables at 40 CFR 
136.3.

J. Executive Order 13211: ``Energy Effects''

    This rule is not a ``significant energy action'' as defined in 
Executive Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (66 FR 
28355, May 22, 2001) because it is not likely to have a significant 
adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. As part 
of the Agency's consideration of Non-Water Quality Impacts, EPA has 
estimated the energy consumption associated with today's proposed 
requirements. EPA estimates that concentrated aquatic animal production 
facilities would incrementally increase energy consumption for flow-
through and recirculating systems at 232,000 kWh and 64,500 kWh for net 
pen systems. EPA estimated the annual electric energy use at an average 
individual flow-through system facility to be about 30,000 to 136,000 
kWh per year and at average individual recirculating system facilities 
to be about 1.6 million kWh per year. The per facility annual increase 
in electricity use ranges from 4.3 to 18.9 % in average flow-though 
facilities and about 0.4% for average recirculating facilities. (See 
Chapter 11 of the CAAP Development Document for more details). 
Comparing the estimated annual increase in electric use associated with 
these proposed requirements to national annual energy use, EPA 
estimates the increase in electricity resulting from the proposed 
regulation to be 6.4 x 10 -8 % of national energy use. 
Therefore, we have concluded that this rule is not likely to have any 
adverse energy effects.

K. Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in 
plain language. We invite your comments on how to make this proposed 
rule easier to understand. For example, have we organized the material 
to suit your needs? Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? 
Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that is not clear? 
Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of 
headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand? Would more 
(but shorter) sections be better? Could we improve clarity by adding 
tables, lists, or diagrams? What else could we do to make the rule 
easier to understand?

XIV. Solicitation of Data and Comments

A. General and Specific Comment Solicitation

    EPA solicits comments on various issues specifically identified in 
the preamble as well as any other issues that are not specifically 
addressed in today's notice. Specifically, EPA solicits information, 
data, and comment on the following topics:
    [sbull] Additional information and data on the performance and 
associated costs of all wastewater treatment practices currently or 
potentially capable of treating CAAP wastewaters;
    [sbull] The potential of CAAP facilities to reduce water 
consumption and new technologies or practices that can effectively 
reuse water;
    [sbull] Additional methods for estimating and monetizing benefits 
associated with the proposed rule;
    [sbull] The economic analysis in this proposal and the methods EPA 
is considering for subsequent analyses using detailed survey data, 
particularly the use of cash flow as a measure of resources available 
to finance environmental compliance and suggestions for alternative 
methodologies;
    [sbull] Whether controls for TSS are necessary and which industry 
subcategories (if any) should be subject to these potential limitations 
and standards;
    [sbull] Additional data and information related to instances of 
CAAP indirect dischargers causing POTW interference or pass through 
especially of either drugs or chemicals used by the facility;
    [sbull] Whether it would be appropriate and efficacious to ban the 
intentional release of non-native species, the appropriate entity to 
define non-native species, and the practicality of reporting 
requirements for escaped non-native species.
    [sbull] How to control non-native species releases, pathogens, 
antibiotics and other chemicals with technologies or practices that are 
available and affordable.
    [sbull] How to characterize and quantify incidental benefits from 
controlling non-native species, pathogens, antibiotic, chemical 
releases.
    [sbull] How to characterize economic and environmental impacts 
associated with antibiotic releases.
    [sbull] Feed back on the proposed BMP plan, particularly on how 
record

[[Page 57923]]

keeping should be used and what it should entail.
    [sbull] The establishment of a phosphorus limit for existing and 
new concentrated aquatic animal production facilities; how the use of 
low phosphorus feeds or wastewater treatment practices (including the 
actual practices used) meet current phosphorus limits set by the 
permitting authority. EPA is interested in data documenting the costs 
of achieving such limits, any increased sludge production as a result 
of treating to remove phosphorus from wastewater and monitoring data 
including the method used to analyze the phosphorus in the collected 
samples.
    [sbull] The establishment of a BOD limit for existing and new 
recirculating facilities, and how wastewater treatment practices 
(including the actual practices used) meet current BOD limits set by 
the permitting authority. EPA is interested in data documenting the 
costs of achieving such limits, any increased sludge production as a 
result of treating to remove BOD from wastewater and monitoring data 
including the method used to analyze the BOD in the collected samples.
    [sbull] The appropriateness of the scope of the effluent 
limitations guidelines and standards and the parameters being 
considered for regulation (TSS, BOD, and phosphorus only) and whether 
autocorrelation is likely to be present in the wastewater data.
    [sbull] A decision not establish effluent guidelines for the CAAP 
point source category. This decision may be made based on the baseline 
pollutant discharges not being large enough to warrant national 
regulations. In addition, EPA may conclude that due to significant 
regional and facility-specific variations, it is more effective to 
continue to rely on the BPJ of permit writers to establish appropriate 
limitations. Finally, EPA may conclude that available technologies are 
either not affordable, or provide little reduction in pollutant 
discharges relative to existing practice.

XV. Guidelines for Submission of Analytical Data

    EPA requests that commenters to today's proposed rule submit 
analytical, flow, and production data to supplement data collected by 
the Agency during the regulatory development process. To ensure that 
commenter data may be effectively evaluated by the Agency, EPA has 
developed the following guidelines for submission of data.

A. Types of Data Requested

    EPA requests paired influent and effluent treatment data for each 
of the treatment practices identified in the technology options (see 
Section VII.A) as well as any additional technologies applicable to the 
treatment of CAAP wastewater. EPA prefers paired influent and effluent 
treatment data, but also solicits unpaired data as well.
    For the systems treating CAAP process wastewater, EPA requests 
paired influent and effluent treatment data from 24-hour composite 
samples of flowing wastewater streams (except for analyses requiring 
grab samples, such as oil and grease). This includes end-of-pipe 
treatment practices and in-process treatment, recycling, or water 
reuse. Submission of effluent data alone is acceptable, but the 
commenters should provide evidence that the influent concentrations 
contain treatable levels of the pollutants. If commenters sample their 
wastewaters to respond to this proposal, EPA encourages them to sample 
both the influent and effluent wastestreams.
    EPA prefers that the data be submitted in an electronic format. In 
addition to providing the measurement of the pollutant in each sample, 
EPA requests that sites provide the detection limit (rather than 
specifying zero or ``ND'') if the pollutant is non-detected in the 
wastestream. Each measurement should be identified with a sample 
collection date, the sampling point location, and the flow rate at that 
location. For each sample or pollutant, EPA requests that the chemical 
analytical method be identified.
    In support of the treatment data, commenters should submit the 
following items if they are available: A process diagram of the 
treatment system that includes the sampling point locations; treatment 
chemical addition rates; laboratory reports; influent and effluent flow 
rates for each treatment unit during the sampling period; production in 
each subcategory (daily values are preferred, but either production or 
estimated production during the sampling period are also acceptable); 
sludge or waste oil generation rates; a brief discussion of the 
treatment practice sampled; and a list of CAAP operations contributing 
to the sampled wastestream. If available, information on capital cost, 
annual (operation and maintenance) cost, and treatment capacity should 
be included for each treatment unit within the system.

B. Analytes Requested

    EPA considered metals, conventional, and other nonconventional 
pollutant parameters for regulation based on analytical data collected. 
EPA initially identified 30 pollutants of concern for the industry (see 
Section VII.C and CAAP Development Document). The Agency requests 
analytical data for any of the pollutants of concern and for any other 
pollutant parameters that commentors believe are of concern in the CAAP 
industry. Of particular interest are BOD5, TSS, total 
phosphorus, and pH data. Commentors should use the methods listed in 
Table XV.C-1 or equivalent methods (generally, those approved at 40 CFR 
136 for compliance monitoring), and should document the method used for 
all data submissions. The methods are described in more detail in the 
CAAP Development Document.

C. Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Requirements

    EPA based today's proposed regulations on analytical data collected 
by EPA using rigorous QA/QC checks specified in the analytical methods 
listed in Table XV.C-1. These QA/QC checks include procedures specified 
in each of the analytical methods, as well as procedures used for the 
CAAP sampling program in accordance with EPA sampling and analysis 
protocols. These QA/QC procedures include sample preservation and the 
use of method blanks, matrix spikes, matrix spike duplicates, 
laboratory duplicate samples, and QC standard checks (e.g., continuing 
calibration blanks). Because of these rigorous checks, EPA has high 
confidence in its data. Thus, EPA requests that submissions of 
analytical data include any available documentation of QA/QC 
procedures. However, EPA will still consider data submitted without 
detailed QA/QC information. If commenters sample their wastewaters to 
respond to this proposal, EPA encourages them to provide detailed 
documentation of the QA/QC checks for each sample. EPA also requests 
that sites collect and analyze 10 percent field duplicate samples to 
assess sampling variability, and sites provide data for equipment 
blanks for volatile organic pollutants when automatic compositors are 
used to collect samples.

[[Page 57924]]



     Table XV.C-1.--Analytical Methods for Use With CAAP Wastewaters
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Method used in EPA sampling
                 Parameter                      (alternative methods)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aeromonas.................................  9260L, EPA draft method 1605
Ammonia as Nitrogen.......................  350.1, 350.2, 350.3
BOD 5-Day.................................  405.1
Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)..............  410.1
                                            410.2
                                            410.4
                                            5220B
Chloride..................................  325.2, 325.3
E. coli...................................  9221F
Enteroccocus frecium......................  9230 B or C
Fecal Coliforms...........................  SM 9221 B
Fecal Streptoccocus.......................  SM 9230 B
Metals....................................  1620 (200.7, 245.1)
Mycobacterium marinum.....................  SM 9260
Volatile Organics.........................  1624 Rev. C (624)
Semivolatile Organics.....................  1625 Rev. C (625)
Nitrate/Nitrite...........................  350.1, 350.2, 350.3
Nitrogen, Total Kjeldahl..................  351.1, 351.2, 351.3, 351.4
Oil and Grease............................  413.2
Oil and Grease (as HEM)...................  1664 A
Oxytetracycline...........................  NA
pH........................................  150.1 (SM 4500 H+ B)
Phosphorus, Total.........................  365.2, 365.3
Salmonella................................  FDA-BAM
Settleable Solids.........................  160.5, SM 2540 F ??
Sulfate...................................  375.1, 375.3, 375.4
Total Coliforms...........................  SM 9221 B
Total Dissolved Phosphorus................  365.2, 365.3
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)..............  160.1
Total Organic Carbon (TOC)................  Lloyd Kahn (solids only),
                                             415.1
Total Orthophosphate......................  365.1, 365.2, 365.3
Total Suspended Solids (TSS)..............  160.2
Total Volatile Solids.....................  160.4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Standard Method (SM).

Appendix A: Definitions, Acronyms, and Abbreviations Used in This 
Document

    Administrator--The Administrator of the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency.
    Agency--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    BAT--The best available technology economically achievable, 
applicable to effluent limitations for industrial discharges to 
surface waters, as defined by Section 304(b)(2)(B) of the CWA.
    BCT--The best control technology for conventional pollutants, 
applicable to discharges of conventional pollutants from existing 
industrial point sources, as defined by Section 304(b)(4) of the 
CWA.
    BOD5--Biochemical Oxygen Demand measured over a five 
day period.
    BPJ--Best Professional Judgment.
    BPT--The best practicable control technology currently 
available, applicable to effluent limitations, for industrial 
discharges to surface waters, as defined by Section 304(b)(1) of the 
CWA.
    CAAP--Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production.
    CFR--Code of Federal Regulations.
    Clean Water Act (CWA)--The Federal Water Pollution Control Act 
Amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C. Section 1251 et seq.), as amended.
    Conventional Pollutants--Constituents of wastewater as 
determined by Section 304(a)(4) of the CWA (and EPA regulations), 
i.e., pollutants classified as biochemical oxygen demand, total 
suspended solids, oil and grease, fecal coliform, and pH.
    Daily Discharge--The discharge of a pollutant measured during 
any calendar day or any 24-hour period that reasonably represents a 
calendar day.
    Direct Discharger--A facility that discharges or may discharge 
treated or untreated wastewaters into waters of the United States.
    DMR--Discharge Monitoring Report.
    Existing Source--For this rule, any facility from which there is 
or may be a discharge of pollutants, the construction of which is 
commenced before the publication of the final regulations 
prescribing a standard of performance under Section 306 of the CWA.
    Facility--All contiguous property and equipment owned, operated, 
leased, or under the control of the same person or entity.
    FDF--Fundamentally Different Factor.
    FTE--Full Time Equivalent Employee.
    HEM--A measure of oil and grease in wastewater by mixing the 
wastewater with hexane and measuring the oils and greases that are 
removed from the wastewater with n-hexane. Specifically EPA Method 
1664, see 40 CFR 136.3, Table IB.
    Indirect Discharger--A facility that discharges or may discharge 
wastewaters into a publicly-owned treatment works.
    JSA/AETF--Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, Aquaculture 
Effluents Task Force.
    LTA (Long-Term Average)--For purposes of the effluent 
guidelines, average pollutant levels achieved over a period of time 
by a facility, subcategory, or technology option. LTAs were used in 
developing the effluent limitations guidelines and standards in 
today's proposed regulation.
    Maximum Monthly Discharge Limitation--The highest allowable 
average of ``daily discharges'' over a calendar month, calculated as 
the sum of all ``daily discharges'' measured during the calendar 
month divided by the number of ``daily discharges'' measured during 
the month.
    Minimum Level--The level at which an analytical system gives 
recognizable signals and an acceptable calibration point.
    NAICS--North American Industry Classification System. NAICS was 
developed jointly by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to provide new 
comparability in statistics about business activity across North 
America.
    National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit--
A permit to discharge wastewater into waters of the United States 
issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, 
authorized by section 402 of the CWA.
    Non-Conventional Pollutants--Pollutants that are neither 
conventional pollutants nor priority pollutants listed at 40 CFR 
401.15 and part 423 appendix A.
    Non-Water Quality Environmental Impact--Deleterious aspects of 
control and treatment technologies applicable to point source 
category wastes, including, but not limited to air pollution, noise, 
radiation, sludge and solid waste generation, and energy used.
    NRDC--Natural Resources Defense Council.
    NSPS--New Sources Performance Standards, applicable to 
industrial facilities whose construction is begun after the 
effective date of the final regulations (if those regulations are 
promulgated after January 10, 2003. EPA is scheduled to take final 
action on this proposal in June 2004. See 40 CFR 122.2.
    NTTA--National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.
    NWPCAM--The National Water Pollution Control Assessment Model 
(version 1.1) is a computer model to model the instream dissolved 
oxygen concentration, as influenced by pollutant reductions of 
BOD5, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen, Total Suspended Solids, 
and Fecal Coliform.
    Outfall--The mouth of conduit drains and other conduits from 
which a facility effluent discharges into receiving waters.
    Pass Through--The term ``Pass Through'' means a Discharge which 
exits the POTW into waters of the United States in quantities or 
concentrations which, alone or in conjunction with a discharge or 
discharges from other sources, is a cause of a violation of any 
requirement of the POTW's NPDES permit (including an increase in the 
magnitude or duration of a violation).
    Point Source--Any discernable, confined, and discrete conveyance 
from which pollutants are or may be discharged. See CWA Section 
502(14).
    Pollutants of Concern (POCs)--Pollutants commonly found in 
aquatic animal production wastewaters. Generally, a chemical is 
considered as a POC if it was detected in untreated process 
wastewater at 5 times a baseline value in more than 10% of the 
samples.
    Priority Pollutant--One hundred twenty-six compounds that are a 
subset of the 65 toxic pollutants and classes of pollutants outlined 
pursuant to Section 307 of the CWA.
    PSES--Pretreatment standards for existing sources of indirect 
discharges, under Section 307(b) of the CWA, applicable (for this 
rule) to indirect dischargers that commenced construction prior to 
promulgation of the final rule.
    PSNS--Pretreatment standards for new sources under Section 
307(c) of the CWA.
    Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW)--A treatment works as 
defined by Section 212 of the Clean Water Act, which is owned by a 
State or municipality (as defined by Section 502(4) of the Clean 
Water Act). This definition includes any devices and systems used in 
the storage, treatment, recycling and reclamation of municipal 
sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature. It also includes 
sewers, pipes and other conveyances only if they convey

[[Page 57925]]

wastewater to a POTW Treatment Plant. The term also means the 
municipality as defined in Section 502(4) of the Clean Water Act, 
which has jurisdiction over the Indirect Discharges to and the 
discharges from such a treatment works.
    RFA--Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    SAP--Sampling and Analysis Plan.
    SBREFA--Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996.
    SCC--Sample Control Center.
    SER--Small Entity Representative.
    SIC--Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)--A numerical 
categorization system used by the U.S. Department of Commerce to 
catalogue economic activity. SIC codes refer to the products, or 
group of products, produced or distributed, or to services rendered 
by an operating establishment. SIC codes are used to group 
establishments by the economic activities in which they are engaged. 
SIC codes often denote a facility's primary, secondary, tertiary, 
etc. economic activities.
    Total Nitrogen--Sum of nitrate/nitrite and TKN.
    TKN--Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen.
    TSS--Total Suspended Solids.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 451

    Environmental protection, Concentrated aquatic animal production, 
Wasste treatment and disposal, Water pollution control.

    Dated: August 14, 2002.
Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 40 CFR part 451 is 
proposed to be added as follows:

PART 451--CONCENTRATED AQUATIC ANIMAL PRODUCTION POINT SOURCE 
CATEGORY

Sec.
451.1 General applicability.
451.2 General definitions.
451.3 Reporting requirements specific to facility discharges under 
the scope of this part.
451.4 Alternative compliance provision.
Subpart A--Flow-Through Systems
451.10 Applicability.
451.11 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best practicable control technology currently available (BPT).
451.12 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best available technology economically achievable (BAT).
451.13 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best conventional technology (BCT).
451.14 New source performance standards (NSPS).
451.15 Best management practices (BMPs).
Subpart B--Recirculating Systems
451.20 Applicability.
451.21 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best practicable control technology currently available (BPT).
451.22 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best available technology economically achievable (BAT).
451.23 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best conventional technology (BCT).
451.24 New source performance standards (NSPS).
451.25 Best management practices (BMPs).
Subpart C--Net Pen Systems
451.30 Applicability.
451.31 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best practicable control technology currently available (BPT).
451.32 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best available technology economically achievable (BAT).
451.33 Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best conventional technology (BCT).
451.34 New source performance standards (NSPS).
451.35 Best management practices (BMPs).

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1311, 1314, 1316, 1317, 1318, 1342 and 
1361.


Sec.  451.1  General applicability.

    As defined more specifically in each subpart, this Part applies to 
discharges from concentrated aquatic animal production facilities as 
that term is defined at 40 CFR 122.24 and Appendix C. This Part applies 
to the discharges of pollutants from production activities that occur 
in the following systems: flow-through, recirculating and net pens.


Sec.  451.2  General definitions.

    As used in this part:
    (a) The general definitions and abbreviations in 40 CFR part 401 
apply.
    (b) Bulk discharge means wastewater from the areas of animal 
confinement in a flow-through system that does not flow to off-line 
settling. The bulk discharge is either treated effluent from full-flow 
settling or the flow from the areas of animal confinement other than 
the flows routed to offline settling, but does not include the flows 
removed from the areas of animal confinement for offline settling.
    (c) Chemical means any substance that is added to the concentrated 
aquatic animal production facility to maintain or restore water quality 
for aquatic animal production and that may be discharged to waters of 
the United States.
    (d) Concentrated aquatic animal production facility is defined at 
40 CFR 122.24 and Appendix C.
    (e) Drug means any substance that is added to the concentrated 
aquatic animal production facility to maintain or restore aquatic 
animal health or to affect the structure or any function of an aquatic 
animal, and that may be discharged to waters of the United States. For 
the purposes of this Part, the term does not include substances 
injected directly into aquatic animals or used in immersion baths that 
are not discharged to waters of the United States.
    (f) Excess feed means feed that is added to a production system and 
that is not consumed or is not expected to be consumed by the aquatic 
animals.
    (g) Flow-through system means a system designed for a continuous 
water flow to waters of the United States through chambers used to 
produce aquatic animals. Flow-through systems typically use either 
raceways or tank systems. Water is supplied to raceways by nearby 
rivers or springs and are typically long, rectangular chambers at or 
below grade, constructed of earth, concrete, plastic, or metal. Tank 
systems are similarly supplied with water and concentrate aquatic 
animals in circular or rectangular tanks above grade. The term does not 
include net pens.
    (h) Full-flow settling means the treatment practice in which all of 
the flow from a flow-through system is treated using solids settling 
techniques prior to discharge.
    (i) FWS means United States Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency 
within the United States Department of the Interior.
    (j) Net pen system means a stationary, suspended or floating system 
of nets or screens in open marine or estuarine waters of the United 
States. Net pen systems typically are located along a shore or pier or 
may be anchored and floating offshore. Net pens and cages rely on tides 
and currents to provide continual supply of high-quality water to the 
animals in production.
    (k) Non-native aquatic animal species mean an individual, group, or 
population of a species:
    (1) That is introduced into an area or ecosystem outside its 
historic or native geographic range; and
    (2) That has been determined and identified by the appropriate 
State or Federal authority to threaten native aquatic biota. The term 
excludes species raised for stocking by public agencies.
    (l) Off-line settling means the treatment practice in which a 
small, concentrated portion of the flow is diverted and treated before 
being discharged; specifically, the portion of flow that is vacuumed or 
removed from the bottom of a tank or raceway, which contributes high 
levels of settled solids.
    (m) Permitting authority means the agency authorized to administer 
the

[[Page 57926]]

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting program for 
the receiving waters into which a facility subject to this Part 
discharges.
    (n) Recirculating system means a system that filters and reuses 
water in which the aquatic animals are produced prior to discharge. 
Recirculating systems typically use tanks, biological or mechanical 
filtration, and mechanical support equipment to maintain high quality 
water to produce aquatic animals.
    (o) TSS means total suspended solids that may be discharged to 
waters of the United States.


Sec.  451.3  Reporting requirements specific to facility discharges 
under the scope of this part.

    (a) Drugs and chemicals. In accordance with the following 
procedures, the permittee must notify the permitting authority of the 
addition directly to an aquatic animal production facility subject to 
this Part of any investigational new animal drug (i.e., a drug for 
which there is a valid exemption in effect under 512(j) of the Federal 
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 360b(j)) and any drug that is 
not used according to label requirements, as well as any chemical that 
is not used according to label requirements:
    (1) For drugs and chemicals that are not used according to label 
requirements:
    (i) The permittee must provide an oral report to the permitting 
authority within 7 days after initiating application of the drug or 
chemical. The oral report must identify the drug and/or chemical added 
and the reason for adding the drug and/or chemical.
    (ii) The permittee must provide a written report to the permitting 
authority within 30 days after conclusion of the addition of the drug 
or chemical. The written report must identify the drug and/or chemical 
added and include: the reason for treatment, date(s) and time(s) of the 
addition (including duration); the total amount of active ingredient 
added; the total amount of medicated feed added (only for drugs applied 
through medicated feed), and the estimated number of aquatic animals 
medicated by the addition.
    (2) For investigational new animal drugs: The permittee must 
provide a written report to the permitting authority within 30 days 
after conclusion of the addition of any investigational new drug. The 
written report must identify the drug added including: the reason for 
treatment, date(s) and time(s) of the addition (including duration); 
the total amount of active ingredient added; the total amount of 
medicated feed added (only for drugs applied through medicated feed), 
and the estimated number of aquatic animals medicated by the addition.
    (b) Best Management Practices (BMP) plan certification. The owner 
or operator of any facility subject to this Part must certify that a 
BMP plan has been developed and meets the objectives as defined in the 
Sec. Sec.  451.15, 451.25, or 451.35 (as applicable). The plan will be 
made available to the permitting authority upon request.


Sec.  451.4  Alternative compliance provision.

    Facilities subject to the total suspended solids (TSS) numerical 
limitations in this section may comply with these requirements through 
the development and implementation of a BMP plan if the permitting 
authority determines that the plan will achieve the numeric 
limitations. For facilities subject to this section, the BMP plan also 
must satisfy the provisions of Sec.  451.15(a) for flow-through systems 
and Sec.  451.25(a) for recirculating systems.

Subpart A--Flow-Through Systems


Sec.  451.10  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to the discharge of pollutants from a 
concentrated aquatic animal production facility that produces aquatic 
animals in a flow-through system according to the production level 
thresholds in this subpart.


Sec.  451.11  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best practicable control technology currently available (BPT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, any existing 
point source subject to this subpart must achieve the following 
effluent limitations representing the application of BPT:
    (a) Facilities that produce 475,000 pounds or more per year.
    (1) For discharges from a full-flow facility, including a facility 
that has flow from separate offline settling but that recombines such 
separate flows prior to discharge; The permittee must meet the TSS 
maximum daily and monthly average numeric limits:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Maximum
              Regulated parameter                 Maximum      monthly
                                                   daily       average
------------------------------------------------------------------------
TSS (mg/l)....................................           10            6
Non-conventional and toxic pollutants.........        (\1\)       (\1\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Develop and implement a BMP plan as specified in Sec.  Sec.
  451.15(b)-(d) and 451.3(b).

    (2) For discharges from a facility that discharges from separate 
offline settling.
    (i) The permittee must meet the TSS maximum daily and monthly 
average numeric limits for discharges from the separate offline 
settling:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Maximum
              Regulated parameter                 Maximum      monthly
                                                   daily       average
------------------------------------------------------------------------
TSS (mg/l)....................................           69           55
Non-conventional and toxic pollutants.........        (\1\)       (\1\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Develop and implement a BMP plan as specified in Sec.  Sec.
  451.15(b)-(d) and 451.3(b).

    (ii) For the remaining bulk discharge, the permittee must develop 
and implement a BMP plan as described in Sec.  451.15 (a) through (d).
    (b) Facilities that produce 100,000 pounds per year up to 475,000 
pounds per year.
    (1) For discharges from a full-flow facility including a facility 
that has flow from separate offline settling but that recombines such 
separate flow prior to discharge; The permittee must meet the TSS 
maximum daily and monthly average numeric limits:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Maximum
              Regulated parameter                 Maximum      monthly
                                                   daily       average
------------------------------------------------------------------------
TSS (mg/l)....................................           11            6
Non-conventional and toxic pollutants.........        (\1\)       (\1\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Develop and implement a BMP plan as specified in Sec.  Sec.   451.15
  (b) and (d) and 451.3 (b).

    (2) For discharges from a facility that discharges from separate 
offline settling.
    (i) The permittee must meet the TSS maximum daily and monthly 
average numeric limits for discharges from the separate offline 
settling:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Maximum
              Regulated parameter                 Maximum      monthly
                                                   daily       average
------------------------------------------------------------------------
TSS (mg/l)....................................           87           67

[[Page 57927]]

 
Non-conventional and toxic pollutants.........        (\1\)       (\1\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Develop and implement a BMP plan as specified in Sec.  Sec.   451.15
  (b) and (d) and 451.3 (b).

    (ii) For the remaining bulk discharge, the permittee must develop 
and implement a BMP plan as described in Sec.  451.15 (a), (b) and (d).
    (c) Compliance with paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2)(i) or (b)(1) or 
(b)(2)(i) of this section should be determined based on the net TSS 
concentration (measuring the TSS added by the production system.)
    (d) The reporting requirements in Sec.  451.3 (a) do not apply to 
facilities that produce between 100,000 pounds per year up to 475,000 
pounds per year.


Sec.  451.12  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best available technology economically achievable (BAT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a flow-through system subject to this subpart must achieve the 
following effluent limitations representing the application of BAT: The 
limitations for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and non-conventional and 
toxic pollutants are the same as the corresponding limitation specified 
in Sec.  451.11.


Sec.  451.13  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best conventional technology (BCT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a flow-through system subject to this subpart must achieve the 
following effluent limitations representing the application of BCT: The 
limitation for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) is the same as the 
corresponding limitation specified in Sec.  451.11.


Sec.  451.14  New source performance standards (NSPS).

    Any new source flow-through system subject to this subpart must 
achieve the following performance standards: The standards for Total 
Suspended Solids (TSS) and non-conventional and toxic pollutants are 
the same as the corresponding limitations specified in Sec.  451.11.


Sec.  451.15  Best management practices (BMPs).

    Any flow-through system subject to this subpart must develop and 
implement a Best Management Practices (BMP) Plan to achieve the 
objectives and the following specific requirements:
    (a) Management of removed solids and excess feed. The following 
requirements only apply to waste streams that are not subject to 
numeric limits for TSS. Minimize the re-introduction of solids removed 
through the treatment of the water supply and minimize excess feed 
entering the aquatic animal production system. Minimize the discharge 
of unconsumed food. Minimize discharge of feeds containing high levels 
of fine particulates and/or high levels of phosphorus. Clean raceways 
at frequencies that minimize the disturbance and subsequent discharge 
of accumulated solids during routine activities, such as harvesting and 
grading of fish.
    (b) Proper operation and maintenance of a concentrated aquatic 
animal production facility:
    (1) Structural maintenance. Maintain in-system technologies to 
prevent the overflow of any floating matter and subsequent by-pass of 
treatment technologies.
    (2) Materials storage. Ensure the storage of drugs and chemicals to 
avoid inadvertent spillage or release into the aquatic animal 
production facility; and
    (3) Disposal of biological wastes. Collect aquatic animal 
mortalities on a regular basis. Store and dispose of aquatic animal 
mortalities to prevent discharge to waters of the United States.
    (c) The permittee must develop and implement practices to minimize 
the potential escape of non-native species.
    (d) The permittee must ensure that the facility staff are familiar 
with the BMP Plan and have been adequately trained in the specific 
procedures that the BMP plan requires.

Subpart B--Recirculating Systems


Sec.  451.20  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to the discharge of pollutants from a 
concentrated aquatic animal production facility that produces 100,000 
pounds or more per year in a recirculating system.


Sec.  451.21  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best practicable control technology currently available (BPT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a recirculating system subject to this subpart must achieve the 
following effluent limitations representing the application of BPT:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Maximum
              Regulated parameter                 Maximum      monthly
                                                   daily       average
------------------------------------------------------------------------
TSS (mg/l)....................................           50           30
Non-conventional and toxic pollutants.........        (\1\)       (\1\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Develop and implement a BMP plan as specified in Sec.  Sec.
  451.15(b)-(d) and 451.3(b).

Sec.  451.22  Effluent Limitations attainable by the application of the 
Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BAT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a recirculating system subject to this subpart must achieve the 
following effluent limitations representing the application of BAT: The 
limitations for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and non-conventional and 
toxic pollutants are the same as the corresponding limitations 
specified in Sec.  451.21.


Sec.  451.23  Effluent Limitations attainable by the application of the 
Best Conventional Technology (BCT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a recirculating system subject to this subpart must achieve the 
following effluent limitations representing the application of BCT: The 
limitation for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) is the same as the 
corresponding limitation specified in Sec.  451.21.


Sec.  451.24  New source performance standards (NSPS).

    Any new source recirculating system subject to this subpart must 
achieve the following performance standards: The standard for Total 
Suspended Solids (TSS) and non-conventional and toxic pollutants are 
the same as the corresponding limitations specified in Sec.  451.21.


Sec.  451.25  Best management practices (BMP).

    Any recirculating system subject to this subpart must develop and 
implement a Best Management Practices (BMP) Plan to achieve the 
objectives and the following specific requirements:
    (a) Management of removed solids and excess feed. The following 
requirements only apply to waste streams that are not subject to 
numeric limits for TSS. Minimize the re-introduction of solids removed 
through the treatment of the water supply and minimize excess feed 
entering the aquatic animal production system.
    (b) Proper operation and maintenance of a concentrated aquatic 
animal production facility:

[[Page 57928]]

    (1) Structural Maintenance. Maintain in-system technologies to 
prevent the overflow of any floating matter and subsequent by-pass of 
treatment technologies.
    (2) Materials storage. Ensure the storage of drugs and chemicals to 
avoid inadvertent spillage or release into the aquatic animal 
production facility; and
    (3) Disposal of biological wastes. Collect aquatic animal 
mortalities on a regular basis. Store and dispose of aquatic animal 
mortalities to prevent discharge to waters of the United States.
    (c)The permittee must develop and implement practices to minimize 
the potential escape of non-native species.
    (d) The permittee must ensure that the facility staff are familiar 
with the BMP Plan and have been adequately trained in the specific 
procedures that the BMP plan requires.

Subpart C--Net Pen Systems


Sec.  451.30  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to the discharge of pollutants from a 
concentrated aquatic animal production facility that produces 100,000 
pounds or more per year in net pen systems, except for net pen 
facilities located in the State of Alaska producing native species of 
salmon.


Sec.  451.31  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best practicable control technology currently available (BPT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a net pen system subject to this subpart must achieve the following 
best management practice representing the application of BPT:
    (a) The permittee must maintain a real-time monitoring system to 
monitor the rate of feed consumption. The system must be designed to 
allow detection or observation of uneaten feed passing through the 
bottom of the net pens and to prevent accumulation.
    (b) [Reserved]


Sec.  451.32  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
best available technology economically achievable (BAT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a net pen system subject to this subpart must achieve the following 
best management practice representing the application of BAT: Active 
feed monitoring as specified in Sec.  451.31.


Sec.  451.33  Effluent limitations attainable by the application of the 
Best Conventional technology (BCT).

    Except as provided in 40 CFR 125.30 through 125.32, discharges from 
a net pen system subject to this subpart must achieve the following 
best management practice representing the application of BCT: Active 
feed monitoring as specified in Sec.  451.31.


Sec.  451.34  New source performance standards (NSPS).

    Any new source net pen system subject to this subpart must achieve 
the following performance standards: Active feed monitoring as 
specified in Sec.  451.31.


Sec.  451.35  Best Management Practices (BMPs).

    Any net pen system subject to this subpart must develop and 
implement a Best Management Practices (BMP) plan to achieve the 
objectives and the following specific requirements:
    (a) The permittee must operate the facility so as to minimize the 
concentration of net-fouling organisms that are discharged, for 
example, changing and cleaning nets and screens onshore.
    (b) The following discharges into waters of the United States 
should be avoided to the maximum extent feasible:
    (1) Blood, viscera, fish carcasses, or transport water containing 
blood associated with the transport or harvesting of fish;
    (2) Substances associated with in-place pressure washing nets. The 
use of air-drying, mechanical, and other non-chemical procedures to 
control net-fouling are strongly encouraged.
    (c) The permittee must develop and implement practices to minimize 
the potential escape of non-native species.
    (d) The following discharges from a net pen system into waters of 
the United States are prohibited :
    (1) Feed bags and other solid wastes;
    (2) Chemicals used to clean nets, boats or gear; and
    (3) Materials containing or treated with tributyltin compounds.

[FR Doc. 02-21673 Filed 9-11-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P