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New EPA Proposed Wastewater Discharge Permits to Aquaculture Facilities and Fish Processors in Idaho to Feature “Pollutant Trading” Option

Release Date: 06/26/2006
Contact Information: Sharon Wilson, (206) 553-0325, Carla Fromm, (208) 378-5755, Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203,

(Twin Falls, ID – June 26, 2006) As part of an ongoing effort to protect Idaho’s water quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing two new general wastewater discharge permits for 100 aquaculture facilities in the state and an individual permit for Epicenter Aquaculture. A new general permit is also being proposed for Idaho’s four fish processors. The new permits contain a pollutant trading option aimed at achieving water quality improvement more efficiently than through a traditional permitting approach.

    According to Jim Werntz, Idaho state director for EPA, the purpose of these permits is to improve water quality in streams that don’t meet state water quality standards and to protect streams that already meet standards.

    “The proposed permits will reduce pollutants discharged to Idaho’s rivers and streams,” Werntz said. “They will cover all aquaculture facilities in Idaho that produce more than 20,000 pounds of fish per year. The net benefit will be a 40% reduction in phosphorus discharges from mid-Snake producers. We’re hoping that by offering permitees a pollutant trading option, we’ll see streams getting healthier in a shorter time horizon.”

    Most of the facilities are located in the Twin Falls area on the mid-Snake River and its tributaries. High levels of nutrients cause excessive aquatic plant growth that chokes streams. Permits help limit discharges of nutrients and wastes to the affected stream or river.

    Permit highlights include:

    Pollutant trading is allowed for phosphorus discharges in the mid-Snake;
    Limits are based on pollutant loads assigned by the State to improve water quality in seven watersheds;
    Copper monitoring is required when used to control diseases or algae growth in facilities;
    PCB monitoring is required for facilities with painted raceways or caulking.

    EPA will conduct an informational meeting, including an open house, a short presentation (at 7 p.m.) and a question & answer period in Twin Falls at the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare Conference Room, 601 Pole Line Road on June 29, 2006, 6 – 9 p.m.

    A 45 day public comment period began on June 19 and will run until August 3, 2006. After EPA reviews the comments, permits will be finalized for a 5 year term.

    For more information visit EPA’s website at:

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