U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 24, 2023

§ 125.72 - Early screening of applications for section 316(a) variances.

(a) Any initial application for a section 316(a) variance shall include the following early screening information:

(1) A description of the alternative effluent limitation requested;

(2) A general description of the method by which the discharger proposes to demonstrate that the otherwise applicable thermal discharge effluent limitations are more stringent than necessary;

(3) A general description of the type of data, studies, experiments and other information which the discharger intends to submit for the demonstration; and

(4) Such data and information as may be available to assist the Director in selecting the appropriate representative important species.

(b) After submitting the early screening information under paragraph (a) of this section, the discharger shall consult with the Director at the earliest practicable time (but not later than 30 days after the application is filed) to discuss the discharger's early screening information. Within 60 days after the application is filed, the discharger shall submit for the Director's approval a detailed plan of study which the discharger will undertake to support its section 316(a) demonstration. The discharger shall specify the nature and extent of the following type of information to be included in the plan of study: Biological, hydrographical and meteorological data; physical monitoring data; engineering or diffusion models; laboratory studies; representative important species; and other relevant information. In selecting representative important species, special consideration shall be given to species mentioned in applicable water quality standards. After the discharger submits its detailed plan of study, the Director shall either approve the plan or specify any necessary revisions to the plan. The discharger shall provide any additional information or studies which the Director subsequently determines necessary to support the demonstration, including such studies or inspections as may be necessary to select representative important species. The discharger may provide any additional information or studies which the discharger feels are appropriate to support the demonstration.

(c) Any application for the renewal of a section 316(a) variance shall include only such information described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section as the Director requests within 60 days after receipt of the permit application.

(d) The Director shall promptly notify the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Interior, and any affected State of the filing of the request and shall consider any timely recommendations they submit.

(e) In making the demonstration the discharger shall consider any information or guidance published by EPA to assist in making such demonstrations.

(f) If an applicant desires a ruling on a section 316(a) application before the ruling on any other necessary permit terms and conditions, (as provided by § 124.65), it shall so request upon filing its application under paragraph (a) of this section. This request shall be granted or denied at the discretion of the Director.


At the expiration of the permit, any discharger holding a section 316(a) variance should be prepared to support the continuation of the variance with studies based on the discharger's actual operation experience.

[44 FR 32948, June 7, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 33513, May 19, 1980; 65 FR 30913, May 15, 2000]