Governing Law and Regulations
Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) Water Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4
See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.
See national section for basic information and federal regulations.
Comparison: State vs. Federal
• Rules. The state regulates water temperatures under its general water quality standards under authority of the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act. The state also requires that temperature be part of the state's groundwater monitoring system. Therefore, the Alabama water pollution control program is more stringent than the federal wastewater permit program under the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), because the state regulates both surface water and groundwater.
ADEM is fully authorized by EPA to administer the NPDES permit program in Alabama, including for permit conditions related to heated discharges. See the state section NPDES PERMIT for more information.
• Administration and enforcement. ADEM's Water Division administers and enforces the state's water quality program, including thermal discharge requirements.
Ala. Code 22-22-1 to 22-22-14
Under the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act, "heat" is included in the definition of a pollutant. ADEM analyzes the impact of heated discharges to and cooling water intakes from lakes, reservoirs, rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters that are generally utilized in power ...