Kentucky Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Designation of uses of surface waters: 401 Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR) 10:026

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Cold water aquatic habitats: 401 KAR 10:031, Section 4(2)(b)

Warm water aquatic habitats: 401 KAR 10:031, Section 4(1)(d)

Regulatory Agency

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) Division of Water

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Kentucky has classified its waters into six categories based on the use of the water. Temperature standards vary with the classification. Kentucky also regulates water temperatures under its general water quality standards.

Administration and enforcement. DEP's Division of Water administers and enforces the state's water quality program, including thermal standards.

State Requirements


401 KAR 10:026

Kentucky's surface waters have been classified based on usage. The usage categories are: warm water aquatic habitat, cold water aquatic habitat, primary contact recreation, secondary contact recreation, domestic water supply (applicable at existing points of public water supply withdrawal), and outstanding resource water. Each body of water or section of a body of water has three or four uses assigned to it. Specific thermal standards are assigned based on whether the body of water is a warm or cold water aquatic habitat.


401 KAR 10:031, Section 4(2)(b)

In cold water habitats, water temperature must not be increased above the natural seasonal temperatures as a result of human activities.


401 KAR 10:031, Section ...

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State Requirements

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Kentucky Thermal Discharges Resources

Thermal Discharges Products

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