Maryland Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Maryland Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Water quality and effluent standards: Maryland Code Annotated, Environmental 9-314

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Discharge standards, water quality criteria, and effluent limitations: Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) to COMAR

Surface water quality standards: COMAR

Temperature standards: COMAR

Definitions: COMAR

Thermal mixing zone criteria: COMAR

Alternate thermal limitations: COMAR


Cooling water intake structures: COMAR

Regulatory Agency

Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Water Management Administration

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Maryland follows the federal Clean Water Act and prohibits thermal discharges above designated levels based on water body classifications. Mixing zones are defined for the state, and thermal discharges can apply these standards as well as alternate effluent limitations under certain circumstances. There are also state standards for cooling water intake structures.

Administration and enforcement. MDE's Water Management Administration is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the state's thermal discharge regulations.

State Requirements



Maryland protects its state waters used for water recreation, fishing, protection of aquatic life and wildlife, and agricultural and industrial water supply. In addition to other general surface water quality criteria, Maryland does not allow pollution of state waters by high temperature attributable to industrial ...

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