New York Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

New York Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Thermal discharges: 6 New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) 704.1 to 704.7

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General discharge criteria: 6 NYCRR 704.2

Criteria modifications: 6 NYCRR 704.4

Effluent limitations in State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permits: 6 NYCRR 750-1.10

Mixing zones: 6 NYCRR 704.3

Intake structures: 6 NYCRR 704.5

Regulatory Agencies

New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Water

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. New York has established specific guidelines for thermal discharges into its waters, according to a general state water classification scheme. The state's regulations follow the federal Clean Water Act. In addition, the state offers a modification option similar to the federal thermal discharge variance procedure when a less restrictive temperature limitation is appropriate. EPA Region 2 may also review cases of discharges related to temperature. For additional guidance, see the national section THERMAL DISCHARGES.

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

State Requirements


6 NYCRR 704.1 to 704.7

All thermal discharges to New York waters are required to ensure the protection of the state's shellfish, fish, and wildlife.

General Discharge Criteria

6 NYCRR 704.2(a)

The following criteria apply to all state waters receiving thermal discharges:

  • The annual seasonal cycle must be retained.
  • Annual spring and fall temperature changes ...

Read more about Thermal Discharges