Pennsylvania Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Pennsylvania Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Heated discharges: 25 Pennsylvania Code (Pa. Code) 96.6

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Maximum temperatures in receiving waters: 25 Pa. Code 93.7

Regulatory Agency

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Office of Water Management Bureau of Point and Nonpoint Source Management

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Pennsylvania generally follows the federal regulations pertaining to thermal discharges. The state has established detailed temperature requirements based on the classification of the receiving waters. Alternative effluent limitations are permissible if it is demonstrated that the applicable levels in force are more stringent than necessary. See the national section THERMAL DISCHARGES for more information.

Administration and enforcement. DEP's Bureau of Point and Nonpoint Source Management is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the state's thermal discharge regulations.

State Requirements


25 Pa. Code 96.6

Pennsylvania uses various standards to regulate thermal discharges. No discharges are allowed to raise the temperature of receiving water by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (F) during a 1-hour period. In addition, the allowable heat content must be limited to the following:

  • A calculated amount that will raise the temperature of the receiving water no more than the applicable criteria in the Table
  • An amount based upon an evaluation conducted in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act under 33 USC 1326

Waste load allocations (WLAs) for thermal discharges are determined by DEP for existing and future point sources in ...

Read more about Thermal Discharges