Rhode Island Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Rhode Island Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Rhode Island Water Pollution Act, Rhode Island General Laws (RI Gen. Laws) 46-12

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Rhode Island water quality standards: Rhode Island Rules and Regulations (RI Rule) 12.190.001-1 to 12.190.001-23

Thermal discharges: RI Rule 12.190.001-8

Regulatory Agencies

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Bureau of Environmental Protection Office of Water Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Rhode Island regulates water temperature under its general water quality standards and has general standards for freshwater, seawater, and mixing zones for thermal discharges.

Administration and enforcement. DEM's Office of Water Resources administers and enforces the state's water quality program, including thermal discharge requirements.

State Requirements


RI Rule 12.190.001-8

Rhode Island provides water temperature standards as minimum conditions of water quality, and also provides a set of standards based on usage.

The discharge must not raise the temperature of the receiving waters above the recommended limit on the most sensitive receiving water, nor will it cause the growth of nuisance species of biota. The discharge must never exceed 83°F. Heated discharges into cold water habitats must not raise the temperature above 68°F outside an established thermal mixing zone, and the temperature of the receiving water must never be raised more than 4°F.

The thermal discharges to seawater must not raise the temperature of the receiving waters above the recommended limit ...

Read more about Thermal Discharges