62-302.520. Thermal Surface Water Criteria  

Effective on Thursday, March 1, 1979
  • 1All discharges or proposed discharges of heated water into receiving bodies of water (RBW) which are controlled by the State shall be subjected to a thorough study to assess the consequences of the discharge upon the environment. The State shall be divided into two general climatological zones: Peninsular Florida, which varies from tropical in nature to temperate but is modified by the peninsular configuration and is the area south of latitude 30º N (excluding Gulf and Franklin Counties): and Northern Florida which is temperate and continental and is the area above latitude 30º N plus the portions of Gulf and Franklin Counties which lie below 30º N.

    108(1) Heated water discharges existing on July 1, 1972:

    117(a) Shall not increase the temperature of the RBW so as to cause substantial damage or harm to the aquatic life or vegetation therein or interfere with beneficial uses assigned to the RBW,

    150(b) Shall be monitored by the discharger to ensure compliance with this rule, and

    164(c) If the Department, pursuant to notice and opportunity for hearing, finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a discharge has caused substantial damage, it may require conversion of such discharge to offstream cooling or approved alternate methods. In making determinations regarding such conversions, the Department may consider:

    2131. The nature and extent of the existing damage;

    2222. The projected lifetime of the existing discharge;

    2303. Any adverse economic and environmental (including non-water quality) impacts which would result from such conversion; and

    2474. Such other factors as may be appropriate.

    255(2) Heated water sources proposed for future discharges into RBW controlled by the State shall not increase the water temperature by more than the monthly temperature limits prescribed for the particular type and location of the RBW. New sources shall include all expansions, modifications, alterations, replacements, or repairs which result in an increased output of ten percent (10%) or more of the level of energy production which existed on the date this rule became effective. Water temperatures shall be measured by procedures approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In all cases where a temperature rise above ambient is allowed and a maximum RBW temperature is also prescribed, the lower of the two limitations shall be the control temperature.

    376(3) Definitions.

    378(a) Ambient (natural) temperature of a RBW shall mean the existing temperature of the receiving water at a location which is unaffected by man-made thermal discharges and a location which is also of a depth and exposure to winds and currents which typify the most environmentally stable portions of the RBW.

    429(b) Coastal waters shall be all waters in the State which are not classified as fresh waters or as open waters.

    450(c) A cooling pond is a body of water enclosed by natural or constructed restraints which has been approved by the Florida DEP for purposes of controlling heat dissipation from thermal discharges.

    482(d) An existing heat source is any thermal discharge (a) which is presently taking place, or (b) which is under construction or for which a construction or operation permit has been issued prior to the effective date of this rule.

    522(e) Fresh waters shall be all waters of the State which are contained in lakes and ponds, or are in flowing streams above the zone in which tidal actions influence the salinity of the water and where the concentration of chloride ions is normally less than 1500 milligrams per liter.

    572(f) Open water shall be all waters in the State extending seaward from the most seaward 18-foot depth contour line (three-fathom bottom depth contour) which is offshore from any island; exposed or submerged bar or reef; or mouth of any embayment or estuary which is narrowed by headlands. Contour lines shall be determined from Coast and Geodetic Survey Charts.

    631(g) The point of discharge (POD) for a heated water discharge shall be primarily that point at which the effluent physically leaves its carrying conduit (open or closed), and discharges into the waters of the state, or, in the event it is not practicable to measure temperature at the end of the discharge conduit, a specific point designated by the Florida DEP for that particular thermal discharge.

    698(h) Heated water discharges are the effluents from commercial or industrial activities or processes in which water is used for the purpose of transporting waste heat, and which constitute heat sources of one million British Thermal Units per hour (1,000,000 BTU/HR.), or greater.

    743(i) Blowdown shall mean the minimum discharge of recirculating cooling water for the purpose of discharging materials contained in the water, the further buildup of which could cause concentrations in amounts exceeding limits established by best engineering practice.

    781(j) Recirculating cooling water shall mean water which is used for the purpose of removing waste heat and then passed through a cooling system for the purpose of removing such heat from the water and then, except for blowdown, is used again to remove waste heat.

    827(4) Monthly and Maximum Temperature Limits.

    833(a) Fresh Waters – Heated water with a temperature at the POD more than 5º F higher than the ambient (natural) temperature of any stream shall not be discharged into such stream. At all times under all conditions of stream flow the discharge temperature shall be controlled so that at least two-thirds (2/3) of the width of the stream’s surface remains at ambient (natural) temperature. Further, no more than one-fourth (1/4) of the cross-section of the stream at a traverse perpendicular to the flow shall be heated by the discharge. Heated water with a temperature at the POD more than 3º F higher than the ambient (natural) temperature of any lake or reservoir shall not be discharged into such lake or reservoir. Further, no heated water with a temperature above 90º F shall be discharged into any fresh waters in Northern Florida regardless of the ambient temperature of the RBW. In Peninsular Florida, heated waters above 92º F shall not be discharged into fresh waters.

    998(b) Coastal Waters – Heated water with a temperature at the POD more than 2º F higher than the ambient (natural) temperature of the RBW shall not be discharged into coastal waters in any zone during the months of June, July, August, and September. During the remainder of the year, heated water with a temperature at the POD more than 4º F higher than the ambient (natural) temperature of the RBW shall not be discharged into coastal waters in any zone. In addition, during June, July, August, and September, no heated water with a temperature above 92º F shall be discharged into coastal waters. Further, no heated water with a temperature above 90º F shall be discharged into coastal waters during the period October thru May.

    1124(c) Open Waters – Heated water with a temperature at the POD up to 17º F above ambient (natural) temperature of the RBW may be discharged from an open or closed conduit into open waters under the following restraints: The surface temperature of the RBW shall not be raised to more than 97º F and the POD must be sufficient distance offshore to ensure that the adjacent coastal waters are not heated beyond the temperatures permitted in such waters.

    1203(d) Cooling Ponds – The temperature for heated water discharged from a cooling pond shall be measured at the POD from the pond, and the temperature limitation shall be that specified for the RBW.

    1237(5) General.

    1239(a) Daily and seasonal temperature variations that were normal to the RBW before the addition of heat from other than natural causes shall be maintained.

    1264(b) Recapitulation of temperature limitations prescribed above:



    1278NORTH.127990º F Max.128290º F Max. 128592º F Max.128890º F Max.129197º F Max.

    1294AM + 5º F1298AM + 3º F 1302AM + 2º F1306AM + 4º F 1310AM + 17º F

    1314PENIN. 131592º F Max. 131892º F Max. 132192º F Max. 132490º F Max. 132797º F Max.

    1330AM + 5º F1334AM + 3º F1338AM + 2º F 1342AM + 4º F1346AM + 17º F

    1350(6) Upon application on a case-by-case basis, the Department may establish a zone of mixing beyond the POD to afford a reasonable opportunity for dilution and mixture of heated water discharges with the RBW, in the following manner:

    1388(a) Zones of mixing for thermal discharges from non-recirculated cooling water systems and process water systems of new sources shall be allowed if supported by a demonstration, as provided in Section 316(a), Public Law 92-500 and regulations promulgated thereunder, including 142840 C.F.R. Part 122, 1432by an applicant that the proposed mixing zone will assure the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish and wildlife in and on the body of water into which the discharge is to be made and such demonstration has not been rebutted. It is the intent of the Commission that to the extent practicable, proceedings under this provision should be conducted jointly with proceedings before the federal government under Section 316(a), Public Law 92-500.

    1510(b) Zones of mixing for blowdown discharges from recirculated cooling water systems, and for discharges from non-recirculated cooling water systems of existing sources, shall be established on the basis of the physical and biological characteristics of the RBW.

    1548(c) When a zone of mixing is established pursuant to this subsection 156062-302.520(6), 1561F.A.C., any otherwise applicable temperature limitations contained in Rule 157062-302.520, 1571F.A.C., shall be met at its boundary; however, the Department may also establish maximum numerical temperature limits to be measured at the POD and to be used in lieu of the general temperature limits in Rule 160762-302.520, 1608F.A.C., to determine compliance by the discharge with the established mixing zone and the temperature limits in Rule 162662-302.520, 1627F.A.C.

    1628Rulemaking Authority 1630403.061, 1631403.062, 1632403.087, 1633403.504, 1634403.704, 1635403.804 FS. 1637Law Implemented 1639403.021(11), 1640403.061, 1641403.087, 1642403.088, 1643403.141, 1644403.161, 1645403.182, 1646403.502, 1647403.702, 1648403.708 FS. 1650History–Formerly 28-5.02, 17-3.02, Amended 10-28-70, Amended and Renumbered 3-1-79, Formerly 17-3.05, 17-3.050, 17-302.520.