Establishment of a Habitat Monitoring Program to Assess Potential Impacts of Diversion of POTW Effluent

by Mark Gerath,
David Mitchell,
Gregg DelVecchio,
Therese Flood,
Lisa Wolf,
Steve Damiano,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology


As part of the permitting process for a gas-fired power plant, the environmental impacts of diverting POTW effluent from the receiving water for cooling tower makeup was investigated. This resulted in the estimation of a minimum instream flow necessary to protect ecological resources in the receiving water body. The project developer agreed to cease effluent diversion when this minimum instream flow was reached and to develop a maintain a monitoring program to assure that no adverse impact to the riverine ecosystem occurred as result of the diversion. The monitoring program is comprehensive and tracks year-to-year changes hydrology, vegetation, benthos, and fish communities. It also provides for comparison of control communities upstream of the point of effluent diversion to areas below the diversion that may be affected by the diversion. The monitoring program provides a method for identifying long-term trends and fluctuations in these components as an indicator of overall ecosystem function and health. The program is to be overseen by a committee of interested parties and chaired by an impartial agency.

Subject Headings: Effluents | Hydro power | Cooling towers | Environmental issues | Power plants | Streamflow | Ecosystems | Gas flow

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