U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Document Type


Date of this Version



J. Environ. Quality, Vol. 1, no. 1, 1972 89


U.S. government work


A great deal of research is yet to be done before we will definitely know all the effects of thermal electric generating plants. It is evident, however, that the chlorination of the intake water is definitely lethal to a high percentage of planktonic and other organisms; that thermal shock is detrimental to some of the more sensitive forms; that the continued exposure to high temperatures after thermal shock is lethal to many forms, especially the zooplankton; that the screening and turbulence in such plants is lethal to larval fishes and several invertebrates, and that immense amounts of waters are put through the plant and such transfer can be detrimental. In view of these findings, I believe that in most instances bays and estuaries are not suitable for the location of a number of thermal electric plants. Discharges to the open ocean should be encouraged or required because acre for acre our bays and estuarine waters are more important and valuable for the production of marine life than is the open ocean. It is certain that we must have electricity; that the demand for electricity will increase, and that these plants must be built. It is recommended, however, that each situation be examined as to all possible adverse effects, and that these plants be so located or corrective measures built in so that they cause the least amount of damage to the aquatic environment and the various water uses. If damage cannot be prevented, it is best to damage the least valuable area.