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DATA MANAGEMENT – SECTION 316(b) OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT
Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act grants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate facilities with cooling water intake structures to assure that they reflect the “best technology available” for minimizing adverse environmental impacts from these facilities. In response, power producers must conduct detailed field studies to assess the impact of their cooling water systems on the surrounding aquatic life. EA supported Dominion Power in conducting a 316(b) study for several of their power generating facilities. These studies gathered diverse sets of data on plant operations (flows, pump capacities, operation cycles), environmental factors (sun rise, sun set, tides, weather), sampling techniques (impingement, entrainment, netting, equipment, sample volumes, sample schedule), and organism data (species, size, weight, life stage, counts).
To allow for statistical analysis, querying, and complex reporting, this complex dataset required a sophisticated data structure to be defined and developed. EA developed an enterprise relational database designed to relate, code, normalize, standardize, and store over 60,000 organism records, along with the associated complex sampling environmental conditions, and the plant operation data. The database design included a high level of key relationships between tables to enforce data integrity and quality. The full data management system included the integration of a custom user application that facilitated remote data entry by users, data review, and complex reporting. Planning and design of the data storage system required extensive interaction with field scientists, statisticians, report production staff, and project managers.