The deadline is fast approaching for comments on two supplementary issues in Environmental Protection Agency's rulemaking on concentrated animal feeding operations. The deadline on the supplemental notice is April 7. The two issues were outlined in March as an addition to EPA's June 30, 2006 proposed rulemaking to revise the National Pollutant discharge Elimination System.
According to an EPA fact sheet, the two proposals under consideration include: "a new provision that would allow CAFO operators to voluntarily certify that they do not discharge or propose to discharge and as such have no duty to apply for a permit. The proposal would establish clear criteria that a CAFO must meet in order to be eligible for certification. The certification option would not change the requirement proposed in 2006 that CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge would be required to seek permit coverage. In the event of an unforeseen accidental discharge from a properly certified CAFO, the CAFO would not be liable for violation of the duty to apply for a permit, but the certification would no longer be valid."
EPA is also proposing a framework for identifying the terms of the nutrient management plan (NMP) that must be enforceable requirements of a CAFO's NPDES permit. The proposed framework includes three alternative approaches for specifying terms of the NMP with respect to rates of application, which are needed to satisfy the requirement that the NMP include "protocols to land apply manure, litter or process wastewater…that ensure appropriate agricultural utilization of the nutrients." The proposed framework would include supplemental annual reporting requirements for permitted CAFOs to accompany these proposed alternative approaches.
Copies of the Federal Register Notice containing the proposed rule are available on EPA's website at www.epa.gov/npdes/afo/revisedrule.