New Requirements For Controlling Manure, Wastewater From Large CAFOs

NPPC praises rule as 'tough but fair'.

Published on: Nov 3, 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule "helping to protect the nation's water quality" by requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to safely manage manure. EPA estimates CAFO regulations will prevent 56 million pounds of phosphorus, 110 million pounds of nitrogen and 2 billion pounds of sediment from entering streams, lakes and other waters annually.

"EPA's new regulation of animal feedlots sets a strong national standard for pollution prevention and environmental protection, while maintaining our country's economic and agricultural competitiveness," said assistant administrator for water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "This clean water rule strengthens environmental safeguards by embracing a zero discharge standard and requiring site-specific management plans to prevent runoff of excess nutrients into our nation's waters."

This is the first time EPA has required a nutrient management plan (NMP) for manure to be submitted as part of a CAFO's Clean Water Act permit application. Previous rules required a CAFO operator to use an NMP for controlling manure, but the regulation builds on that by requiring the NMP to be submitted with the permit application. The plan will be reviewed by the permitting authority and conditions based on it will be incorporated as enforceable terms of the permit. The proposed NMP and permit will be available for public review and comment before going final.

The regulation also requires that an owner or operator of a CAFO that actually discharges to streams, lakes and other waters must apply for a permit under the Clean Water Act. If a farmer designs, constructs, operates and maintains their facility such that a discharge will occur, a permit is needed. EPA is also providing an opportunity for CAFO operators who do not discharge or propose to discharge to show their commitment to pollution prevention by obtaining certification as zero dischargers.

In addition, the final rule includes technical clarifications regarding water quality-based effluent limitations and use of best management practices to meet zero discharge requirements, as well as affirming the 2003 rule requirement for reducing fecal coliform through the use of best conventional technology.

Calling it a "tough but fair rule" that sets a high environmental standard for livestock producers, the National Pork Producer Council (NPPC) today praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its new regulation for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

"The CAFO regulation issued today is a tough but fair rule and sets a standard that the U.S. pork industry has been and will continue living up to," said NPPC environment committee chairman Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn. "Pork producers are ready to comply with the new regulation."

Information on the concentrated animal feeding operation rule is at www.epa.gov/npdes/caforule.

Source: Feedstuffs