As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the U.S. By August 27, farmers who currently have a General Permit will need to choose what type of permit they want for their operation. Farmers will be choosing between two options:
1)the State No-Discharge General Permit or
2) the NPDES General Permit.
Which Permit Should I Get?
Your choice will be based largely on managing the risk of your manure storage over-flowing due to a large precipitation event. If you believe that rainfall will never cause your manure storage to overflow you would be a good candidate for the Missouri No-Discharge General permit. Examples of these types of operations include poultry buildings raising birds on litter, hogs or dairy cows in deep-pack buildings or covered slurry storages for hog or dairy operations.
If you expect that your manure storage will overflow at some point due to extreme precipitation events you could choose the NPDES General Permit. No properly designed and operated manure storage facility in Missouri is designed to regularly discharge manure or other effluent.However, extreme weather events can occur that exceed the designed capacity of an open storage. The NPDES General Permit defines the situations where such releases are allowed under this permit. Examples of operations that should consider getting the NPDES General Permit include any operation with a lagoon or slurry storage open to precipitation. Farms with open lots draining into a lagoon or other manure storage are strongly encouraged to consider the NPDES General Permit.
What happens if you choose the No-Discharge permit and then have a precipitation-based discharge to waters of the state? You will get a notice of violation and the matter will be evaluated for further enforcement action. You also will be required to provide MDNR detailed information on how the spill occurred and corrective actions taken to prevent a future discharge for the same cause. If you have a second discharge for the same reason within five years you will be required to apply for to an NPDES General Permit.