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Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), such as large pig, veal and poultry, beef and dairy farms, would continue to be required to properly manage the manure they generate under a rule proposed today by the U.S. EPA. The move, in response to a 2005 court ruling, would revise the current permit system for such farms.
The proposed rule revises the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements and Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for CAFOs. The proposal requires those CAFOs that discharge, or propose to discharge, pollutants to apply for a permit. It also provides for greater public participation in connection with nutrient management plans. Applicants would have to submit a nutrient management plan with their permit application. Permitting authorities would be required to provide public notice and review of the plans, and include them as enforceable elements of the permit.
In addition, it clarifies the selection of best conventional technology for fecal coliform bacteria. It also clarifies that under the exemption established by the Clean Water Act, CAFOs land applying manure, litter or processed wastewater don’t need NPDES permits if the only discharge from those facilities is agricultural storm water.
The proposed revision is in response to a ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Waterkeeper Alliance, et al., vs. EPA. The proposed rule is open for a 45-day comment period.