November 5, 2008
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US has finalised a rule that requires concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) to safely manage manure.
These CAFO regulations will prevent 25,000 tonnes of phosphorus, 50,000 tonnes of nitrogen, and 900,000 tonnes of sediment from entering streams, lakes and other waters annually, the agency estimates.
Previous rules required a CAFO operator to use a nutrient management plan (NMP) for controlling manure, but the new regulation builds on that by requiring the NMP to be submitted with the permit application as part of a CAFO's Clean Water Act 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.
An owner or operator of a CAFO that actually discharges to streams, lakes, and other waters must also apply for a permit under the Clean Water Act, and a permit is needed if a farmer designs, constructs, operates and maintains their facility in such a way that a discharge will occur.
CAFO operators who do not discharge or propose to discharge will have an opportunity to show their commitment to pollution prevention by obtaining certification as zero dischargers.
The rule deadline for newly defined facilities to apply for permits is February 27, 2009.