The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed changes to its proposed rule concerning National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Effluent Limitation Guidelines for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This is in response to a 2005 ruling by the Second Court of Appeals. EPA says the proposal will:

  • Require only the owners and operators of CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge to seek coverage under a permit.
  • Require CAFOs seeking coverage under a permit to submit their nutrient management plan (NMP) with their application for an individual permit, or notice of intent to be authorized under a general permit. Permitting authorities would be required to review the plan and provide the public with an opportunity for meaningful public review and comment.
  • Authorize permit writers, upon request by a CAFO, to establish best management, zero-discharge effluent limitations when the facility demonstrates it's designed an open containment system that will comply with the no-discharge requirements.
Comments on the proposed rule are due by Aug. Read the rule at: www.epa.gov/npdes/regulations/cafo_revisedrule.pdf.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent