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E-M:/ More on EPA's announcement on water pollution regulation of confined animal operations



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Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com
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This is a followup to an earlier message on information that will affect
Michigan and Great Lakes based water pollution aspects of confined
animal feeding facility water pollution regulation....

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 14:43:40 -0500 (EST)
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Subject: PR PROTECT PUBLIC HLT. AND THE ENV. FROM ANIMAL FEEDING OPER.
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!PR/PROTECT PUBLIC HLT. AND THE ENV. FROM ANIMAL FEEDING OPER./SCROLL 
FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 1998

          
  EPA TO BETTER PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE                           
  ENVIRONMENT FROM ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS 



     In its first action under the Clinton Administration's new Clean 
Water Action Plan to finish the job of cleaning up the nation's 
rivers, lakes and streams, EPA is releasing for public comment a draft 
strategy to minimize the public health and environmental impacts from 
animal feeding operations (AFOs).  The strategy calls for new water 
pollution control requirements and immediate inspections and increased 
enforcement for large animal feeding operations to reduce animal waste 
runoff into waterways.   

     "Last month, President Clinton pledged to finish the job of 
cleaning up America's waterways, and today we are taking a major step 
to make good on that pledge by controlling runoff from animal feeding 
operations -- a major source of water pollution," said EPA 
Administrator, Carol M. Browner.  "Rural and urban runoff account for 
more than half of all water pollution, and runoff from animal feeding 
operations in particular has been associated with threats to human 
health and the environment." 

     Animal feeding operations are livestock-raising operations, such 
as hog, cattle and poultry farms, that confine and concentrate animal 
populations and their wastes. Animal waste, if not managed properly, 
can run off  to nearby water bodies and cause serious water pollution 
and public health risks.  There are approximately 450,000 AFOs in the 
United States.  About 6,600 of these operations are fall into the 
largest catagory and are referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding 
Operations (CAFOs).

     The draft strategy calls for agressive enforcement of Clean Water 
Act permit requirements and an increase in facilities permitted.  It 
also calls for the implementation of an expanded range of regulatory 
and permitting tools by EPA and the states.  It is intended to foster 
a dialogue with the regulated community and other members of the 
public on how to better protect public health and 
the environment around these facilities and to encourage voluntary 
actions.  

     Agricultural practices across the United States are estimated to 
contribute to the degradation of 60 percent of the nation's surveyed 
rivers and streams that are impaired.  Feedlots alone are estimated to 
adversely impact l6 percent of waters that are impaired from 
agricultural practices.  

      Although some concentrated animal feeding operations have been 
regulated under the Clean Water Act since the early l970s,  the 
concentration of animals at larger feeding operations and the 
availability of new waste management technologies and runoff controls 
have heightened awareness that additional controls are needed.   
Increasing incidences of animal waste discharges into waterways have 
led to drinking water contamination, fish kills, nuisance odors and 
other environmental problems.

       Reductions in animal waste runoff will decrease the amount of 
excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) entering surface water 
bodies.  While a definitive conclusion has yet to be reached, many 
scientists believe that high levels of nutrients have led to the toxic 
microorganism "pfiesteria" outbreaks in North Carolina and in the 
Maryland and Virginia tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. Excessive 
nutrient levels also have been responsible for lower oxygen levels in 
surface waters throughout the United States, including the Dead Zone 
in the Gulf of Mexico.   

     Protection of surface and ground water also protects drinking 
water resources throughout the United States.  Reductions in leaching 
from manure storage lagoons will protect groundwater resources from 
nitrate and pathogen contamination.

     As part of this strategy, EPA also is releasing a final 
enforcement strategy, the "Compliance Assurance Implementation Plan 
for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations."  The plan provides for 
increased targeted CAFO inspections based on environmental risk: 
states and EPA regions will inspect all high priority CAFOs in three 
years with the remainder in five years.  In addition, the final 
enforcement strategy provides for increased compliance assistance 
through EPA's Compliance Agricultural Assistance Center in Kansas 
City; increased enforcement, especially against those CAFOs that are 
discharging in violation of an existing permit; development of state-
specific compliance/enforcement strategies; a national enforcement 
initiative; and increased support to regions and states in the form of 
inspector training, targeting assistance and development of 
enforcement tools.     	      	   	
     
     The draft strategy calls for a significant increase in the number 
of CAFOs that are regulated and permitted under the Clean Water Act.  
It sets goals for EPA and the states to fully regulate and issue Clean 
Water Act permits to the largest CAFOs by 2002 and to fully regulate 
and permit all other CAFOs and priority facilities in impaired 
watersheds by 2005.  Currently, only about a quarter of the CAFOs have 
permits.  

     EPA and states will expand efforts to ensure that all permits 
include comprehensive waste management requirements, including land 
application conditions, and will revise regulations to support this 
effort by December 2001.  In addition, EPA will revise national 
environmental guidelines for allowable levels of waste flowing from 
poultry and swine facilities by December 2001 and national guidelines 
for cattle and dairy facilities by December 2002.

     In 1999, EPA will identify and list priority watersheds at 
greatest risk from AFOs.

     The draft strategy also calls for increased cooperation among 
federal agencies and states to provide funding, public involvement, 
educational and technical support; a research and development program 
and use of state-of-the-art technologies; and a program to apply non-
regulatory, innovative approaches, whenever possible.  It will serve 
as a basis for a unified EPA/USDA joint national strategy later this 
year.

     The draft strategy was compiled with help from other federal 
agencies, state agencies, environmental and citizens' groups, industry 
and farm groups. 

     Copies of the draft strategy are available from EPA's Water 
Resource Center at 202-260-7786 or on the Internet at 
http://www.epa.gov/owm.  Written comments will be accepted until May 
1, l998, and may be submitted to Ruby Cooper-Ford, U.S. EPA, Mail Code 
4203, Washington, D. C. 20460, or by e-mail:  
Ford.Ruby@epamail.epa.gov.

     Copies of the final enforcement strategy, the "Compliance 
Assurance Implementation Plan
for CAFOs," will be available on the Internet at:  
http://www.epa.gov/OECA/agbranch.html, or by contacting Michelle 
Stevenson at 202-564-2355. 

R-26 	       	    	      ###


EPA's Draft Strategy on Animal Feeding Operations

On February 19, 1998, at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, President Clinton 
and Vice President Gore announced the Administration's Clean Water 
Action Plan to finish the job of cleaning up America's rivers, lakes 
and coastal waters to protect the environment and health of all 
Americans.  A key element of that Plan called for a strategy to 
control water pollution coming from animal feeding operations -- 
release of this Strategy is the first key action implemented under the 
Clean Water Action Plan.  

Background

     Animal Feeding Operations, or AFOs, are agricultural facilities 
that confine feeding activities, thereby concentrating animal 
populations and manure.  Animal waste, if not managed properly, can 
run off and pollute nearby water bodies.  Recent evidence suggests 
that such runoff poses threats to the environment and public health. 

     There were about 450,000 animal feeding operations in 1994.  
About 6,600 of these operations fall in to the largest category and 
are referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs.  

     Less than 25 percent of these larger operations currently have Clean
Water Act 
permits to control the amount of wastes that run off into waterways.  This
reflects 
the historical focus of the Act to first control pollution from industrial 
facilities and sewage treatment plants.

The Strategy:  Protecting the Environment and Public Health

The strategy will achieve positive environmental results by:

Setting new national standards for allowable levels of waste flows from
poultry and 
swine facilities by December, 2001 and from cattle and dairy operations by 2002.

Issuing permits to limit pollution from runoff for the largest CAFOs by
2002, and 
from all other large feeding operations and priority facilities in impaired 
watersheds by 2005.

Improving compliance and enforcement of existing regulations by working with
states 
to inspect those facilities that present the greatest threats to the
environment and 
public health within three years and all large feedlot operations within
five years.

Focusing enforcement and permitting efforts on those watersheds most
vulnerable to 
pollution from animal feeding operations.

Expanding the scope of permitting through Administrative actions in the near
term 
and through regulatory changes by 2001, to include for the first time, national 
efforts to manage pollution associated with the land application of manure.

Continuing dialogues with the animal agricultural industries, environmental 
organizations, and community organizations.

Preparing a unified national strategy under EPA and USDA leadership to control 
pollution from feedlot operations by November 1998.

Environmental Benefits

The new strategy will result in the following environmental improvements.

Reductions in manure runoff will decrease the amount of nutrients (e.g.,
nitrogen, 
phosphorus) entering surface  water bodies.  Excessive nutrient levels have
been 
responsible for hypoxia (low levels of dissolved oxygen) and anoxia (absence of 
dissolved oxygen) in surface waters throughout the United States, including the 
"Dead Zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and elsewhere.

Reductions in leaching from manure storage lagoons will protect groundwater 
resources from nitrate or pathogen contamination.  Protection of both
surface and 
ground water resources will also protect drinking water systems throughout the 
United States.

While a definitive conclusion has yet to be reached, many scientists believe
that 
high levels of nutrients led to the Pfiesteria piscicida outbreaks in North
Carolina 
and Maryland and Virginia tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay.  Addressing manure 
runoff from AFOs will minimize one identified source of nutrients to these
waters.
     	   


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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)



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