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E-M:/ Aug.25: CAFOs draft NPDES general permit public hearing

Dear Michigan,


For those of you concerned about clean water in Michigan’s rural places –


The CAFO NPDES draft general permit PUBLIC HEARING is this Thursday August 25 at 7pm here in Lansing at the Holiday Inn.  The public hearing is for the MDEQ to hear your input on the newly revised draft CAFO NPDES general permit. 


CAFOs are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or, as they’re called in Canada, Industrial Livestock Operations.  These are livestock operations with many 100s or even 1000s of animals, and they produce the same amount of feces and urine as small cities.  Their manure is not treated, but is instead stored in huge sewage lagoons, where solids sink and the liquid is sucked out to be sprayed onto or otherwise applied to land.  The solids are eventually also emptied from the lagoons, and that waste is also spread onto land.  There are some new technologies available now, yet most are not adequate to deal with all aspects of the huge amount of waste produced daily on these operations.  Most problematic are pathogens like E. coli and campylobacter and other bacteria, and cryptosporidium – all these, and others, can cause illness and even death in humans. Huge inputs of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus into Michigan’s waters can cause algae blooms and fish kills. 


As a requirement under the federal Clean Water Act, and under Michigan’s delegated authority to administer the Clean Water Act here, CAFOs apply for NPDES general permit certificates of coverage for their operations, these general permits set the standards under which CAFOs can discharge their dirty water.  For more information on CAFOs and what they discharge, see www.nocafos.org.  


For more information on the draft CAFO NPDES general permit, see the MDEQ’s website at:  http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3313_3682_3713-10463--,00.html , scroll down to the embedded table with "General Permit for Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations"  for links to the public notice and to the permit itself.  Final comments are due on Sept. 16 to Mike Bitondo, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Bureau, P.O. Box 30273, Lansing, Michigan48909-7773, or by email to bitondom@michigan.gov.  For more information, call Mike Bitondo at 517-335-3303.


If you care about clean water, then please plan to attend the hearing and tell your concerns to the MDEQ.  We participated on the MDEQ’s working group for this permit – and we know there is much pressure on the MDEQ to move backward to a weaker permit instead of a stronger permit.  We know that the general permit needs to be stronger, not weakened.


Please plan to speak out for a stronger general permit, that: 

Ø     protects public health from filthy pathogen-ridden water discharges to waters of the state, that increases waterborne or airborne diseases like campylobacteriosis and E. coli infections, and that could be an important factor in beach closures around our shorelines;

Ø     requests that ALL CAFOS must be made to come under the permit, because voluntary programs are not working; 

Ø     tells MDEQ that the whole and complete CNMP must be made available to the public so that the public can give proper input about permitting decisions that will affect their lives and livelihoods; 

Ø     the state must better enforce the permits, and that the state must shut down the CAFOs that refuse to use practices that would protect their neighbors;

Ø     the state must develop better staff training programs, so that inexperienced water bureau and air quality division staff know how to respond to a CAFO discharge or even a CAFO emergency.



The hearing location and time are:  7pm to 9:30pm, at  7501 West Saginaw Highway, Lansing.  The map link is here:  http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?searchtype=address&country=US&addtohistory=&searchtab=home&address=7501+West+saginaw+highway&city=lansing&state=MI&zipcode=  


Please contact the Michigan Sierra Club if you want more information.  Email to Rita.jack@sierraclub.org or to Anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org.  you can call us at 517-484-2372.    


Thanks, Michigan


Rita Jack






Rita Jack

Water Sentinels Project

Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter

109 E. Grand River Ave.

Lansing, Michigan  48906

tel:  517-484-2372




Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.