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More on EPA's announcement on water pollution regulation of confined animal operations
- Subject: More on EPA's announcement on water pollution regulation of confined animal operations
- From: email@example.com
- Date: 5 Mar 1998 16:13:17 -0500
- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
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....
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 14:43:40 -0500 (EST)
From: GROUP PRESS 202-260-4355 <PRESS@epamail.epa.gov>
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: PR PROTECT PUBLIC HLT. AND THE ENV. FROM ANIMAL FEEDING OPER.
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
X-Comment: U.S. EPA Press Releases
!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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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
permits to control the amount of wastes that run off into waterways. This
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
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
from all other large feeding operations and priority facilities in impaired
watersheds by 2005.
Improving compliance and enforcement of existing regulations by working with
to inspect those facilities that present the greatest threats to the
public health within three years and all large feedlot operations within
Focusing enforcement and permitting efforts on those watersheds most
pollution from animal feeding operations.
Expanding the scope of permitting through Administrative actions in the near
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.
The new strategy will result in the following environmental improvements.
Reductions in manure runoff will decrease the amount of nutrients (e.g.,
phosphorus) entering surface water bodies. Excessive nutrient levels have
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
ground water resources will also protect drinking water systems throughout the
While a definitive conclusion has yet to be reached, many scientists believe
high levels of nutrients led to the Pfiesteria piscicida outbreaks in North
and Maryland and Virginia tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. Addressing manure
runoff from AFOs will minimize one identified source of nutrients to these
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