Ohio EPA holds livestock hearings

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COLUMBUS – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new general permit to regulate manure discharges from large livestock facilities.

The general permit proposes to prohibit manure discharges to waters of the state, except under limited circumstances.

Public hearings. Two public information sessions and hearings have been scheduled:

* Oct. 15, 7 p.m. at the Fisher Auditorium, Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Avenue, in Wooster; and

* Oct. 16, 7 p.m. at the Lima City Council Chambers, 50 Town Square, in Lima.

Q&A session. Prior to each public hearing there will be a session to answer questions regarding the draft general permit.

Public hearings will end when everyone has had an opportunity to testify.

Backgrounds. The Agency is proposing to regulate discharges containing manure from a production or storage area, treatment facility or land application site.

The draft permit prohibits discharge of pollutants to waters of the state, except in a 25-year, 24-hour storm or chronic rainfall event.

In this event, the facility may discharge from a production area that is properly designed, operated and maintained to contain manure, provided required records have been maintained.

The discharge may not exceed Ohio water quality standards and would not apply to swine, veal or poultry operations constructed after April 14, 2003.

Land application affected. Land application sites are also restricted, and require specific land application practices.

Discharges of land-applied manure during dry weather would be prohibited.

Facilities seeking coverage under the general permit would be required to submit an application and fee. Those who fail to obtain coverage under the general permit are required to be covered under an individual discharge permit. Both permits require a manure management plan, and an annual facility report to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Permit types. There are two types of discharge permits: general and individual.

An individual permit is specific to a facility’s operations, amount of discharge, receiving stream and other factors. When many individual permits contain very similar or identical requirements, a general permit may be developed to apply to certain categories of discharges.

A general permit covers all new and existing dischargers meeting the eligibility criteria and applies only to discharges that have a minimal effect on the environment.

Available for review. Copies of the draft permit are available for review at: www.epa.state.oh.us/dsw/cafo/index.html, or can be reviewed at Ohio EPA’s central office at 122 South Front Street, Columbus, during regular business hours.

Written comments can be submitted to Ohio EPA, Lazarus Government Center, Division of Surface Water, Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049, through Oct. 23.

Questions can be directed to Cathy Alexander at cathy.alexander@epa.state.oh.us or 614-644-2021.

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