Water Quality Regulations and Animal Agriculture


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This module introduces the major water quality laws and regulations that apply to agriculture, with an emphasis on animal agriculture. Such regulations are becoming a major part of agricultural business management and also have implications in securing credit and obtaining insurance. After this presentation, students should have a basic understanding of how the Clean Water Act and other programs can apply to agriculture.

For extension staff or young farmer/rancher advisers, an additional theme of this module is that environmental regulations are often recognizable as good conservation practices farmers may already be doing. Understanding these rules will help producers manage their own operations and allow them to become involved in the policy that affects their livelihood through proactive outreach, joining ag organizations, and participating in public hearings and planning processes.

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  • As an industry, agriculture has been largely exempt from water quality regulations, especially on the federal level. One area that is becoming an exception is the animal feeding operation (AFO). Confined animal production has come under increased scrutiny as operations have gotten larger. While the idea of regulations is often viewed negatively by farmers, most will recognize the connection between good stewardship and regulation. Understanding this connection will help farmers recognize that regulations are not as scary as they think.
  • The first type of recognized water pollution was point source pollution. This is a single identifiable source of pollution associated with a facility or activity. However, point source pollution does have the largest impact on water quality today. An industrial discharge is the treated wastewater, from that industrial site, returned to a water body. A waste water treatment outfall is the treated municipal waste water returned to a water body. Solid portions of the waste may be separated, further treated and land applied or land filled. Note to teachers: This is an abbreviated introduction to water quality and its relationship with animal agriculture. A more comprehensive, and separate, module on this topic will be available (in early 2012) at http://www.extension.org/pages/54359/building-environmental-leaders-in-animal-agriculture
  • The second type of water pollution to discuss is non-point source. This type of pollution has the greatest negative impact on water quality in the U.S. Almost all agricultural water quality impacts are considered to be non-point sources of pollution. One exception, that we’ll discuss more later, is concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). CAFOs are, by regulatory definition, classified as point sources. However, practically speaking much of their pollution risk is really a combination of point and non-point source. Once again, point sources are a clear, discernible outlet through which waste is discharged. This could be a pipe, channel, or conduit. One reason given on why CAFOs are put into this category is because they include man-made structures to contain runoff or store manure until it is appropriate to land apply. If one of these structures were to fail or be overwhelmed, there is potential for significant amounts of manure to reach and contaminate water. Non-point source (NPS) pollution is from many diffuse sources and can be thought of as the collective runoff from an area. As rainwater or snowmelt moves through the landscape, it often picks up sediments, chemicals, nutrients or other pollutants—eventually depositing them into lakes, rivers or wetlands. Non-point sources are typically not subject to regulations, but are often encouraged to voluntarily implement conservation practices through cost-share or grant programs. Regulations implemented in the last decade are beginning to address non-point source pollution from a variety of landscapes, including urban environments.
  • It is difficult to think of a farm, ranch or animal feeding activity that does NOT interact with the environment and resources around us. Recognizing those connections is essential to understanding why regulatory programs exist. Understanding and complying with regulations is not as complex or burdensome as you might expect when the reasons for the rules are apparent. In the best case scenario, recognizing and correcting negative environmental impacts can eliminate the need for a permit or regulatory oversight on a farm or ranch.Though essential for all plant and animal life, nutrients and other compounds found in fertilizer or manure can result in water pollution when not managed properly. Nutrients can accelerate the growth of algae; the decay of dead algae consumes oxygen and leaves the water depleted, potentially killing fish and other aquatic organisms.Likewise, erosion can pose threats to water quality through suspended solids and sediments that make water more cloudy (this impacts aquatic habitat and levels of treatment needed for drinking water. An emerging concern is that of pathogens and pharmaceuticals, including veterinary antibiotics and hormones that are excreted in manure of treated animals. Arsenic is also a concern in some areas since it is used in poultry production to treat sick birds. Arsenic Pesticides from crop protection chemicals, animal health products, or pest control can also impact water if they are not applied or disposed correctly.
  • Some of the areas on a farm that can impact water quality include animal confinement areas, especially open lots or corrals. Manure storage for dry or liquid manure must be constructed in areas least likely to cause water contamination and maintained appropriately to protect natural resources. Chemical and fuel storage are also areas that must be sited away from wells, water bodies and permeable soils; they must be regularly inspected to ensure there are no leaks or maintenance issues. One area that is often surprising to farmers in terms of potential water quality impact are silage piles. The liquid that seeps from silage piles or bunkers contains a lot of nutrients and organic matter that can negatively affect water quality. Other, not so surprising, sources of non-point source pollution are from fields and farm roads. Erosion can carry sediments, pesticides, and manure or fertilizer into water if conservation practices are not used. Lastly, grazing animals who are allowed to have unrestricted access to water can deposit manure directly in streams or contribute to streambank erosion.
  • Ground water can also be affected by the activities of animal agriculture, although most research shows that, not surprisingly, surface water tends to be more susceptible to contamination that groundwater. Nitrogen, in the form of nitrate, is mobile in soil and can leach downward, carried by water. If it leaches below the root zone before being taken up by plants, it has the potential to reach groundwater supplies. Nitrogen can accumulate through excessive applications of manure or commercial fertilizers. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set 10 ppm nitrate-nitrogen as the standard for safe drinking water.Some pathogens and pharmaceuticals can also move downward through the soil profile and end up in ground water and wells. For pathogens, it typically requires coarse, sandy soils or fissures and cracks in soil to allow this downward movement. Most pathogens are too large to fit through soil pores. (Reference: http://www.extension.org/pages/8968/potential-routes-for-pathogen-transport-to-water) . Pharmaceuticals that are relevant to animal agriculture include antibiotics, growth-promoting hormones, Pesticides can also move into groundwater, although this is less common than their movement to surface water. (reference: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3028/) As with other groundwater concerns, this is more likely to occur in areas with coarse or porous soils, or areas where groundwater is close to the surface. Areas with “karst” topography is also vulnerable. (Karst areas are characterized by sinkholes, caves, and soluble rocks such as limestone. USGS http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/karst/pages/whatiskarst). Around 20% of the U.S. has karst topography.
  • Other animal based non-point source pollution may include: pet waste from urban and suburban areas, hobby livestock and horse waste from small acreages, waste from wildlife, such as geese and waterfowl that may concentrate on a small waterbody, and finally septic systems and sewage. While waste water treatment plants represent a point-source, a group of septic systems in a rural area can represent non-point source. In some cases there may be many houses and septic systems on a small acreage. If the soils are marginal, or the systems are poorly maintained then ground and surface water could be impacted.
  • The dead zone is an area where nutrient-rich water from the Mississippi River promotes algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. When the algae dies and decays, oxygen is depleted from the water; very few organisms can live in this area. The cycle occurs annually.
  • Nutrients causing the dead zone come from a variety of sources in the great Missouri/Mississippi watershed. They include non-agricultural and agricultural sources such as fertilizer from lawns and golf courses, production agriculture fertilizers, manure nutrients and human waste nutrients. (Nutrients, plant nutrients and fertilizer are often used interchangeably in this presentation.)
  • ????Emphasis of this case study is to show how agriculture is affected by the regulatory process. Most of agriculture (NPS) will be encouraged to adopt more conservation practices through incentive or cost share programs, some may be required to develop plans for manure or nutrient management, ….????Secondary emphasis that agriculture is not the only sector that will be responsible for reducing pollution contributions.
  • The issues in the two former slides represent a comprehensive list of things that can pollute water. These pollutants do not occur in all locations or all together. Nor is the only source of those pollutants agriculture. For our area, do any of you know which, if any, of these concerns have been identified?Each state’s 303d list (a list of waters that do not meet the quality standards for their intended use) can be found at http://iaspub.epa.gov/waters10/attains_nation_cy.control?p_report_type=T This listing is a comprehensive inventory of all water quality impairments and will include pollutants and sources beyond those related to agriculture. Additional resources that can assist in identifying local water quality concerns: your local Cooperative Extension service, local soil & water conservation districts or USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
  • (intro slide: no content, answer follows and is explained in subsequent slides)
  • The primary environmental regulations faced by animal agriculture are related to the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972, and versions amended since. In most cases, these rules are delegated to the states to enforce. In the almost 40 years since its inception, the CWA has addressed multiple industries or activitieswith the potential to impact surface water quality. The first situation to be addressed was the prevalence of direct discharges of human sewage to waters of the U.S. In these early years of the CWA, many municipal, county or other publicly owned treatment works were designed, built or upgraded to only discharge a permitted and approved amount of treated wastewater. Moving into the 1980s, industrial dischargers of wastewater and pollutants were addressed. In both of these cases point source discharges [definition 14] to water, literally identifiable pipes, were addressed and diverted to treatment systems. Some agricultural systems can also be classified as point sources (one example is Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).Though every citizen and business is beholden to the broad coverage of the CWA, and its familiar charge, “though shall not pollute waters of the U.S.”, specific regulations exist for Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs), and their larger counterparts Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). These regulations DO NOT apply to pasture or range situations, only animals in confinement
  • The main water quality regulations in the U.S. are related to the Clean Water Act (CWA), which is enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or USEPA). In most cases, EPA delegates their authority to states, territories or tribes. These delegated authorities can set standards that are more strict than EPA, but cannot go the other direction and create standards that are less stringent.The US Department of Agriculture is often instrumental in providing financial and/or technical assistance to farmers and ranchers, but does not directly enforce the Clean Water Act. The USDA often has incentive or cost share programs (financial and technical assistance) that include certain requirements for keeping records, or implementing a practice in a certain way—but this is not a regulatory situation as the producer is usually free to opt in or out of these voluntary programs.In many western states, ranchers hold permits to graze livestock on federal land. These permits are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or Forest Service (USFS). As concerns about the degradation of grazing land have surfaced, agencies have taken a more active role in prescribing practices to protect rangeland health and water quality. Laws that apply to the BLM’s management of public lands grazing include the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, and the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978. (Source: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html). As these are not primarily water quality regulations, they will not be discussed further in this presentation.
  • A state or territory (Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.) is usually given the authority to enforce the Clean Water Act on behalf of the federal government (US EPA). This is called delegated authority. It is likely that wherever you live, your state manages the regulatory programs that affect animal agriculture. This authority usually falls to the state’s environmental agency, although in many states, the environmental agency works with the state’s agricultural agencies to provide fair and balanced environmental oversight to the agricultural industry.Who is the delegated authority in our state/territory? Clue: Often this is Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Agriculture or a combination of state agencies
  • EPA is generally responsible for regulating and inspecting animal feeding operations on tribal lands. The states that tribal lands reside in are not involved unless the tribe has requested help or oversight. Tribal entities may have their own agencies involved in a delegated authority role. Image: ecoAmbassadors: The program will fund research at Tribal Colleges and Universities to address environmental and health issues affecting their communities. ecoAmbassadors is NOT a regulatory program.
  • Local entities may enforce a variety of rules or policies that dictate additional environmental management practices for animal agriculture. Counties or cities may have zoning rules related to animal density or stocking rates, set-backs (distance animal facilities must be from public roads or neighboring properties) and potentially water related ordinances. Local ordinances impacting agriculture are often also related to odor, dust and noise. Soil and water conservation districts will primarily provide technical assistance and access to cost share money for conservation, but they may also carry authority to dictate practices related to water quality and soil preservation.
  • The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) addresses confined animal feeding operations with a permitting program and prescriptive practices to prevent pollution of water from manure and process waste water associated with livestock and poultry production. Some states have also implemented their own more stringent rules. The primary legal tool to regulate confined animal feeding is the NPDES Permit, or similar state permit program. As of spring 2011, the methods used to determine who must apply for a permit are in flux and challenged in federal court. The basic information here will still apply, however new permittee requirements could be implemented nationally and with delegated authority states in the near future.
  • An AFO is an animal feeding operation. It is defined as an operation where animals are confined for 45 days or more per year in an area that does NOT contain grass or crop residue and feed is delivered to the livestock or poultry. The area could be indoors (poultry barns, hog barns, closed dairy barn) or out-of-doors (beef feedlot, open dairy lot). A byproduct of this type of management is large amounts of manure concentrated in one area. This manure must be collected, possibly stored and then applied to crop land and pasture or exported from the operation. An AFO is usually only regulated if a state has a permit for smaller animal feeding operations. If an AFO has been in trouble for environmental damage, then a state agency or EPA can declare it a CAFO and force it to permit.
  • A Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is an AFO that also meets the large size categories for sample species above (in red). The column titled “large” represent where EPA and delegated authority states have absolutely required a permit. This may be subject to change due to court cases in 2011; however, the numbers of animals listed in the red column will largely remain a benchmark for permitting. The permit is the previously mentioned NPDES permit, though some states with delegated authority have renamed it. Additionally, some states require permits for the medium and even small categories. If an operation in the small or medium category is unpermitted and has a pollution discharge or high probability do discharge due to location or facilities, then they can be required to permit regardless of size. A regulatory agency has the ability to designate them a CAFO. The size thresholds are meant to compare species on approximately a 1000lb basis. For example an ideal fed steer will be about 1000lbs, but a dairy cow may be 1200-1400 lbs. Therefore a dairy would be required to get a permit with fewer head than a beef feedlot. Compare this to a meat bird, or broiler, poultry farm where the average chicken will finish around 6lbs, a permit is not required by EPA until 125,000 birds.
  • The basis of all animal feeding operation (AFO) and concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) rules and the NPDES permit is a two part philosophy. One, keep clean water clean. Two, avoid direct contact of confined animals or waste with water. This is primarily done through proper stormwater diversions, animal housing and waste collection and storage. An opportunity in these regulations comes with the fact that a large part of the required practices and documentation promote beneficial use of manure on farm land, as long as water quality is protected.Pasture is NOT considered confinement in legal terms. Pastured animals, in most states, are not required to be fenced out of creeks. However, it is recommended. By providing a clean source of water (fresh stock-tank) on higher ground in a pasture, livestock will generally avoid spending too much time in the water. Avariety of pasture and range appropriate best management practices are recommended for these systems. Animals in confinement should NEVER have access to surface water. If they do, it will likely result in legal and regulatory action.
  • This and following slides demonstrate some of the best management practices (BMPs) used to keep clean water clean. By diverting water around open lots, polluted run-off is reduced and the lots are drier (healthier for animals and better for workers).
  • Roof water can be a major source of clean water entering outdoor lots. Gutters will help prevent roof run-off for environmental and animal health benefits.
  • Leaking water lines, tanks or waterers can be sources of introducing unwanted clean water to confinement areas. Once again, maintaining these systems is important for environmental and animal health reasons.
  • This older illustration shows ways to prevent direct contact of animals and waste products with waters. Contaminated run-off is filtered through a grass or vegetated strip (#5); cattle being moved from confinement to pasture have an engineered stream crossing (#7), preventing them from directly accessing the stream. On the edge of a pasture where manure may be land applied, a buffer (#8) is present to prevent direct contact of manure with the stream.
  • Confined animals should NEVER have direct access to surface waters. Local or state regulations may dictate the distance pens or corrals must be from water, but 25ft of vegetated filter between pens and water is a good estimate. This number can change due to slope or other considerations. A setback and vegetated filter, combined with clean water diversions could make this lot environmentally sustainable. A 25 ft setback, in this example, would not take away much land for production.
  • This is a view of a vegetated treatment area. Run-off from the lot moves into a collection basin and then is evenly distributed across a grassed filter area. The grass takes up nutrients and further filters sediment and solids that did not get trapped in the collection basin.
  • Rules and permits regarding animal feeding operations define the methods for safe and legal manure management. Manure is collected from confinement area and is land-applied or temporarily stored in an area to prevent discharges to the environment. Images: (left to right) liquid manure lagoon on N.C. hog operation, staff gauge indicating level of liquid manure lagoon, and scraped dry manure from pens, temporarily stored on a concrete pad in N.J. (in some areas this needs to be covered).
  • When manure is applied, it must be done at agronomic rates. This means a soil test has confirmed available nutrients in the soil, this is compared to the crop nutrient need published for a realistic yield of that crop in the region. The Extension Service or crop consultants will have good data on crop nutrient need. The manure will also be sampled and analyzed to determine its nutrient or fertilizer value. The amount and rate of manure applied will be calculated based on the remaining nutrient required by the crop and nutrient content of the manure.BMPs for manure application include applying manure and waste water on days with calm winds, not applying within 35 feet of a waterbody (100 feet if area is tilled or bare dirt) and injecting or incorporating manure.
  • All of the BMPs and manure management practices previously discussed come together for operations in a document called the nutrient management plan (NMP). Regulated and permitted animal feeding operations must describe their storm water and manure management systems (best management practices and manure storage, handling and application); this includes keeping detailed records on their manure and fertilizer inventories, use on crop land or pasture, or export from the property. This system can be described as a “nutrient checkbook.” The balance of nutrients is debited for agronomic use on crops or pasture. At the end of year the balance should be zero. Based on crop potential, if a negative balance is predicted, commercial fertilizer can be added. If there is to be a positive balance or surplus of nutrients, manure should be exported.A USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) often contains all of the information needed for a permit NMP, however regulatory agencies prefer to have the information submitted on their own forms. A CNMP will have more detail and include more farm/ranch activities and areas than a permit NMP. If a producer participates in a cost-share program for conservation improvements, then a CNMP is likely required.
  • Record keeping is perhaps the most important step in this entire process. State and federal CAFO inspectors report that poor record keeping is the #1 violation for permit holders, not actual pollution. Good record keeping protects the producer and reduces their liability. Records are kept onsite, but can be audited by the EPA or delegated state authority. Information from the records will be needed to complete the required annual report and permit renewal. Environmental record keeping is recommended for all animal operations, regardless of confinement, range or pasture situations, and regardless of permit status.
  • Finally, a permitted animal feeding operation will be inspected at some point during the life of the permit. Inspectors usually schedule this visit, unless it is the result of a complaint or pollution investigation. The main focus is on record keeping and checking how closely the NMP is being followed. While onsite inspectors will check for evidence of spills or poor maintenance of facilities and structures that are related to storm water, manure and waste water management. They may also inspect land application areas for evidence of discharge to nearby waters. Inspectors should not need to go inside animal buildings, like poultry or hog barns, or anywhere they could pose a biosecurity threat to livestock and poultry.
  • Animated slide. Images will not block text after the animation is complete.For all of the programs mentioned there are many different groups who provide assistance in learning about and complying with the rules and regulations. Your local or state extension service will often provide educational programs or one-on-one consultations. Additionally they may have developed templates, workbooks or worksheets to assist with record keeping or reporting requirements. Extension publications are based on scientific studies and demonstration projects and can be a very good source of information about conservation practices and their application to different situations.USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and local Conservation Districts often offer cost-share programs that incentivize the adoption of conservation practices or plans. In addition to financial assistance, these entities also generally provide technical assistance in designing or engineering the project.Young farmer/rancher advisors and other producers are excellent sources of information and ideas that have been implemented by other farmers/ranchers. Peer-to-peer learning or mentoring is an invaluable way to gain insight into the successes, or mistakes, of others. Commodity associations also keep their members educated on issues facing their industry and particular specie. Another source of assistance can be consultants. Modern agriculture requires a great deal of specialized expertise and skills and it can be extremely difficult for a farm operation to gather all of the different knowledge bases needed. Consultants can compliment and round out the strengths and knowledge base of the key people on the farm. For example, crop consultants are a logical choice for assistance with nutrient management plans.Another source of information and assistance is the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ag Compliance Assistance Center. This is a non-regulatory office
  • Bullets are fairly self-explanatory. Clean Water Act rules are enforced by EPA and/or states with delegated authority.
  • Other environmental rules that apply to animal agriculture may be related to fuel and chemical storage on animal feeding operations, transportation of waste products on public roads, dust and air quality (likely state or local regulations). There are currently few specific rules related to nuisance issues and air quality at any level. It is generally expected that emissions from animal feeding operations will be regulated in the future. As mentioned earlier, environmental laws related to grazing on federal lands apply to those who use this resource. IMAGE: a remote water source is a best management practice (BMP) for pasture and range that protects water quality by giving livestock a place to water away from creeks and rivers.
  • Water Quality Regulations and Animal Agriculture

    1. 1. Playing By the Rules: Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture Thomas Bass, Montana State UniversityBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    2. 2. Outline • What are the water quality concerns with ag? • Which major set of water quality laws apply to animal ag? – Who enforces or manages these laws? – Federal, State & Local authorities • What types of ag operations are closely regulated and what is required? • Who can provide additional information?Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    3. 3. Water Quality Background• Point Source Pollution – Single identifiable sources of water pollution such as those associated with: • industrial discharges • waste water treatment outfalls – Addressed early in Clean Water Act (CWA - 1972, ‘77 & ’87)Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    4. 4. Water Quality Background• Ag is primarily a non-point source (NPS) of water pollution – Collective run-off from an area as a result of rain or snowmelt. (picture depicts NPS sediment, from a large construction site, filling a lake.)Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    5. 5. Water Quality Background• Pollutants connected to ag sources: – Nutrients from manure and fertilizers: • nitrogen (N) • phosphorus (P) – Sediment – Pathogens – Pharmaceuticals – Ag chemicals – ArsenicBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    6. 6. Water Quality Background• Possible ag sources: – Animal confinement & lots – Manure storage – Chemical/fuel storage – Silage storage – Fields and farm roads – Direct access by grazing animalsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    7. 7. Water Quality Background - Ground Water• Potential for leaching to aquifers or wells – Nitrates from over-application of fertilizer or manure on crop land – Pathogens or pharmaceuticals from manure storage or manure application areas – Agricultural chemicals or fuel• Issue may be greater areas with karst topography or very sandy soilsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    8. 8. Water Quality Background• As far as animals are concerned, livestock are not alone in NPS water pollution as described in this presentation.• Pet waste• Wildlife• Septic systems & sewage – Humans are animals too!Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    9. 9. Regional Impact of Nutrient Pollution• Local, state and national concern – Collectively, nutrients from many states contribute to the hypoxic “dead zone” in the gulf of Mexico.
    10. 10. Regional Impact of Nutrient Pollution• Contributions to Nutrients in the Gulf of Mexico by state (USGS 2008)
    11. 11. Break for Case study?• Chesapeake TMDL – Emphasis on relative role ag plays compared to other sources (see Erhardt presentation Feb 2011 webcast) and some predictions how this will affect typical ag (non-point) –see Raub presentation from Feb. 2011 webcastBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    12. 12. Break for Discussion• Which of these pollutants are a concern for water quality in our area?• What are potential sources? – Both non-agricultural and agricultural sources – Think of specific facilities or industries on our community.Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    13. 13. What water quality rules are primarily faced by animal agriculture?Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    14. 14. Clean Water Act (CWA)• Passed in 1972, Amended in ‘77 & ’87• Addressed point-source pollution first• Enforced by federal government and/or states, territories and tribal entities• Primarily concerned with surface waterBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    15. 15. Federal Authority• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has authority over the Clean Water Act – In most cases authority is delegated to the states, territories or tribes• US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides technical and financial assistance related to controlling pollution, but does not regulate.• Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or Forest Service (USFS) oversees federal grazing permitsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    16. 16. State/Territory Authority• Most states and territories have delegated authority from EPA – Who is the delegated authority in our state/territory?• Some programs peripherally related to water quality are typically overseen by a state agricultural agency – Animal disease reporting – Emergency planning, response – Animal mortality managementBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    17. 17. Tribal Authority• Native American Tribes work directly with EPA on environmental management and regulation• States are usually not involved in regulating animal agriculture on tribal lands EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Outreach ProgramBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    18. 18. Local Authority• Local (county or city) zoning rules – May dictate where a facility is built. These are often driven by odor concerns as much or more than water concerns – Generally only apply to new or expanding operations• Soil & water conservation districts – Groundwater/wellhead protection programs – Watershed plans (surface water) – Often carry out monitoring and provide financial & technical assistance, and sometimes have regulatory authorityBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    19. 19. CWA: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) • NPDES is a CWA program focused on point sources of pollution • Which ag activities are regulated? – Animal feeding operations (AFOs) – Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    20. 20. AFO DefinitionAnimals have been, are, or will be confined • 45 days or more in 12 months • In an area with no crops, vegetation, forage growth or post-harvest residues • Feed is deliveredBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    21. 21. CAFO Definition • Operation meets the AFO definition and the size threshold identified in red below. Animal Large Medium Small Beef Cattle > 1,000 300-999 < 300 Dairy Cattle > 700 200-699 < 200 Swine (> 55 pounds) > 2,500 750-2,499 < 50 (< 55 pounds) > 10,000 3,000-9,999 < 3,000 Sheep or Lambs > 10,000 3,000-9,999 < 3,000 Horses > 500 150-500 < 150 Poultry (Dry Litter) > 125,000 37,500-124,999 < 37,500 Poultry (Layer) > 82,000 25,000 - 81,999 < 25,000 Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal AgricultureAnimal Feeding Operations
    22. 22. H20 Quality Philosophy for AFOs• Permits and rules for animal feeding are based on two goals:1. Keep clean water clean – “Run-on”, roof water, pipes and conveyances2. Avoid direct contact with – Manure – Animals – Process waste waterBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    23. 23. Keeping clean water clean… and reduce mud and potential run-off• Divert water around lotsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    24. 24. Keeping clean water clean… and reduce mud and potential run-off• Gutter roofsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    25. 25. Keeping clean water clean… and reduce mud and potential run-off • Maintain lines, tanks and fix leaks in pens Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal AgricultureAnimal Feeding Operations
    26. 26. Preventing Direct ContactBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    27. 27. Preventing Direct Contact• Move fences back from creek, ~25ft.Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    28. 28. Preventing Direct Contact • Vegetative treatment area Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal AgricultureAnimal Feeding Operations
    29. 29. Manure Management• Collect Manure• Properly storeBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    30. 30. Manure Management• Spread at agronomic rates – Based on crop/forage need and manure fertilizer value – Requires manure and soil test• Do not spread close to surface water (35 feet if grassed)• Keep recordsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    31. 31. Nutrient Management Plan• Permit NMP – This plan defines the previously mentioned best management practices and manure handling – Submitted as part of an operations permit – Consultant and/or producer prepare• NRCS CNMP – Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan – NRCS and producer prepare – Requirement of receiving USDA cost-shareBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    32. 32. Record Keeping• Permitted operations must keep detailed records: – Maintenance on diversions and manure storage structures – Soil and manure tests – Manure applications and calculations – BMPs implemented and other recordsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    33. 33. Inspections• Frequency varies by state and EPA region. • Generally at least once every 1-3 years for permitted operations.• Verifies records are kept and NMP is being followed.• Physically observes: outdoor facilities, manure storage areas, some land-application areas…Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    34. 34. Overwhelmed?• Where to learn more! – Extension – USDA-NRCS – Conservation Districts – Young Farmer/Rancher Advisors – Fellow Producers – Commodity Associations – Consultants – EPA Ag CenterBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    35. 35. Summary• Confined animal operations are the most regulated sector of animal agriculture• Therefore, AFO and CAFO regulations are the most specific environmental rules that apply to animal agriculture• These rules are components of the Clean Water Act (CWA)Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture
    36. 36. Summary• Pasture and range operations are subject to very few specific environmental regulations• All agriculture may be subject to the broad provisions of the Clean Water Act.• A variety of less specific environmental rules may still apply to animal agricultureBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)DRAFT Module – Water Quality Regulation and Animal Agriculture