WSR 05-20-109

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed October 5, 2005, 10:31 a.m. ]


PUBLIC NOTICE


Public Workshops and Hearings to Accept Comments on the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) General Permit



The Department of Ecology (ecology) is proposing to issue a general permit to cover concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). The old dairy general permit expired in March 2005. Ecology has revised the draft permit to reflect changes from the first public comments and a federal court decision issued on February 12, 2005. Ecology is proposing to reissue the final permit soon after the comment period ends. The title of the revised permit is "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Waste Discharge General Permit."

Due to a court decision on the federal CAFO rule, the draft permit process was suspended in February 2005. This decision by the Second Circuit Court affects the federal NPDES rules by the Environmental Protection Agency for CAFOs. This changes the requirements for CAFOs under the Clean Water Act. This court decision ruled:

1. Only CAFOs that have a discharge or propose having a discharge must apply for a permit.

2. Site-specific nutrient management plans used as effluent limitations must be part of the permit application and subject to public review.

3. Runoff from land-applied manure is a point source, even if it is not channelized. However, agricultural stormwater runoff from areas meeting proper land application requirements is exempt from the NPDES permit.

4. NPDES permitting authorities must provide oversight of the nutrient management plans.

The new draft permit reflects these changes. The draft permit and fact sheet are available for review and public comment from October 19, 2005, to December 5, 2005. Ecology will host three informational workshops and public hearings on its proposed permit. The public is encouraged to give written comments during the public comment period or oral comments at the public hearings.

Purpose of the General Permit: The proposed general permit covers discharges of wastewater from CAFOs to waters of Washington state. Under federal and state water quality law (federal Clean Water Act and state Water Pollution Control Act), a permit is required for the discharge of wastewater. The proposed permit addresses these legal requirements and controls the discharge of pollutants to protect surface water and ground water quality in Washington state.

A general permit is used instead of a series of individual permits when the permitted facilities are similar. Individual facilities that receive coverage under the general permit are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit.

Requesting Copies of the Permit: You can request copies of the proposed permit and fact sheet by contacting Kevin Hancock, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6283, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail khan461@ecy.wa.gov.

The proposed permit and fact sheet are also available online at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/permits/cafo.

Submitting Written and Oral Comments: Ecology will accept written and oral comments on the draft CAFO general permit and fact sheet. Please check ecology's response to comments from the first comment period prior to submitting comments. Comments should reference specific text when possible. Comments may address the following:

Technical issues,
Accuracy and completeness of information,
The scope of facilities proposed for coverage,
Adequacy of environmental protection and permit conditions, or
Any other concern that would result from issuance of the revised permit.
Please submit written comments to Kevin Hancock, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6283, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail khan461@ecy.wa.gov.

Written, e-mailed and faxed comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., Monday, December 5, 2005. Oral comments can be made by attending and testifying at the public hearings.

Public Workshops/Hearings: The workshops begin at 7 p.m. The hearings will begin when the workshop ends. The purpose of the workshops is to explain the general permit, what has changed from the previous permit, and answer questions. The purpose of the hearings is to provide an opportunity for people to give formal comments on the proposed permit. The public workshops and hearings on the draft general permit are: Monday, November 21, 2005, at 7 p.m., Skagit County PUD #1, 1415 Freeway Drive, Mt. Vernon, 98273-1436; on Tuesday, November 22, 2005, at 7 p.m., Cowlitz County PUD, 961 12th Avenue, Longview, 98632; and on Thursday, December 1, 2005, at 7 p.m., Terrace Heights Civic Center, 4009 Commonwealth Drive, Yakima, 98901.

Issuing the Final CAFO General Permit: Ecology will issue the final permit after it considers all public comments. Ecology expects to issue the general permit soon after the end of the public comment period. It will be effective thirty days later. When ecology issues the permit, it will send a response to everyone who commented.

Who would be covered by the permit? The permit covers all CAFOs who discharge or propose to discharge to waters of the state. The permit also covers any animal feeding operations (AFOs) who decide to get a permit. There are three types of CAFOs: Large CAFOs, medium CAFOs, and designated CAFOs.

Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs): Any AFO can choose to get a permit. A lot or facility is defined as an AFO if it meets these two conditions:

1. It has animals (other than aquatic animals) that have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of forty-five days or more in any twelve-month period.

2. Crops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility where animals are confined.

Large CAFOs: Large CAFOs who discharge or propose to discharge to waters of the state must get a permit. A lot or facility is defined as a large CAFO if it meets the following two conditions:

1. It is an AFO.

and

2. It stables or confines as many as or more than the number of animals specified in any of the following categories:

(i) 700 mature dairy cows, whether milked or dry;

(ii) 1,000 veal calves;

(iii) 1,000 cattle other than mature dairy cows or veal calves. Cattle includes but is not limited to heifers, steers, bulls and cow/calf pairs;

(iv) 2,500 swine each weighing fifty-five pounds or more;

(v) 10,000 swine each weighing less than fifty-five pounds;

(vi) 500 horses;

(vii) 10,000 sheep or lambs;

(viii) 55,000 turkeys;

(ix) 30,000 laying hens or broilers, if the operation uses a liquid manure handling system;

(x) 125,000 chickens (other than laying hens), if the operation uses other than a liquid manure handling system;

(xi) 82,000 laying hens, if the operation uses other than a liquid manure handling system;

(xii) 30,000 ducks (if the operation uses other than a liquid manure handling system); or

(xiii) 5,000 ducks (if the operation uses a liquid manure handling system).

Medium CAFOs: A lot or facility is defined as a medium CAFO if it is an AFO (see above) and also meets the following conditions:

1. It stables or confines the number of animals that falls within any of the following ranges:

(i) 200 to 699 mature dairy cows, whether milked or dry;

(ii) 300 to 999 veal calves;

(iii) 300 to 999 cattle other than mature dairy cows or veal calves. Cattle includes but is not limited to heifers, steers, bulls and cow/calf pairs;

(iv) 750 to 2,499 swine each weighing fifty-five pounds or more;

(v) 3,000 to 9,999 swine each weighing less than fifty-five pounds;

(vi) 150 to 499 horses;

(vii) 3,000 to 9,999 sheep or lambs;

(viii) 16,500 to 54,999 turkeys;

(ix) 9,000 to 29,999 laying hens or broilers, if the operation uses a liquid manure handling system;

(x) 37,500 to 124,999 chickens (other than laying hens), if the operation uses other than a liquid manure handling system;

(xi) 25,000 to 81,999 laying hens, if the operation uses other than a liquid manure handling system;

(xii) 10,000 to 29,999 ducks (if the operation uses other than a liquid manure handling system); or

(xiii) 1,500 to 4,999 ducks (if the operation uses a liquid manure handling system);

and

2. Either one of the following conditions are met:

(i) Pollutants are discharged into waters of the state through a man-made ditch or other similar man-made device; or

(ii) Pollutants are discharged directly into waters of the state which originate outside of and pass over, across, or through the facility or otherwise come into direct contact with the animals confined in the operation.

Designated CAFOs: Any AFO facility or lot smaller than a large CAFO can be designated as a CAFO by the department if:

1. Either one of the following conditions are met:

(i) Pollutants are discharged into waters of the state through a man-made ditch or other similar man-made device; or

(ii) Pollutants are discharged directly into waters of the state which originate outside of and pass over, across, or through the facility or otherwise come into direct contact with the animals confined in the operation;

and

2. It is determined to be a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the state. A "significant contributor of pollution" includes, but is not limited to, a facility directly discharging pollutants that causes or contributes to a violation of state surface water quality standards (chapter 173-201A WAC), state ground water quality standards, (chapter 173-200 WAC), or chapter 90.48 RCW, (water pollution control).

If you have special accommodation needs or require a copy of the permit and fact sheet in an alternative format, please contact Kevin Hancock at (360) 407-6283. If you are a person with a speech or hearing impairment, call 711 or 800-833-6388 for TTY.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office