S-0709.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5332



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Rasmussen and Morton


Read first time 01/19/2001.  Referred to Committee on Agriculture & International Trade.

Clarifying dairy nutrient management standards.

    AN ACT Relating to dairy nutrient management; amending RCW 90.64.026; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that:

    (1) Complying with the laws regarding dairy nutrient management is a burdensome yet laudable task that the dairy farmers of this state have undertaken;

    (2) The dairy nutrient management standards and specifications of the natural resources conservation service were the most rigorous in the nation when the dairy nutrient management act was enacted in 1998;

    (3) Those standards, as they existed in 1998, continue to be appropriate standards for proper management of dairy nutrients, despite modification by the natural resources conservation service since 1998;

    (4) Dairy farmers cannot comply with constantly changing requirements.  The uncertainty constant change creates is an unnecessary drain on limited resources; and

    (5) If management standards change substantively, there should be a method for all parties concerned with proper dairy nutrient management to consider and implement changes without causing disruption, uncertainty, or an unnecessary drain on resources.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 90.64.026 and 1998 c 262 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) Except for those producers who already have a certified dairy nutrient management plan as required under the terms and conditions of an individual or general national pollutant discharge elimination system permit, all dairy producers licensed under chapter 15.36 RCW, regardless of size, shall prepare a dairy nutrient management plan.  If at any time a dairy nutrient management plan fails to prevent the discharge of pollutants to waters of the state, it shall be required to be updated.

    (2) By November 1, 1998, the conservation commission, in conjunction with the advisory and oversight committee established under section 8 of this act shall develop a document clearly describing the elements that a dairy nutrient management plan must contain to gain local conservation district approval.

    (3) In developing the elements that an approved dairy nutrient management plan must contain, the commission may authorize the use of other methods and technologies than those developed by the natural resources conservation service when such alternatives have been evaluated by the advisory and oversight committee.  Alternative methods and technologies shall meet the standards and specifications of:

    (a) The natural resources conservation service, as those standards and specifications existed on July 1, 1998, and as modified by the geographically based standards developed under RCW 90.64.140; or

    (b) A professional engineer with expertise in the area of dairy nutrient management.

    (4) In evaluating alternative technologies and methods, the principal objectives of the committee's evaluation shall be determining:

    (a) Whether there is a substantial likelihood that, once implemented, the alternative technologies and methods would not violate water quality requirements;

    (b) Whether more cost-effective methods can be successfully implemented in some or all categories of dairy operations; and

    (c) Whether the technologies and methods approved or provided by the natural resources conservation service for use by confined animal feeding operations, as those standards and specifications existed on July 1, 1998, are necessarily required for other categories of dairy operations.

    In addition, the committee shall encourage the conservation commission and the conservation districts to apply in dairy nutrient management plans technologies and methods that are appropriate to the needs of the specific type of operation and the specific farm site and to avoid imposing requirements that are not necessary for the specific dairy producer to achieve compliance with water quality requirements.

    (5) Such plans shall be submitted for approval to the local conservation district where the dairy farm is located, and shall be approved by conservation districts no later than by July 1, 2002.  The conservation commission, in conjunction with conservation districts, shall develop a statewide schedule of plan development and approval to ensure adequate resources are available to have all plans approved by July 1, 2002.

    (6) If a dairy producer leases land for dairy production from an owner who has prohibited the development of capital improvements, such as storage lagoons, on the leased property, the dairy producer shall indicate in his or her dairy nutrient management plan that such improvements are prohibited by the landowner and shall describe other methods, such as land application, that will be employed by the dairy producer to manage dairy nutrients.

    (7) Notwithstanding the timelines in this section, any dairy farm licensed after September 1, 1998, shall have six months from the date of licensing to develop a dairy nutrient management plan and another eighteen months to fully implement that plan.

    (8) If a plan contains the elements identified in subsection (2) of this section, a conservation district shall approve the plan no later than ninety days after receiving the plan.  If the plan does not contain the elements identified in subsection (2) of this section, the local conservation district shall notify the dairy producer in writing of modifications needed in the plan no later than ninety days after receiving the plan.  The dairy producer shall provide a revised plan that includes the needed modifications within ninety days of the date of the local conservation district notification.  If the dairy producer does not agree with, or otherwise takes exception to, the modifications requested by the local conservation district, the dairy producer may initiate the appeals process described in RCW 90.64.028 within thirty days of receiving the letter of notification.

    (9) An approved plan shall be certified by a conservation district and a dairy producer when the elements necessary to implement the plan have been constructed or otherwise put in place, and are being used as designed and intended.  A certification form shall be developed by the conservation commission for use statewide and shall provide for a signature by both a conservation district representative and a dairy producer.  Certification forms shall be signed by December 31, 2003, and a copy provided to the department for recording in the data base established in RCW 90.64.130.

    (10) The ability of dairy producers to comply with the planning requirements of this chapter depends, in many cases, on the availability of federal and state funding to support technical assistance provided by local conservation districts.  Dairy producers shall not be held responsible for noncompliance with the planning requirements of this chapter if conservation districts are unable to perform their duties under this chapter because of insufficient funding.

    (11) The conservation commission may, after public hearing and due consideration, including comment from the department of ecology, in accordance with the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW, adopt standards and specifications of the natural resources conservation service that were not in existence on July 1, 1998.  Producers affected by new standards and specifications have five years from the date the commission adopts the new standards and specifications to comply with the new standards and specifications.


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