News Archive: May 2011
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This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable, in these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.
Beef Feedlot in Underwood, Iowa, To Pay $20,000 Civil Penalty To Settle Discharge Violations Affecting Mosquito Creek
A beef feedlot in Underwood, Iowa has agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for unpermitted discharges of wastewater from the facility into Mosquito Creek. The facility has agreed to pay the penalty as part of an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan. In June 2009, EPA inspectors visited the facility and found that it lacked controls to prevent the discharge of animal waste into Mosquito Creek and its tributaries. A subsequent inspection in October 2009 collected samples of effluent that showed the facility was discharging pathogens, ammonia and nitrate into an unnamed tributary of the creek. At the time of EPA’s inspection, the facility was confining approximately 1,485 cattle in its open lot and confinement barn operations. A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) with both open lots and confinement barns is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act as a “Large CAFO” if the entire operation contains more than 1,000 beef cattle.
Proposed Pesticide Applicator Certification Plan Will Advance Human Health and Environmental Protection on Tribal Land Nationwide
EPA is announcing and soliciting comments on a proposed federal program to certify applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) in Indian country where no other EPA-approved or EPA-implemented certification plan applies. RUPs are potentially hazardous chemicals that require special training and techniques to be used safely. Federal law requires EPA-approved certification of RUP applicators nationally, including in Indian country. Most of Indian country is not covered by a certification mechanism. EPA’s Proposed Federal Plan for Certification of Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides within Indian country will help fill this gap in the certification of applicators of these hazardous chemicals and by ensuring that RUP applicators are competent to apply RUPs in Indian country, thus providing greater protection for human health and the environment. Comments must be received on or before July 5, 2011.
EPA Releases Searchable Website for Drinking Water Violations
EPA has announced improvements to the availability and usability of drinking water data in the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool. ECHO now allows the public to search to see whether drinking water in their community met the standards required under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is designed to safeguard the nation’s drinking water and protect people’s health. SDWA requires states to report drinking water information periodically to EPA. ECHO also includes a new feature identifying drinking water systems that have had serious noncompliance.
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center May Newsletter and Webcast
The May edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: June Webcast - "Improving Implementation of Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs);" Environmental Leader; Value of Manure; New Research Summary; Calibration Page Updated; Oil Spill Regulations Exempt Milk; Poultry & Global Warming. The next webcast is scheduled for June 24, 2011. Dr. Shawn Hawkins will moderate a webcast on implementing nutrient management plans (NMPs) at permitted and non-permitted animal feeding operations (AFOs). A NMP must be fully implemented by regulated AFO operators to qualify for the agricultural storm water exemption when land applying animal waste. Both regulated and non-regulated AFOs should implement a NMP to protect water quality and improve farm management, productivity, and profitability. This webcast will cover three topics to help AFO operators understand how terms of CAFO discharge/operating permits relate back to the NMP, and how the NMP implementation can be improved and better documented: (1) U.S. EPA nutrient management plan permit terms, (2) perspectives on how to better implement a NMP from an Extension educator, professional nutrient management planner, and farmer, and (3) improved record keeping. Presenters: Caitlin Conover, EPA; Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin-Extension; Rachel Mueller, Cornerstone Crop Consulting, LLC; Melony Wilson, University of Georgia; and Shawn Hawkins, University of Tennessee. The webcast broadcasts at 2:30 Eastern (1:30 pm Central, 12:30 pm Mountain, 11:30 am Pacific).
Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates
- Methyl bromide -- EPA's order for the amendments to terminate soil uses (May 20)
- Spirotetramat -- establishment of tolerances for residues of spirotetramat, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on multiple commodities (May 18)
Texas Egg Producer To Pay $1.9 Million Penalty to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations
EPA and the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) today announced that a Texas egg producer will pay a $1.9 million penalty to resolve claims that the company violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) at its egg production facilities in Texas and Oklahoma. The civil penalty is the largest amount to be paid in a federal enforcement action involving a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). The company will also spend approximately $3.5 million on remedial measures to ensure compliance with the law and protect the environment and people’s health. The CWA complaint, filed jointly with the settlement by the United States and the states of Texas and Oklahoma, alleges that the egg producer operated a facility without a permit and discharged pollutants into area waterways. The producer also allegedly discharged pollutants or otherwise failed to comply with the terms of its permits at six other facilities, including its newest facility near Vernon, Texas, where it also failed to comply with the Texas Construction Storm Water Permit and to ensure safe drinking water for its employees. The states of Texas and Oklahoma also alleged violations of state laws.
EPA Issues Compliance Orders to Seven Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska
EPA Region 7 announced today that it has issued administrative compliance orders to seven concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, directing those operations to correct a range of violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Region 7’s latest round of CAFO enforcement activity, aimed at encouraging producers’ compliance with the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, involves seven beef feedlots, including four in Iowa, two in Kansas, and one in Nebraska. Violations noted in the seven separate administrative compliance orders include wastewater discharges by unpermitted medium and large CAFOs, discharges by a large CAFO in violation of its NPDES permit, failures to maintain adequate storage capacity for wastes, and a large CAFO’s failure to adequately track its land application activities to ensure that area surface waters are protected.
Notice of Public Meeting of the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel
There will be a 4-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review a set of scientific issues related to the Re-Evaluation of Human Health Effects of Atrazine: Review of Non-Cancer Effects, Drinking Water Monitoring Frequency, and Cancer Epidemiology. The meeting will be held on July 26-29, 2011, in Arlington, VA.
EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Publish Proposed Guidance Regarding Identification of Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act
EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) are publishing for public comment proposed guidance that describes how the agencies will identify waters protected by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Clean Water Act or CWA or Act) and implement the Supreme Court's decisions on this topic (i.e., Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (SWANCC) (531 U.S. 159 (2001)) and Rapanos v. United States (547 U.S. 715 (2006)) (Rapanos)). The agencies believe that under this proposed guidance the number of waters identified as protected by the Clean Water Act will increase compared to current practice and this improvement will aid in protecting the Nation's public health and aquatic resources. The proposed guidance is consistent with the principles established by the Supreme Court cases and is supported by the agencies' scientific understanding of how waterbodies and watersheds function. Comments must be received on or before July 1, 2011.
- Proposed Guidance (PDF) (39 pp, 574K, About PDF)
- More information on the Clean Water Act Definition of "Waters of the United States"
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