September 17, 2013. Iowa’s Clean Water Act provides the legal requirements that livestock producers need to comply with regarding their Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFOs” – i.e. Feedlots/Hog Confinements). Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) reached an agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (“IDNR”) concerning changes to the current rules and requirements for CAFOs.
The agreement reached between the IDNR and EPA Region 7 looks to establish a partnership approach for working with large and medium scale livestock operations in Iowa (a large CAFO would include 1,000 or more head of livestock – a medium CAFO would include 300-999 head of livestock). The ultimate goal is to allow these various entities to share best practices while providing a framework that provides clarity regarding specific responsibilities.
More specifically, and among other things, the IDNR has committed to provide increased inspections of qualifying CAFOs and to change several provisions relating to Iowa’s CAFO rules so that the Iowa law is consistent with the federal Clean Water Act.
The goal is that the work plan agreement will help to eliminate misunderstandings about the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program, including issues related to implementation, and underscore a shared interest in environmental preservation and protection. The NPDES program requires any producer who will be discharging a pollutant into a river or stream to obtain the proper permit, this would include qualifying CAFOs.