Feedlot rule revisions discussed at Sept. 7 hearing
By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 09/25/2012 10:43 AM
WAITE PARK, Minn. —Stearns County dairy farmer Dennis Ritter looked carefully at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's draft rules revisions at a Waite Park informational meeting last week.
Ritter, a county feedlot committee member, didn't find any issues with the proposed changes and said the revisions help clarify and streamline several feedlot rules.That seemed to be the consensus of the more than 20 people who gathered at public meetings in Mankato and Waite Park.
The changes involve housekeeping of the rules as outdated rules are deleted and wording changed on some to make the rules clearer.
Some rules discussed permits issued before Oct. 23, 2000. MPCA principal engineer Kim Brynildson drew smiles and chuckles at the Waite Park meeting when she said the Some of the changes delete outdated rules. Some examples include taking out rules discussing permit issued before Oct. 23, 2000. The department had handled all those pre-2000 requests, said MPCA principal engineer Kim Brynildson.
Others changed wording. For example, "facility" would be changed to "animal feedlot or manure storage area."
The revised rules include a modification of the Emergency Response Plan. Livestock operations with more than 1,000 animal units must have such a plan in case of a catastrophic event like a storm, tornado or rain where there may be a high animal death rate. The MPCA added the emergency plan to deal with the death loss. It takes into consideration soil surveys for the burial of dead animals or the compost of animals on the soil surface with compostable materials.
Modifications have been made to the rule's pasture definition including wording on winter feeding areas as part of a grazing area.
Some of the rule changes add other state and federal regulatory changes that have occurred since the last MPCA rules revisions in 2000.
The rules revisions should be published by late November through December for public comment. If 25 or more valid requests are received, public hearings will take place in January with the final rules adoptions in May or June. If there are no public hearings, the rules revisions would be adopted in late February, Brynildson said.
The MPCA is developing wording for a State Disposal System general permit, which is part of rule 7020. The rule, which will be brought for review in the spring, will retain the requirement for producers to obtain an SDS permit for feedlots or manure storage areas capable of holding 1,000 animal units or more and will clarify which feedlot sites will be required to have the permit coverage.
It's needed due to a 2011 Minnesota Legislative action that changed the law governing issuance of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for large feedlots with 1,000 animal units or more or those that meet the federal definition of a Large Concentrated Animal feeding Operation.
The revised state law now defers to the federal rule requiring NPDES permits only for CAFOs that discharge. Non-permitted CAFOs will be held to zero discharge standard, according to an MPCA fact sheet. However, a facility mustl retain its NPDES/SDS permit. Livestock producers must individually assess whether or not they have a discharge. A definition of what constitutes a discharge is pending from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.