Ohio Seeks Change in NPDES Authority; EPA Sets Hearing

The state of Ohio has requested a change in how it administers a federal program to control water pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), according to an Oct. 15 press release.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed the state's application to transfer control of parts of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System -- wastewater discharge -- program from Ohio EPA to Ohio Department of Agriculture. EPA has proposed approving the application provided the state changes its laws and rules to resolve some issues. The state has asked EPA to allow Ohio Department of Agriculture to administer only that part of the water pollution program that affects CAFOs and stormwater runoff from construction of animal feeding operations. Ohio EPA would continue to issue all other wastewater discharge permits. Clean Water Act regulations allow such splitting of programs.

EPA has proposed approving the state's request and will host a meeting to discuss its decision on Nov. 18 at the Fawcett Center, 2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus. The open house will take place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and the formal public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m. The public comment period runs until Dec. 16.

CAFOs must have state-issued NPDES permits to lawfully discharge manure, litter, or process wastewater pollutants into lakes, rivers, or streams.

Ohio's application and related documents are available on EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/region5/water/npdestek/odacafo.htm. EPA invites comments on the proposal by Dec. 16 either at the hearing, by mail or through the Web site above. Comments must include the commenter's mailing address. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Dec. 16 and sent to: Matt Gluckman, EPA Region 5 Water Division (WN-16J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604.

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