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DEP Seeks Comment on Draft CAFO General Permit

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) is seeking public comment on a new draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”). The proposed general permit, known as PAG-12, is intended to provide necessary permit coverage to CAFOs. A CAFO is a large animal feeding operation that discharges manure or wastewater to ditches or waterways.

The proposed new PAG-12 includes a number of significant changes, including:

  • The Notice of Intent (“NOI”) form and CAFO Annual Report form have been updated to address information requirements related to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule (eReporting Rule).
  • Electronic submission of CAFO Annual Reports when required by the Department.
  • An annual $500 fee in addition to a $500 NOI fee.
  • The reporting period for the CAFO Annual Report would be changed from a calendar year to a ”crop year” (that is, October 1—September 30).
  • Permittees with leak detection systems would need to collect a sample of drainage, if any, and analyze the sample for ammonia-nitrogen at a minimum frequency of once per year, and implement corrective action if the concentration of ammonia-nitrogen exceeds a threshold.
  • Permittees with earthen manure storage facilities would need to complete an annual inspection of the facilities and submit the results to the DEP on a form supplied by the DEP.
The draft permit and related documents can be accessed at www.elibrary.dep.state.pa.us (select ”Permit and Authorization Packages,” then ”Clean Water,” then ”PAG-12 NPDES General Permit (Draft)”). Interested persons are invited to submit written comments through February 20, 2018. Commentators are encouraged to submit comments using the DEP’s online eComment system at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment. Written comments should be submitted by e-mail to ecomment@pa.gov or by mail to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.

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