Monday, May 16, 2011

New Confined Feed Operation (CFO) Rules: Coming Soon to an Indiana Farm Near You

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)'s Water Pollution Control Board today preliminarily adopted new Confined Feeding Operation (CFO) regulations.  The preliminary adoption means that these regulations will now undergo a final public comment period before they come back to the Water Pollution Control Board for final adoption.  After that happens, likely a few months from now, the new CFO regulations will be law.  But what changes are in store for Indiana's CFOs (and those that become CFOs)?

First, let's do the numbers.  The CFO rule applies to Indiana's farms with more than 300 cattle, 600 swine, 600 sheep, 30,000 fowl, or 500 horses.  There are ways that even smaller farms can be forced into the CFO program by IDEM, for example, if the small farm has continually is causing violations of water pollution laws. (For more on CFOs, click: What-is-a-CFO?)

One of the requirements in the application for a CFO is the submittal of a "farmstead plan."  Among other requirements, the farmstead plan must show how uncontaminated surface water is diverted from production areas in the farm.  From a practical standpoint, this means that CFOs will have to demonstrate to IDEM that clean water, for example, run off from barn rooftops, does not mix with dirty water, for example, silage leachate, before it is channeled into a ditch or stream.  In the past, CFOs did not have to manage this type of clean stormwater. It is unclear whether illustrating where surface water goes on the farmstead plan also means the CFO must actively manage the surface water.

CFOs area also required to put practices in place for "mortality management."  Simply stated, this means that a CFO must manage the storage of dead animals to avoid contact with clean stormwater.

The new CFO rules would also give IDEM the authority to require CFOs to implement groundwater monitoring to ensure that no manure related constituents enter groundwater.  The rules leave the door open for IDEM to require some facilities to develop written "ground water monitoring plans" for this purpose.  The CFO operator would have to periodically submit groundwater results to IDEM for review.  Not all CFOs will be subject to these requirements.

The new CFO regulations contain a prohibition on land application on "frozen" or "snow covered" ground. For many currently permitted CFOs, winter land application in the past has been a must.  Indiana winters are just too long to stockpile manure until spring weather arrives. These farms will face some tough decisions the first winter after the new CFO rules go into effect.

The new CFO rule requires that a CFO "must be designed, constructed, and maintained with a combined storage capacity of at least one hundred eighty (180) days storage."  In the past, IDEM permitted facilities with 120 days or 90 days of manure storage.  While the 180 day requirement is not new, there is concern that the prohibition on application on frozen or snow covered ground will, in essence, mean that all CFOs must have at least 180 days of manure storage capacity to make it through the winter. 

The new CFO regulations have been preliminarily adopted.  They are subject to change during the final comment period.  If you have comments on these issues or others, please submit those to IDEM.  A copy of the new version of the draft CFO regulations is found at:  Draft-CFO-Rule

Legal disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be relied upon as legal advice for how to comply with IDEM's CFO regulations.  Consult an attorney if you need assistance with compliance questions.

1 comment:

  1. Nice strategy of ground levelling. THis type of work can give the ultimate result. Thanks for the post.


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