Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 10 Reported CAFO Violations

David Letterman has his Top 10 list.  Now the Indiana Department of Environment Management (IDEM) has its Top 10 list for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).  These large livestock producers are primarily regulated through IDEM's confined feeding operation (CFO) regulations.  Recently, IDEM provided Indiana Pork Producers with a list of most commonly witnessed CFO violations from its inspectors.  The top ten violations are below. My observations follow.

CFO Top 10 Violations

1. Lack annual manure test - analysis for current year not in operating record.

2. Incomplete land application records - missing precipitation records in the operating record.

3. Weekly inspections - not recording weekly inspections in operating record.

4. Grass and vegetation around barns or lagoons not kept mowed or maintained.

5. Do not have a copy of latest valid approval in operation record - most have an outdated version of their approval.

6. Freeboard in uncovered liquid manure storage structure not maintained.

7. Lack current soil tests - soil test not available at the time of the inspection or have not been updated in the operating record.

8. Weekly inspections are not being conducted or recorded in operating record.

9. Current farmstead map is not in operating record.

10. Freeboard marker in uncovered liquid manure storage structure is not being maintained.

These violations can be put into two categories: (1) record keeping problems; and (2) lack of good housekeeping.  I try to advise farmers when I get the opportunity to keep their records up to date. Don't rely on others to do things that are essential to maintaining your permitting status. Likewise, keeping a clean and orderly farm goes a long way towards demonstrating to state environmental officials that the operator takes regulations seriously.  

Fortunately, none of the most commonly witnessed violations involve manure spills or contaminated groundwater.  As I have always suspected, such incidents are the exception, not the rule.

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