AMI: EPA To Gather Wastewater Data From Some Animal Feeding Operations As Part Of Court Settlement

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will gather wastewater data from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that self-certify that they do not have discharges into waterways covered by the Clean Water Act. The move is part of a court settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club and the Waterkeepers Alliance.

The groups filed a federal lawsuit in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in early 2009, claiming the EPA gave too much discretion to farm operators in determining which farms needed permits to discharge waste into waterways. The settlement requires the EPA to gather information about farms that do not have discharge permits and then asses whether they should be regulated. EPA said it would propose a rule to collect information from the farms and take final action on the proposed rule within two years.

EPA has agreed to gather more information about CAFOs and will examine the number of animals, how much waste they produce and how waste is stored and disposed of — whether it is applied to farm land as fertilizer, shipped to another location or used for other purposes.


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