Volume III, Number 7
eMDE is a monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state.
On September 23, 2008, MDE published a draft general permit that implements controls necessary to properly manage poultry litter and reduce nutrient pollution into the Chesapeake Bay. Large poultry operations have not been regulated previously in Maryland. The proposed permit, along with new regulations proposed concurrently would cover at least 200 poultry operations in the state and bring over 50 percent of the state’s poultry litter under MDE regulation. The implementing regulations, for the first time, include public review procedures for general permit application and plan submittals for animal feeding operations. The permit also implements federal requirements for large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), including beef, cattle, swine, and horses, in addition to poultry.
This permit represents another of the significant strides that Maryland is taking in stormwater management, erosion control, critical areas, growth management, wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, air emissions, and agriculture to help Maryland meet our commitments under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The permit and regulations address poultry operation documentation and reporting, inspections and facility access, protective buffers, outdoor storage of manure, and permit fees for animal feeding operations.
Large poultry operations of greater than or equal to 100,000 square feet of chicken house capacity will be required to obtain permits, and the corresponding regulation requires poultry operations with 75,000 to 99,000 square feet of chicken house capacity to formally certify to MDE that they are meeting the same standards required for the permitted Maryland Animal Feeding Operation (MAFO) facilities, including either a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan or an updated nutrient management plan that is integrated with a soil conservation and water quality plan. MDE estimates that of the approximately 800 poultry operations in Maryland, 75 to 100 are large poultry operations and 100 to 125 are medium poultry operations—all of which would be covered by the proposed permit and regulations.
Facilities required to submit a notice of intent to be covered by the permit must also submit to MDE a copy of their existing State nutrient management plan. The permit requires an integrated soil conservation/water quality management plan and a nutrient management plan to be implemented to control pollution from animal waste from the production area to the field; authorizes water quality and management practices monitoring by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland; and authorizes inspection and enforcement of water quality problems by MDE.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program (MACS), including additional funding provided by the 2010 Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, is available to farmers to assist with meeting any new MAFO requirements. Soil Conservation Districts can provide technical assistance and cost share funding is available for a full range of on-farm best management practices that may be necessary.
A draft of this proposal was first released in December 2007. After numerous public comments; three public meetings that took place on the Upper Shore, Lower Shore, and in Western Maryland and were attended by more than 300 interested parties; and special meetings with representatives of the agricultural community, a revised draft was published in May of 2008. The final draft included additional refinements after further discussions with environmental stakeholders and the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Comments may be sent to Ed Stone, MD Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230-1720, or call 410-537-3599, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax to 410-537-3163. Comments will be accepted through November 20, 2008.
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