Iowa’s Clean Water v. Factory Farms

Factory farms poisoning IowaThe Sierra Club Iowa Chapter has waited since September 2007 when it filed a dedelegation petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop and approve rules requiring concentrated animal feeding operations – particularly swine operations – to comply with federal Clean Water Act requirements.  Now is your chance to provide input on the rule.

The proposed changes are required by state law and satisfy the terms of a work plan the DNR and the EPA signed in September 2013.  The proposed rule changes would adopt federal regulations requiring totally roofed, concentrated animal feeding operations to comply with federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. The changes would also require animal feeding operations that have NPDES permits to comply with federal setback requirements for land application of manure.

EPA reviewed DNR enforcement records and concluded that DNR does not adequately enforce the Clean Water Act against CAFOs that discharge waste into our waters.

Tell DNR to improve its enforcement program regarding CAFOs.

EPA expects DNR to adopt rules on issuing NPDES permits to CAFOs that discharge (accidently or on purpose). NPDES permits are one of the most important tools used to control water pollution.

Tell DNR must adopt the strongest rule possible to ensure every CAFO that discharges has an NPDES permit.

The rule must include DNR’s building a comprehensive, user-friendly, online database of manure spills, Clean Water Act inspections and permitting so that everyday Iowans can audit the DNR’s inspections and permitting decisions and hold them accountable.

Tell DNR to maintain a database for the public to review inspecting and permitting decisions.

The DNR will host six public hearings and is asking for public input on proposed rule changes regarding concentrated animal feeding operations.

The Chapter encourages you to attend in person any of the meeting DNR has scheduled across the state.  You can comment in person or in writing.

May 6 at 6 p.m., Lime Creek Nature Center, 3501 Lime Creek Road, Mason City
May 7 at 6 p.m., Clay County Administration Building, Boardroom, 300 W. Fourth St., Spencer
May 8 at 6 p.m., Carroll County Courthouse, Meeting Room, 114 E. Sixth St., Carroll
May 9 at 10 a.m., Wallace State Office Building, Fourth Floor Conference Room, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines
May 12 at 6 p.m., Northeast Iowa Community College, Dairy Center, Room 115, 1527 Highway 150 S., Calmar
May 13 at 6 p.m., Washington County Conservation Board, Education Center, Marr Park, 2943 Highway 92, Ainsworth.

Neila Seaman, MPA, Chapter Director

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