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Meeting seeks comments on proposed changes in feedlots

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) feedlot program has scheduled meetings to receive input from livestock producers about proposed changes in the next five-year (2011-2016) general operating permit for large feedlots, or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

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More than 1,000 large livestock facilities in Minnesota operate under a general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The NPDES program regulates the discharge of pollutants from point surfaces to U.S. surface waters. The federal Clean Water Act defines CAFOs as point sources.

A meeting is set for Monday, July 21 at the Pope County Courthouse in Glenwood from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

A significant change moves the issuance date up to February 1, 2011, instead of May 31, to better align with spring construction. This also moves the application deadline ahead to August 1, 2010.

Other proposed changes include:

•?Anaerobic digesters are eligible for a general permit; other alternative technologies require individual permits.

•?Monitor basin perimeter tile monthly instead of weekly.

•?No winter application of liquid manure, except if prior to December 1, or during emergency conditions or under an individual permit.

•?Modified restrictions for winter spreading solid manure, including phosphorus-based rates, slopes of less than 4 percent.

•?In addition to manure, regulated pollutants include litter, process wastewater, feedpad leachate and runoff, and manure-contaminated runoff.

•?More detailed record-keeping is required for transferred manure.

•?Requires revised permit application for expansion construction, increased animal numbers, or altering manure management.

•?Adds specific requirements for carcass disposal.

•?Adds detail for stockpile setbacks, best management practices.

•?Ownership change requires permit transfer approval.

•?There are disposal requirements for construction and hazardous materials.

After the informal comment and development period, the permit will enter an official public comment period in late fall. The final permit is scheduled to be available by summer 2009.

A copy of the draft permit is available on the Web at http://www.state.mn.us/hot/feedlots.html. For more information, contact your MPCA regional feedlot staff. Get contact information for that person by calling 1-800-657-3864 or by going online to http://www.pca.state.mn.us/hot/feedlots.html#contacts.

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