The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated their “Livestock and Poultry Operations Inspections” fact sheet, preparing producers for the frequently asked questions they may have to answer during an inspection.
By reviewing the fact sheet, producers can be better prepared for an inspection of their operation and lead to a better understanding of the federal requirements. Knowing what to expect during an EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System inspection, producers can find and correct any deficiencies before an inspection even occurs. Deficiencies found during an inspection will require action for an operation to come into compliance.
The EPA conducts inspections of livestock and poultry operations for the following reasons: to gather information that will be used to determine whether a facility, operating without an NPDES permit, is discharging manure, litter or process wastewater into waters of the United States in violation of the Clean Water Act; to collect information to evaluate whether a permitted facility is complying with its NPDES permit; to collect information to help determine if an operation meets the definition of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) or should be designated as a CAFO; to respond to a citizen complaint; or to assist the state when requested.
Section 308 of the Clean Water Act provides the EPA with the authority to enter any premises in which an effluent source is located. This broad authority allows the EPA to inspect operations where discharges from point sources such as CAFOs are suspected or located. It also allows the EPA to review and copy records and collect discharge samples or other information from effluent sources, as required. Under United States Code, Title 18, section 1001, it is a crime to lie to, or conceal information from, a federal official.
To learn more about CAFO requirements and how they may apply to you, read the federal and state regulations or contact your state permitting authority or one of the EPA regional offices. Additional information on the EPA’s CAFO regulations can be found at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/afo. Compliance assistance information is available on the EPA’s Agriculture Center’s website.