Tighter rules on poultry litter urged
Rules to determine how much poultry litter can be
spread in two northeastern Oklahoma watersheds should be revised to further
limit the application standards, according to the federal court of Tulsa.
It is urged that revisions are needed because a permanent standard was
never agreed upon and waters feeding into the watershed continue to be impaired
by excessive amounts of phosphorus.
In a settlement agreement that ended a lawsuit involving six poultry
companies, the city and the utility authority, the nutrient application limits
were imposed by a judge as a temporary measure.
An interim phosphorus index was imposed by US District Judge Claire Eagan
in February 2004. The phosphorus index (PI) is an assessment tool used to
manage the land application of poultry litter.
"We are pleased that the settlement has resulted in reduced litter
application, but we cannot stand by in the mistaken belief the water will
improve under the current PI when it is known that high phosphorous fields can
require 15 - 20 years of continuous crop harvesting, without additional
phosphorous during that time, to reduce high soil test phosphorous in the
fields," said utility authority member Jim Cameron.
In addition to requesting a more restrictive phosphorus index, the city and
the utility authority have requested a judge continue to oversee the lawsuit for
at least four years. Judicial oversight of the case is to end in February
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