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 2008.