The US Environmental Protection Agency has notified four poultry growers in West Virginia to stop discharging pollutants from farms to waterways and obtain the necessary permits that are required by the Clean Water Act.
The agency believes that some farmers in the Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia could benefit from more information about the federal requirements to reduce polluted stormwater runoff. EPA and national and state poultry industry associations are in discussions on developing a program to educate growers on water quality and compliance issues.
“Based on our experience, educating farmers on the requirements of the Clean Water Act goes a long way in helping them to protect and improve local water quality and increase compliance,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “We’ve had good results from working closely with integrators and trade associations, making sure farmers know how they can best reduce runoff and meet their regulatory responsibilities.”
EPA issued the orders following inspections in June of five chicken and turkey operations in West Virginia. The inspections found that four of the five operations were concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as defined by the Clean Water Act and that they had neither applied for nor obtained the required discharge permits. The fifth grower had already applied for the permit.
Also, at four of the facilities inspected, man-made ditches draining stormwater away from the poultry houses and sheds containing manure and compost allowed pollutants to discharge to waterways during rain events.
EPA’s actions are part of an ongoing initiative to improve water quality in local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. More information about the Chesapeake Bay watershed compliance and enforcement strategy can be found on the EPA website.