Update on Maryland's CAFO NPDES Permitting Program

by Yee Huang | August 11, 2010

In June, I wrote about a settlement between EPA and environmental groups that requires EPA to publish guidance on the implementation of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and to propose a rule to collect more information on these operations. In that post, I cited numbers from EPA showing that states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed had many CAFOs without NPDES permits; for some of the states, not a single CAFO was permitted. Maryland had an estimated 220 CAFOs and only 7 with NPDES CAFO permits.

In response, the Maryland Department of Environment’s Secretary Shari T. Wilson provided an update to the status of the state’s CAFO permitting program, showing nearly twice as many CAFOs and improvements in CAFO permitting statistics. The updated numbers are:

Progress on CAFO Permits (as of June 30, 2010)


Since MDE’s CAFO permit went into effect, 529 facilities have submitted Notices-of-Intent (NOI), indicating that the facility’s operator believes it is covered by the permit requirements. According to MDE, these facilities generate approximately 85 percent of the poultry waste in Maryland. MDE noted it is “most obviously concerned” about the 127 CAFOs that do not currently have compliance schedules. MDE’s letter also points out that the agency has completed inspections of 52 CAFOs, as of June 30, 2010, exceeding their goal of 50 inspections by July 1, 2010.

I appreciate MDE’s time and willingness to provide ...

NPDES Permits on Impaired Waterways

by Holly Doremus | December 02, 2009
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. Precisely what the Clean Water Act requires of point sources that discharge to already-polluted waterways has long been a point of confusion. Now, according to Inside EPA, EPA may revise the rules it applies to new permits on impaired waterways. A rulemaking seems far from certain at this point — the story quotes an EPA spokesperson as saying the agency is “considering the possibility” — but if EPA does launch one it should make sure that ...

The Importance of Being Earnest: Nutrient Trading in the Chesapeake Bay

by Yee Huang | November 13, 2009
In October, Senator Ben Cardin (D.-Md.) introduced the “Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009,” signaling the beginning of a new era of federal commitment to Bay restoration. The legislation is a tremendous step in the right direction, and it includes many elements to help make the Bay Program and the Bay-wide Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) models for watersheds across the country. In addition to the inclusion of mandatory implementation plans and enforceable deadlines, the legislation also establishes a ...

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