Poultry waste permit progress aim of Delaware, federal agencies

Federal and Delaware regulatorsare working together toward streamlined water protection rules and permits forpoultry producers.

Regulators from the federal and Delaware state governments are working together toward streamlined water protection rules and permits for poultry and livestock producers in the state.

During an August 5 Delaware Department of Agriculture Nutrient Management Commission forum, Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said the staffs from the federal and state entities hope to create a policy “that makes sense,” the News Journal reported. The forum was held as a means to get public input on water-related issues.

"We're looking at a general permit in Delaware, which is a much more streamlined process," Garvin said, adding that "there will be a trigger" requiring more elaborate applications and permits for some operations.

The Agriculture Nutrient Management Commission was created by legislators in 1999 as a farming-led attempt to deal with runoff tied to the management or mismanagement of poultry litter. The runoff has been blamed for the declining water quality in the state's rivers and bays.

Disputes over progress and verification remained after the commission was formed. They even intensified as national court battles emerged over EPA attempts to require individual, customized wastewater permits for larger farms, and increasing pressure on Delaware to do its share in reducing pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

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