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WHAT'S MISSING IN THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CAFO RULES AND NUTRIENT TMDL'S?

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Discharges related to manure management for meat-bird (broiler) operations are currently governed by Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) rules that came into effect in 2003. CAFO regulations were last addressed in 1976 with major production changes occurring in the interim. Management improvements have enabled farmers to produce more with greater efficiency, but modern production has brought establishment/implementation of nutrient management plans and best management practices, extensive record keeping systems, annual technical training and reports. Poultry and livestock face an NPDES permit compliance timeline of July 31, 2007. Some states have established nutrient total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for a few water bodies, but others have not. Further, “nutrient TMDL” has not been consistently defined. Measurements indicative of eutrophic conditions for a water body are proxy variables such as total P, total N, chlorophyll a or a combination of these and others. Cite specific, physical, chemical, biological, and geological attributes interact to determine water quality and questions surround the efficacy of treating the cause or the effect (e.g. water P concentration or algal mass). Recognizing the common goal of protecting water quality, the discontinuity and status among CAFO NPDES rules and nutrient TMDLs is explored in this report, primarily using as an example the activities of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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