Thursday, June 3, 2010

General Permit For Pesticide Applications Proposed

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposed new permit with requirements that would regulate the amount of pesticides discharged to Waters of the US. This proposed general permit is in response to an April 9, 2009 court decision that found that pesticide discharges to U.S. waters were pollutants, and therefore requiring an NPDES permit.

The proposed permit would require all operators to reduce pesticide discharges by using the lowest effective amount of pesticide, prevent leaks and spills, calibrate equipment and monitor for and report adverse incidents. Additional controls, such as integrated pest management practices, are built into the permit for operators who exceed an annual treatment area threshold.

EPA estimates that the pesticide general permit will affect approximately 35,000 pesticide applicators nationally. The agency’s draft permit covers the following pesticide uses:

  • mosquito and other flying insect pest control;
  • aquatic weed and algae control;
  • aquatic nuisance animal control; and
  • forest canopy pest control.

The general permit does not cover terrestrial applications to control pests on agricultural crops or forest floors. However, EPA is soliciting public comment on whether additional use patterns should be covered by this general permit.

The agency plans to finalize the permit in December 2010, and have it take effect April 9, 2011. Once finalized, the pesticide general permit will be used in states, territories, tribal lands, and federal facilities where EPA is the authorized permitting authority. In the remaining 44 states, states will issue the pesticide general permits. EPA has been working closely with these states to concurrently develop their permits.

EPA will hold three public meetings, a public hearing and a webcast on the draft general permit to present the proposed requirements of the permit, the basis for those requirements and to answer questions. EPA will accept written comments on the draft permit for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

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