Pesticide General Permit
On October 31, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permit (PGP) for point source discharges from the application of pesticides to waters of the United States. This was in response to a decision by the federal court in the case of National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA. The EPA PGP covers pesticide discharges in areas where EPA is the permitting authority. In Region 7, which consists of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and nine tribal nations, the EPA PGP only applies on tribal lands. Region 7 states have their own pesticide permit. EPA's PGP covers operators who apply pesticides that result in discharges into waters of the U.S. from mosquito and other flying insect pest control; aquatic weed control, such as cattails and algae control; aquatic animal pest control, such as zebra mussels; and forest canopy pest control. Most farmers in Region 7 are not involved in these types of pesticide applications.
As a result of the court's decision, NPDES permits are generally required for these types of discharges beginning on October 31, 2011. All eligible operators will be covered under the pesticide general permit without being required to submit an application, called a Notice of Intent (NOI), until January 12, 2012. After January 12, 2012, pesticide operators on tribal lands within Region 7 must notify EPA. They should contact Kimberly Hill, 913-551-7841, firstname.lastname@example.org, who will provide the procedure to continue permit coverage. EPA has developed an electronic NOI (eNOI) online system to make it easy for permittees to obtain permit coverage. However, EPA Region 7 will provide compliance assistance for the first 120 days after October 31, 2011.
In Region 7, most farmers planting row crops will not likely notice a change in their practices or need for permit coverage when applying pesticides, as long as they follow the pesticide label instructions. These instructions typically advise turning off spray jets and/or avoiding spray drift when over water. Farming activities most likely affected would be those in which pesticides are applied to crops immersed in water, such as rice. The Region 7 state PGPs will more than likely affect agricultural districts, irrigation districts, homeowner associations, or larger municipalities that conduct the covered pesticide applications.
Activities outside the scope of the EPA PGP:
- Permit coverage is not required for pesticide applications that do not result in point source discharge to waters of the U.S., such as land applications for the purpose of controlling pests on agricultural crops, forest floors, or range lands.
- Agricultural runoff, irrigation return flows, and spray drift continue to be exempt from permitting under the Clean Water Act. The pesticide label remains the law in these situations.
Tribal operators will not be required to submit NOIs to EPA, unless they exceed the following annual thresholds:
- Mosquito control areas and forest canopies, 6,400 acres.
- Waterbodies, 20 linear miles or 80 acres.
For more information on R7 state-specific requirements:
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources: Courtney Cswercko, 515-281-7206, email@example.com,
- Kansas Department of Health and Environment: Don Carlson, 785-296-5547, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Missouri Department of Natural Resources: Charles Harwood, 573-751-9155, email@example.com,
http://dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/permits/issued/G870000.pdf (29 pp, 195K, About PDF)
- Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality: Steve Goans, 402-471-2580, firstname.lastname@example.org,