Written by Larry Limpf
Sunday, 02 November 2008 11:25
An open house/public meeting is scheduled for Dec. 11 to offer residents the chance to comment on draft permits for Green Dairy, LLC, which is planning to add a manure treatment pond to its mega-dairy in Wood County near the town of Wayne.
The open house will begin at 6 p.m. and be followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. Both will be held at Elmwood Local School, 7650 Jerry City Rd., Bloomdale.
The permits can be viewed at the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District, 1616 East Wooster St., Bowling Green. For an appointment call (419) 354-5517.
Green Dairy, located in the Cedar Portage Watershed in Portage Township, has received an operating permit from the Ohio Department of Agriculture but has applied for a permit modification to add a manure treatment pond.
Under state law, the addition of a manure containment structure capable of storing 10 percent or more of the previously permitted volume requires the dairy owner to obtain a permit modification from the department.
The dairy’s original permit covered two 935-cow free stall dairy barns and one 330-cow dry dairy barn attached to a milking parlor; one concrete settling basin; an earthen silage/storm water pond, and earthen manure storage ponds that are designed to provide 358 days of storage.
Modifications to the permit would expand and re-orient the three-stage manure ponds by adding room for manure treatment and an additional 49 days of storage.
The permitted number of animals would not be changed.
Oral comments will be accepted at the public meeting. Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the ODA Livestock Environmental Permitting Program, 8995 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg, O., 43068.
EPA needs data
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs more information and a clearly defined strategy to protect air and water quality from pollutants from large-scale animal operations also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO study found that no federal agency collects consistent, reliable data on CAFOs, making it difficult to determine trends in the operations during the past 30 years.
As a proxy, the GAO used U.S. Department of Agriculture data for large farms and estimates the number of such operations has increased by about 230 percent, from about 3,600 in 1982 to almost 12,000 in 2002.
The study found “…that EPA does not have comprehensive, accurate information on the number of permitted CAFOs nationwide. As a result, EPA does not have the information it needs to effectively regulate these CAFOs. EPA is currently working with the states to establish a new national data system.”
The study, citing agricultural experts, says the clustering of large operations in certain geographic areas may result in large amounts of manure that can’t be effectively used as fertilizer on adjacent cropland and could increase the potential of pollutants reaching nearby waterways, degrading water quality.
“Since 2002, at least 68 government-sponsored or peer-reviewed studies have been completed that examined air and water quality issues associated with animal feeding operations and 15 have directly linked air and water pollutants from animal waste to specific health or environmental impacts. EPA has not yet assessed the extent to which these pollutants may be impairing human health and the environment because it lacks key data…” the study says.
The study says a two-year nationwide air emissions study was started in 2007 as a first step in developing protocols for animal feeding operations.
However, the study – largely funded by industry – may not, as currently structured, provide the scientific and statistically valid data it was intended to generate which the EPA would need to develop protocols.