All CAFO operations require environmental permitting to operate due to the potential to discharge nutrients to ground and surface water: State agencies require permits for any operation that produces water in its operation (discharge) with the potential to impact ground water quality. Surface water is generally regulated by the EPA.
Groundwater Discharge Permits
Discharge permits regulate the volume of water that can be discharged from a facility, how it is stored and disposed of, the monitoring of groundwater at the facility, and associated record-keeping and reporting. GGI staff provides expertise in all aspects of preparing a discharge permit (renewal) application and in designing the environmental aspects of a new/remodeled facility:
- GGI water rights experts determine if you have sufficient water rights to grow crops and meet the demands of your facility.
- GGI hydrogeologists determine if enough wet water is available in the aquifer and wells are capable to meet equipment/facility needs
- GGI hydrogeologists determine groundwater flow direction on your facility and site proper locations for monitoring wells.
- GGI environmental staff assess groundwater quality, soil nutrient status and land application area.
- GGI agronomists calculate the acreage required to sustainably use manure produced by the facility.
- Our cross-disciplinary staff evaluates the discharge plan for viability and efficiency and suggests cost effective strategies.
- GGI finalizes discharge permit applications, submits to designated regulatory agencies, negotiates with agency staff as needed, and produces timely quarterly reports once the permit has been issued.
- If the permit goes to public hearing, our technical experts help you with hearing and litigation support as needed.
As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program controls surface water pollution by regulating point sources with the potential to discharge pollutants into Waters of the United States. Under the NPDES Program, all facilities that have the potential to discharge pollutants from a point source into Waters of the US are required to obtain an NPDES Permit.
- GGI Provides technical and regulatory information about the NPDES permit program and helps the facilities in obtaining the required NPDES Permit. GGI also prepares Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) required for obtaining NPDES permit under the CAFO Rule.
- GGI has an established track record of getting approved NPDES discharge permits from EPA for a wide variety of CAFO operations.
- In the event of a spill or compliance inspections by EPA staff, GGI has successfully worked with the agency and farmers to come to mutually beneficial resolutions.
NRCS Funding Assistance
Improvements to a facility that are protective of ground and surface water – e.g., synthetically lining runoff ponds or storage lagoons, converting from flood to more efficient sprinkler irrigation – are often costly. GGI staff has helped numerous facilities in obtaining cost-share assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). These investments often result in an operation that runs more efficiently and assists in improved environmental compliance at the same time.