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BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Environment is reissuing, with revisions, the state General Discharge permit for animal feeding operations, a regulation that applies to more than 550 broiler operations.
The revised permit replaces the previous version that had expired on Nov. 30.
All large and medium AFOs that discharge or propose to discharge to waters of the state must be covered under the General Discharge Permit, according to Maryland regulations.
Other AFOs may be required to be covered under the General Discharge Permit at the discretion of MDE or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The new permit takes effect on July 8, and applicable producers have 60 days to submit a five-page Notice of Intent form to MDE that signifies their intention to comply with the revised permit.
The full revised General Discharge permit, permit fact sheet, Notice of Intent form and other guidance documents are available on the MDE’s Animal Feeding Operations website, by visiting https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/LAND/RecyclingandOperationsprogram/Pages/AFOInfo.aspx.
Among more than 90 listed revisions, the new permit clarifies the definition of “organic poultry” to mean an operation that complies with organic standards established by the USDA’s National Organics Program; defines “poultry pasture,” stating it is not part of the production area as long as the area maintains vegetation during the normal vegetative growing season.
The Maryland Department of the Environment will develop a form for writers of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans to identify any resource concerns at the animal feeding operation.
In submitting the Notice of Intent, producers must identify on the CNMP or other required plans, the distance to and the name of the nearest waterbody or waterbodies to the production area, their 12-digit watershed name and number and identify if there are any Total Maximum Daily Load impairments for nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria or sediment and if the facility is located in a Tier 2 watershed or watersheds.