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History of USEPA Aquaculture Effluent Regulatory Effort : 

History of USEPA Aquaculture Effluent Regulatory Effort John A. Hargreaves Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife & Fisheries SERA-IEG-30

Overview:: 

history of the EPA regulatory effort characterization of catfish pond effluents management of catfish pond effluents Overview:

The Clean Water Act: 1972: 

Goal: “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s water”. The Clean Water Act: 1972

The Clean Water Act: 1972: 

restricts types and amounts of pollutants discharged into the Nation’s waters wastewater must be treated w/ the best economically achievable technology “point source” discharge permitted under NPDES The Clean Water Act: 1972

Concentrated aquatic animal production facility: 

Ponds that discharge at least 30 days per year, but... not ponds that discharge only during periods of excess runoff; or not facilities that produce less than 100,000 lbs per year Concentrated aquatic animal production facility

“Concentrated aquatic animal production facility”: 

“Facilities determined on a case-by-case basis by the Director to be significant contributors of pollution to the waters of the United States.” “Concentrated aquatic animal production facility”

Draft Effluent Limitation Guidelines: 1977: 

recommended effluent limitations for settleable solids and fecal coliforms recommended harvest and draining practices no standards issued Draft Effluent Limitation Guidelines: 1977

Consent decree: 1992: 

Natural Resources Defense Council vs. Environmental Protection Agency established schedule for proposing and developing national effluent guidelines for new industries Consent decree: 1992

1997: 

recommended that EPA implement the Clean Water Act for aquaculture by developing national effluent limitations catfish ponds not directly described as an environmental threat “guilt by association” 1997

EPA’s Notice of Proposed 1998 Effluent Guidelines Plan:: 

EPA’s Notice of Proposed 1998 Effluent Guidelines Plan: aquaculture petroleum refining inorganic chemicals steam electric power generation photographic processing chemical formulators and packagers urban storm water airport deicing

Why is EPA interested in regulating aquaculture effluents???: 

Why is EPA interested in regulating aquaculture effluents??? stated reason: environmental protection actual reason: consent decree (litigation)

EPA’s rulemaking process: 

EPA’s rulemaking process Sept 1998 - Federal Register notice lists aquaculture as a candidate industry Feb 1999 - Office of Water announces preliminary study of aquaculture industry Jan 2000 - announcement of formal rulemaking process Jan 2000 - present - data analysis, literature review, site visits, sampling, stakeholder involvement, screener survey

EPA’s rulemaking process: 

EPA’s rulemaking process Nov 2001-Feb 2002 - SBREFA process Feb 2002 - EPA management selects options Mar 2002 - interagency review Aug 2002 - proposed rule mid-summer 2003 - notice of data availability mid-March 2004 - interagency review Jun 2004 - final rule

SBREFA process: 

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act law that requires federal agencies to be subjected to scrutiny over impact of their regulations on small businesses SBREFA panel = 1 EPA, 1 OMB, 1 SBA representative advised by SER’s (Small-Entity Representatives) SBREFA process

EPA’s rulemaking process: 

EPA’s rulemaking process Nov 2001-Feb 2002 - SBREFA process Feb 2002 - EPA management selects options Mar 2002 - interagency review Aug 2002 - proposed rule mid-summer 2003 - notice of data availability mid-March 2004 - interagency review Jun 2004 - final rule

What will this mean to catfish farmers?: 

Catfish ponds included in regulation? No standards issued? Regulation of discharge? Best Management Practices vs. numerical limits? What will this mean to catfish farmers?

Potential problems with pond effluents: 

N & P in effluent cause nuisance blooms of algae organic matter loading causes oxygen demand sedimentation of receiving waters Potential problems with pond effluents

Why the level of waste discharge from catfish ponds is low:: 

effluents are dilute relative to amount of feed added to ponds ponds are managed so that not much water is discharged Why the level of waste discharge from catfish ponds is low:

Within-pond waste reduction: 

natural processes allow profitable fish production no direct costs for waste treatment decomposition, nitrification / denitrification, sorption, etc. enhanced by practice of not draining ponds between fish crops Within-pond waste reduction

Pond effluent volume is low: 

mass discharge = concentration x volume two common water management practices water not drained between successive fish crops water level maintained below the top of drain pipe (“drop-fill” schemes) Pond effluent volume is low

Managing ponds to reduce mass discharge: 

reduce effluent volume reduce waste production within ponds enhance within-pond removal of nutrients and organic matter Managing ponds to reduce mass discharge

Reduce effluent volume: 

reuse water for multiple fish crops maintain some capacity to store rainfall production/storage pond modules eliminate water exchange Reduce effluent volume

Reduce waste production within ponds: 

feed carefully to improve feed conversion manipulation of dietary P concentration ineffective reducing feeding rates not practical Reduce waste production within ponds

Enhance within-pond removal of nutrients and organic matter: 

aeration or circulation to improve dissolved oxygen supply precipitate inorganic P with gypsum or alum bioaugmentation aquatic plants for nutrient assimilation Enhance within-pond removal of nutrients and organic matter

Management practices to reduce environmental impacts: 

pond operation and management harvest and draining practices pond construction and renovation practices Management practices to reduce environmental impacts

Pond operation and management: 

Pond operation and management operate production ponds for several years without draining capture rainfall to reduce effluent volume use high quality feeds and efficient feeding practices manage within pond assimilative capacity provide adequate aeration and circulation of pond water position mechanical aerators to minimize erosion eliminate water exchange

Harvest and draining practices: 

Harvest and draining practices allow solids to settle before discharging water reuse water that is drained from ponds treat pond effluents in settling basins or constructed wetlands prior to discharge where possible, release pond effluents into natural wetlands use effluents to irrigate terrestrial crops

Pond construction and renovation practices: 

Pond construction and renovation practices optimize the ratio of watershed to pond area divert excess runoff from large watersheds away from ponds construct ditches to minimize erosion and establish plant cover on banks protect embankments in drainage ditches from erosion maintain plant cover on pond watersheds avoid leaving ponds drained in winter close drain valves when renovating ponds use sediment to repair levees during pond renovation, excavate to increase operational depth

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