EPA issues new effluent guidelines for meat/poultry operations

Effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for the meat and poultry products point source category are specified in a new proposed final rule that's effective Oct. 8...

Sep 9th, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 9, 2004 -- In a Federal Register release for Sept. 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specified effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for the meat and poultry products point source category in new proposed final rule to become effective Oct. 8.

The final rule revises Clean Water Act effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for meat producing facilities. These revisions apply to existing as well as new slaughtering facilities ("first processors"), to facilities that further process meat to produce products like sausages ("further processors") and to independent rendering facilities that convert inedible by-products to items like pet food ("renderers"). The rule establishes, for the first time, effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for existing and new poultry first and further processors. Today's guidelines and standards establish limitations on wastewater discharges of specified pollutants for meat and poultry products facilities that discharge directly to U.S. waters.
There are no current regulations for facilities that discharge indirectly, and the agency has not adopted regulations for those facilities. Today's rule applies to wastewater discharges from existing meat and poultry facilities above specified production thresholds. These new source standards apply to new meat facilities above the production thresholds and to all new poultry facilities irrespective of their production level. The EPA isn't revising the current effluent limitations guidelines or new source performance standards for first or further processors of meat below the production threshold.

This final rule will benefit the Nation's receiving waters by reducing discharges of conventional pollutants, ammonia, and nitrogen. EPA estimates that compliance with this regulation will reduce discharges of nitrogen up to 27 million pounds per year, ammonia by 3 million pounds per year, and conventional pollutants by 4 million pounds per year.

Two major documents supporting the final regulations include:
* "Technical Development Document for the Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Meat and Poultry Products Point Source Category" [EPA-821-R-04-011] referred to in the preamble as the Technical Development Document (TDD): This document presents the technical information that formed the basis for EPA's decisions in this final rule. The TDD describes, among other things, the data collection activities, the wastewater treatment technology options considered by the Agency as the basis for effluent limitations guidelines and standards, the pollutants found in Meat and Poultry
Products (MPP) wastewaters, and the estimation of pollutant removals associated with certain pollutant control options.
* "Economic and Environmental Benefits Analysis of the Final Meat and Poultry Products Rule" [EPA-821-R-04-010] referred to as the Economic and Environmental Benefits Analysis (EEBA). This document presents the methodology employed to assess economic impacts, environmental impacts, and environmental benefits of the final rule and the results of the analyses.

Each National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit must include all technology-based effluent limitations promulgated by EPA. Consequently, all reissued permits for existing direct dischargers must require compliance with today's limitations. Direct dischargers that are new sources must comply with applicable new source performance standards (NSPS) on the date the new sources begin discharging. For purposes of the revised NSPS being promulgated today, a source is a new source if it commences construction after October 8, 2004.

The new rule does not revise the new source performance standards for wastewater discharges from small meat products facilities (i.e., those new meat facilities whose production is below the subcategory-specific production threshold) in Subparts A-I. Therefore, the respective new source dates for small facilities in Subparts A-I are not affected by today's final rule.

For more information, see http://epa.gov/EPA-WATER/2004/September/Day-08/index.html

###

More in Environmental