New Pesticide General Permit Required for Certain Types of Applications
A new general permit for pesticides, which was recently finalized by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and became effective November 1, 2011, provides coverage for specific types of applications of pesticides to, over or near waters of the state.
It should be noted that all pesticide applications in Nebraska continue to be regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) rules. Instructions on how to apply in accordance with these rules are provided on product labels. The new pesticide general permit provides additional protection in some specific circumstances where pesticides are applied on or near surface waters. The goal of this permit is to protect water quality under specific conditions where surface waters could be affected.
Who May Be Affected By the New Rules
This permit does not cover applications of pesticides that are not near water, nor does it cover associated runoff from applications to agriculture land or irrigation return flow from cropland, which are exempt in the Clean Water Act. These types of agricultural situations will continue to be regulated by existing FIFRA rules.
However, the new permit rules can apply to a variety of applications by those who are responsible for the management of surface water bodies. Entities that are potentially affected include: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Natural Resources Districts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, weed management districts, irrigation districts and canal operators, city governments, lake associations, individuals, or any other entity responsible for managing the surface water body’s assigned beneficial uses.
Conditions That Would Require Notification
In most situations, those who are affected by the new general permit would not need to submit an application to the state as long as they follow the rules specified in the general permit and maintain records of their applications. However, under specific circumstances that involve application of pesticides at or near waters of the state, the applicator would need to submit a Notice of Intent to NDEQ that provides details of the proposed application.
The submission of a Notice of Intent would apply to those who intend to apply pesticides to, over or near Class III waters, which include:
- State resource waters as defined in Nebraska’s surface water regulations;
- Waters listed as impaired on the current Nebraska Clean Water Act 303(d) list for any ingredients in the pesticide, or residuals from the application;
- Waters where Threatened and Endangered Species or critical habitats are present;
- Flowing or discharging waters that are within 250 feet of a direct surface water connection to the three types of surface waters listed above;
- Waters within 250 feet of a surface water intake for public drinking water.
Because the circumstances that would require the submission of a Notice of Intent are very specific, NDEQ recommends that those who think they might fall into those categories review the General Permit and the associated Fact Sheet and Flow Chart that can be found by going to DEQ’s web site at http://deq.ne.gov. Select Publications/NPDES Permit Program, and then select the Guidance Document titled “NPDES Pesticides General Permit With Guidance.” Or, the direct URL is: http://deq.ne.gov/Publica.nsf/pages/11-007.
Background of Why the General Permit Was Developed
Until this year, the specific FIFRA instructions on product labels had been the sole method of regulating the application of pesticides. However, federal court rulings led EPA to establish requirements for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in addition to the labeling requirements, under specific circumstances.
To comply with these new federal requirements, NDEQ developed the NPDES pesticides general permit. The agency discussed the proposed permit with potentially affected entities, and conducted a public comment period in February and March of 2011, as well as a public hearing on March 22, 2011. This public input was considered prior to the development of the final general permit.
For More Information
In addition to visiting DEQ’s web site (address listed above), inquiries about the general permit and Notice of Intent requirements can be directed to NDEQ’s NPDES Permits Unit at (402) 471-8830. The mailing address is: NDEQ NPDES Program, Box 98922, Lincoln, NE 68509-8922. E-mail inquiries can be sent to NDEQ.firstname.lastname@example.org