BRWA and Coalition Letter to ADEQ June 15, 2015 submitted by Earthjustice expressing concern over a request to permit C&H waste to be spread on the old C&C Hog Farm, part of which is in the Little Buffalo River watershed, and requesting that the C&H permit be reopened in its entirety for public comment.
ADEQ Response to above letter, July 6, 2015, stating that C&C/EC Farms would be required to submit a revised CNMP for a land application permit which would also require a public comment period.
BRWA complaint filed with ADEQ, August 12, 2015 regarding BCRET data showing potential leakage of C&H waste storage ponds with high E. coli and nitrate readings from the well, ephemeral stream, monitoring tenches, and Big Creek and requesting an independent investigation.
Letter from Williams and Anderson, October 23, 2015 on behalf of BRWA regarding a proposed permit change to remove the requirement for separate construction permits in Reg. 6 NPDES permit applications.
Buffalo River Watershed CAFO Task Force Outline This pdf outlines the mission and provides a list of "entities" charged by the PC&E Commission to study the possibility of a ban on all CAFOs in the Buffalo watershed as well as all Extraordinary Resource Waterways in Arkansas. March 14, 2014
Public Comments received by ADEQ on General Statewide Permit. Commenters include Butterball, Tysons, Farm Bureau and other paid
Reportobbyists. Most of the public was unaware of the significance.
EPA NPDES CAFO Final Rule This document sets forth the federal regulations with which the Arkansas General permit must comply.
NPDES General Permit This document sets forth the requirements for General permits such as currently held by C & H.
ADEQ Regulation 5 This document sets the requirements for Individual permits, as opposed to NPDES General permits above.
ADEQ List of BNRW CAFOS This chart from ADEQ shows all current and prior (closed) CAFOs located within the Buffalo River watershed including 2 dairy and 6 swine operations with open permits.
ADEQ Temporary Moratorium This is the Notice and Minute Orders establishing a temporary moratorium on any new medium or large swine CAFO permits within the Buffalo River Watershed. It expired October 22, 2014 and was renewed for 180 days on October 24, 2014.
ADEQ Moratorium 180-day Extension This is the Minute Order dated October 24, 2014 extending the temporary moratorium on new medium or large swine CAFOs within the Buffalo River watershed.
Satellite Image showing location of both wells according to coordinates from well logs.
ADEQ Director Becky Keogh's testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, titled “COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM: STATE PERSPECTIVES ON EPA REGULATORY ACTIONS AND THE ROLE OF STATES AS CO-REGULATORS”, March 9, 2016
303(d) IMPAIRED STREAMS LIST
Every two years ADEQ must submit its list of Impaired Streams to EPA to comply with the Clean Water Act. The deadline for submitting the 2016 list was April 1, 2016. Buffalo National River recommended adding three tributaries of the Buffalo to the list, including Big Creek. ADEQ declined. Below are pertinent documents.
ADEQ 303(d) Information page. Scroll down to see public comments.
NPS Letter To ADEQ Recommending Big Creek Be Added to 303(d) list of "impaired waters". October 6, 2015.
NPS Letters To ADEQ Feb. 25 and March 10, 2016, following up on earlier letter.
NPS Letter analyzing BCRET E. coli data and recommending impaired status for Big Creek, March 25, 2016.
Agenda for Joint Agriculture and Economic Development legislative committee meeting on 303(d) List, March 29, 2016
BRWA and Coalition comments before Joint Committee, March 29, 2015. This letter was also sent with attachments to various EPA officials and Governor Hutchinson's office. The handouts referred to may be found in the public comments on the ADEQ site at top.
Teresa Turk's comments to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission meeting, April 29, 2016.
EC FARMS PERMIT INFORMATION
EC Farms was previously known as C&C Farms and was owned by the current C&H owners. C&C ceased operations when C&H opened but did not close their ADEQ permit. Currently, 36 fields totaling approximately 550 acres are covered by the still-active permit. These fields lie on the Left Fork of Big Creek and on the ridge separating Big Creek from the Little Buffalo River. Some fields are in the Little Buffalo watershed. Ownership was transferred to EC Farms. In August, 2015, EC Farms submitted a modification request to allow it to apply swine waste from C&H to its fields. On March 5, 2016, ADEQ announced draft approval of the requested modification and opened a comment period with a public hearing to be held on April 11, 2016.
ADEQ Public Notice of Draft Approval of Modification, March 9, 2016 announcing a comment period for written comments ending April 8, 2016 and a public hearing on April 11, 2016. This link includes the public notice as well as details of the conditions of the permitted modification.
REGULATION CHANGES - Third Party Rulemaking
These are proposed changes to Regulation 5 and 6 which seek to establish a ban on medium and large swine CAFOs in the Buffalo River watershed and place a cap on the numbers of existing swine. If adopted, these changes would not apply to existing CAFOs, like C&H, but would prevent additional facilities of this size in the watershed.
The second proposed change to Reg. 6 would significantly improve the notification procedures for new Reg 6 CAFO permits state-wide.
These proposed changes must be reviewed by the Public Health, and Rules and Regulations Committees of the state legislature as well as the Legislative Council before finally being voted on by the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, likely sometime in the fall of 2014.
Regulation 6 Amended Rule Change June 19, 2015, incorporating a 5-year sunset clause at which time the temporary ban can be extended or cancelled at the discretion of the ADEQ Director
Renewal of Regulation 6 Swine CAFO General Permit ARG590000
The NPDES General permit, ARG590000, includes the regulations under which C&H, permit #ARG590001, is covered. C&H. C&H is the first and only permit issued under these regulations. ARG590000 expires on October 31, 2016 and was revised and opened for public comment on March , 2016, with a public hearing on April 14, 2016. Read the public notice and draft renewal permit here.
Select public comments submitted to ADEQ are posted below. ADEQ intends to release the final approved of ARG590000 in May 2016. C&H must reapply for coverage under the revised General permit by October 31, 2016, or switch to another permit.
Public Comments on ARG590000 Renewal:
C & H and Plasma Energy Group (PEG) are proposing to install a plasma pyrolysis unit to incinerate swine waste. As of April 2016, indications are that this scheme has been abandoned due to the high cost of operation (~$1 million per year).
ADEQ notice to PEG indicating the agency cannot make a permit determination and the company may "proceed at their own risk"
BRWA response objecting to PEG proposal, October 9, 2014. Included is the ADEQ response to the PEG application stating the agency cannot determine if a permit is required and the company may proceed "at their own risk".
Buffalo River Coalition Letter to ADEQ, EPA, etc objecting to ADEQ's decision to allow an experimental plasma pyrolysis unit to be installed at C&H for the incineration of swine waste, October 10, 2014.
An Industry Blowing Smoke 10 Reasons Why Gasification, Pyrolysis and Plasma Incineration Are Not "Green Solutions", 2009 GAIA Report
BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER DOCUMENTS
This site provides information on multiple water quality parameters collected at numerous sites on the Buffalo from 1985 to present. See the Water Quality Database 2005 - 2015 for most recent data, including E. coli and Dissolved Oxygen.
To see more NPS 303(d) documents scroll up to the 303(d) Impaired Streams section above..
Below are water sampling results taken by BNR at selected points along the river. Of particular interest are samples taken from Big Creek (site BUFT06) just above its confluence with BNR. Compare the results from December 12, 2013 (before field applications began) with those taken April 7, 2014 (after field applications were underway). The Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Turbidity, Fecal Coliform and E. coli results are of concern.
January 27, 2014 Note: there is a second Big Creek, site BUFT18, in the Lower Wilderness.
Water Quality Characterization of Big Creek Powerpoint presentation to the Arkansas Water Resources conference, July 16, 2014 by NPS Aquatic Ecologist Faron Usrey. This presentation shows the negative influence Big Creek has on E. coli and dissolved oxygen levels in the Buffalo River.
Dissolved Oxygen Levels near confluence of Big Creek and Buffalo River, late Summer, 2014. This graph shows that during a 21 day period starting August 21 and ending September 10, the dissolved oxygen dropped to or below 5 mg/l on 19 nights. On several nights it remained at or below 5 mg/l for 8 hours or more. The stream was at a critical level for 23.76% of the time during that period.
2012 National Park Visitor Spending Effects. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Natural Resource Report
Water analysis results. 6/4/2015 - 5/17/2016 This document includes a map of numerous sampling locations along Big Creek,from upstream of C&H to the confluence with the Buffalo. The results are suggestive of nutrient loading in the vicinity of the hog factory.
Defendant's Proposed Response To Plaintiff's Memorandum Of Law Regarding The Scope Of Injunctive Relief filed 11/7/2014
Plaintiff's Motion For Leave To Respond To Defendant's Supplemental Briefing On The Scope Of Injunctive Relief filed 11/12/2014
Plaintiff's Proposed Response To Defendant's Supplemental Briefing On The Scope Of Injunctive Relief, filed 11/12/2014
COURT ORDER, filed 12/2/2014. U.S. District Court Judge D.P. Marshall's written opinion and order for injunctive relief. The Court finds that FSA and SBA violated provisions of the National Environmental Policies Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and that they "arbitrarily and capriciously guaranteed the loans" to C&H Hog Farms.The court requires the agencies to re-do their "cursory and flawed" Environmental Assessment of C&H within one year. Read this document for a clear overview and explanation of the issue.
Order filed 12/2/2014
Judgement filed 12/2/2104
Notice of Appeal filed 1/30/2015 by Defendants
Withdrawal of Appeal filed April 22, 2015 by Defendants
Press Release on Withdrawal of Appeal
Defendants request a 90-day extension, until March 1, 2016, to comply with court order for a new EA. The extension is requested due to the "unexpectedly large volume of public comments on the draft EA". 1,858 public comments were submitted. Filed Sept. 25, 2015.
Declaration of Matthew Ponish, FSA, in support of 90-day extension.
Draft Biological Assessment prepared to comply with the Endangered Species Act. October, 2015
Defendants Motion To Dissolve Injunction, March 2, 2016