ARKANSAS DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY DOCUMENTS
C&H Closure Documents
C & H Hog Farm Permit Application This LARGE pdf file is the original Notice of Intent filed with ADEQ in 2012 and includes a large amount detailed information on the design, maintenance and operation of this 6,503 head swine factory. The Nutrient Management Plan is included. It includes topo maps and aerial photos of the site and its proximity to the Mt Judea school. Note that this Regulation 6 General CAFO permit was discontinued in 2016 and C&H subsequently filed for a Regulation 5 permit which was denied by ADEQ in 2017, a decision C&H appealed. Scroll down for more information on this long and winding road, littered with pig poop.
C & H Permit Information This ADEQ page includes information on C&H's initial Regulation 6 NPDES General Permit, ARG590001. Click on "View Permit Information" to see comments, modification requests and other documents. Click "View Inspection Reports" for all on-site inspection information.
Letter to ADEQ Requesting Permit Revocation This letter sets forth the many deficiencies in the Nutrient Management Plan prepared by C&H Hog Farms as part of its CAFO Permit application. ADEQ Director Theresa Marks made a public commitment to stop the project if significant errors were found in the permit application or the permit issued by ADEQ. This letter and its attachments seeks revocation of the CAFO permit. It outlines those problems and misrepresentations, and cites the applicable Arkansas law.
Attachment #1 Soil test reports from the University of Arkansas showing nutrient saturation.
Attachment #4 Showing details and omissions in the Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)
Attachment #5 Showing switch between phosphorous and nitrogen criteria in application.
Attachment #6 ADEQ coverage requirements & land application requirements.
Attachment #7 The nutrient utilization plan from the C&H permit documents.
Attachment #8 Applicable provisions of the Arkansas Air and Water Pollution Control Act
Attachment #9 Part 6 of the CAFO General Permit, grounds for permit revocation.
ADEQ Response to Request for Permit Cancellation (above) This is the ADEQ response to the request for the permit revocation letter above. It is little better than the errors in the permit, and asserts that ADEQ has the sole latitude to interpret conformance or non-conformance to its regulations and applicable law.
2nd Coalition Letter to ADEQ from Karst Geologist Brahana This is a letter requesting C&H Hog Farm permit revocation. This letter cites Brahana's local Karst experience. He asserts that Karst is unsuitable for this CAFO, urges immediate revocation of the permit, and a study of the specific Karst geology from the CAFO to the Buffalo National River.
C & H SWITCH TO REGULATION 5 PERMIT, initiated April, 2016.
Regulation 5, condensed explanation of the regulation by the U of A Ag School
C & H Regulation 5 Permit Information This page provides information on C&H's efforts to switch from its current Regulation 6 NPDES permit, which ADEQ will not be renewing, to a state permit under Regulation 5. BRWA opposes this shift because it does not provide the EPA oversight afforded under the NPDES program. This Reg 5 application is under permit # 5264-W.
ADEQ Notice of Administrative Completeness, May 25, 2016 stating that C&H's application for a Regulation 5 permit is administratively complete and confirming that C&H has submitted the necessary forms. Following a 10-day comment period, ADEQ will begin a technical review (typically requiring about 90 days) and give public notice of their draft permitting decision. At that time there will be a 30-day window for public comments on the technical aspects of the permit.
ADEQ issues Notice of Technical Deficiency to C&H over its refusal to allow investigative drilling to proceed. C&H is required to carry out the drilling itself or risk denial of it's application for a Regulation 5 Permit, #5264-W. Sept. 2, 2016.
ADEQ denies C&H request for a 90-day extension but allows them until December 29, 2017 to submit a complete response. December 14, 2017
C&H responds to deadline for submitting supplemental information to ADEQ for technical review of its permit application. See postings including ADEQ responses here. January 3, 2018
C&H submits partial response to ADEQ's request for supplemental information and asks for a 90-day extension to complete. ADEQ grants only a 10-day extension until December 29, 2017. See documents posted here from 12/6-12/14/2017
C&H Denied Regulation 5 Permit
C&H APPLIES FOR A REGULATION 6 INDIVIDUAL PERMIT, AR0052931
On April 18, 2018, C&H applied for yet ANOTHER permit, this time a Reg. 6 Individual permit. ADEQ returned the application on September 21, 2018 due to "administrative incompleteness". Read the Permit Information here. Meanwhile, their appeal of the denial of their Reg 5 permit continues. Follow the appeal process here. Click on "C&H Hog Farms" to open the drop-down menu of filings.
On October 19, 2018 C&H responded that their consultants would be addressing the stated deficiencies.
Relevant permit guidance documents
The AWMFH is a USDA-NRCS guiding document for waste management systems, including Reg. 5 permits (See Regulation 5.402 below). Chapter 7, Part 651-Geologic and Groundwater Considerations is particularly pertinent to karst considerations which should be taken into account by C&H and elsewhere in the Ozark region. The basis of ADEQ's decision to deny the C&H permit was due primarily to C&H's failure to comply adequately with these guidelines.
C & H 1st PERMIT MODIFICATION, 2014
Since receiving its initial permit in 2012, C&H has made a number of "modifications" to its operating plans. Most of these were considered Major Modifications which required a public comment period.
ADEQ Response to C & H request for permit revision This Feb. 7, 2014 letter is ADEQ's response to a request from C & H to modify the method of field applications to include the use of a "Vac Tanker". ADEQ determined that this constitutes a major modification of the NMP which requires public notice and a comment period.
ADEQ Notice of Public Hearing In response to C & H's request for a permit revision (see above) ADEQ is reopening their permit for a comment period beginning on Feb 19 and concluding with a public hearing in Jasper on March 24, 2014. ADEQ states that comments will be accepted only as they relate to the specifics of the permit modification, i.e.: the use of a "Vac Tanker" for field applications on fields 7-9.
Other Comments on Permit Modification
C & H 2ND PERMIT MODIFICATION, 2015
C&H Request for Major Modification of its permit, January 14, 2015. This is a request to allow the use of a tank wagon for disposal of waste from both Pond 1 and Pond 2. The original permit only allowed the tank wagon to be used for Pond 1.
C&H Revised NMP, dated Feb 1, 2015, reflecting the Modification Request above.
ADEQ Response To Request for Modification Denial, April 7, 2015 This letter mistakenly references the letter from Earthjustice, dated March 9, 2015 (see below), which addressed issues with the C&H 2014 Annual Report, not the modification request denial dated March 3 (above).
C & H 3RD PERMIT MODIFICATION, MAY 7, 2015
ADEQ Compliance Inspection #1 This is the the initial Compliance Assistance Inspection of C & H Hog Farm, performed on July 23, 2013, released to the public on September 10th, which identifies six conditions requiring "immediate attention" by C & H. ADEQ Director Teresa Marks states, "...we weren’t alarmed by anything we saw out there. We didn’t see any harm to the environment from this installation.”
EPA Compliance Inspection. Unannounced inspection of C & H on April 15, 2014 This is a 97 page report which includes soil and water test results. Page 95 shows the field applications to date.
ADEQ Complaint Inspection Report, December 29, 2015 based on citizen concern about potential flooding of C&H waste storage ponds due to heavy rains. No violations noted.
ADEQ Complaint Inspection Report, May 2, 2017 based on request by citizens to inspect ponds due to heavy rains on April 29. Pond 1 was in process of being pumped down and pond 2 was 3-6" above Must Pump Down level.
House Well. This is drilling log for the well which supplies the people and swine at C&H, according to information in the EPA report above.
C&H is required to submit annual reports detailing how much waste it generated, where it was applied, etc.
C&H 2017 Annual Report, showing 687,000 gallons of waste was "transferred to another person", that being EC Farms.
C&H 2018 Annual Report showing 2,484,582 gallons of waste was spread, with 639,000 gallons applied to Field 7 alone. 585,000 gallons was transferred to EC Farms.
BRWA Comments and Letters to ADEQ
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.
Various regulatory documents
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, Feb. 11, 2011. Commenters include Butterball, Tysons, Farm Bureau and other paid lobbyists. Most of the public was unaware of the significance of this comment period.
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
Congressional testimony of ADEQ Director Becky Keogh, applauding reversal of the Obama-era WOTUS rule. September 18, 2019
C & H and Plasma Energy Group (PEG) proposed 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
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 and a public hearing was held on April 11, 2016. ADEQ approved the EC permit which triggered an administrative appeal by those opposed.
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.
NPS subsequently withdrew this appeal on August 29, 2016.
Request for Oral Arguments regarding the EC Farms Permit Appeal, scheduled before the APC&E Commission on Friday, January 27, 9 am.
Administrative Law Judge's opinion is upheld by APC&E Commission and EC Farms is issued a new permit number - 5282-W Feb. 28, 2017.
THE ARKANSAS POLLUTION CONTROL AND ECOLOGY COMMISSION'S RESPONSE TO NOTICE OF APPEAL , March 23, 2017
Circuit Court Judge Putnam issues Order in EC Farms appeal, January 8, 2018
ADEQ Motion To Reconsider, filed in response to Judge Putnam's decision, filed January 25, 2018
EC Motion To Dismiss due to late filing of Notice of Appeal, July 6, 2018
Appelants Response to Motion to Dismiss
EC Farms Reply to Response, July 10, 2018
Court Order dismissing case, August 22, 2018
C&H 2017 Annual Report, showing 687,000 gallons of waste was "transferred to another person", that being EC Farms, January 25, 2018
EC Farms 2017 Annual Report, May 15, 2018