National Pollution Permit Needed to Apply Farm Pesticides?

September 16, 2009 at 8:15 am 2 comments

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) governs the applications of pesticides in the U.S. EPA has continuously said that pesticides used in accordance to the label directions for applications to water or near water were permitted under FIFRA and did not need additional permits.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th District ruled in favor of advocacy groups in a lawsuit the would require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for any pesticides applied to water bodies or if pesticides could possibly enter the water body after application. This would apply even if the pesticide was labeled for aquatic use or for use near water bodies.

EPA decided not to appeal the decision and instead asked the court for a two-year stay to develop, propose and issue a final general permit for pesticide applicators under NPDES. The stay was granted and the permitting system is to be in place in April of 2011.

The Ohio EPA will be the permitting agency for applications in Ohio. U.S. EPA has indicated irrigation return flows and agricultural runoff will not require NPDES permits as they are specifically exempted from the CWA. The large categories indicated by U. S. EPA that will be required to obtain permits are:

– Mosquito larvicides and adulticides.

– Herbicides to control weeds in lakes, ponds, ditchbanks in agricultural drainage systems, and irrigation systems and other waterways.

– Insecticides used in wide-area insect suppression programs.

– Herbicides used in wide-area control programs directed at aquatic invasive plant species.

– Herbicides, insecticides and other pesticides used in forestry program when applied over waters of the U.S.

– Products applied to kill fish, mussels or other invasive aquatic species.

U.S. EPA has set up a team with members from the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and the Office of Water (OW) to develop a model permit that can be used by states for the permitting process.

Reprinted from: PEP-Talk, September, 2009

(Sources: Office of Water, U.S. EPA, Wing Beats – trade magazine of the American Mosquito Control Association – Summer 2009 issue, Illinois Pesticide Review – University of Illinois Extension – July/August 2009 issue)


Entry filed under: farm management, pesticide license recertification. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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  • 1. Joe Hochstettler  |  December 7, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Just looking for updates on this issue for my company, Blanchard Valley Farmers Co-op, 6566 CR 236, Findlay, OH 45840, (419) 423-2611.

    • 2. andykleinschmidt  |  December 7, 2009 at 11:36 am

      The outcome is still unclear at this point Joe.



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