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Kentucky Division of Water Issues General Permit for Pesticide Application

05.07.2012

On March 30, 2012, the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) issued a Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) general permit for pesticide applications.  The effective date of the permit was April 1, 2012.  Coverage under the permit is automatic and does not require a permit application or approval process.  Due to administrative factors, DOW has elected not to require submission of a Notice of Intent during initial issuance of the general permit.  The permit covers any area where liquid pesticides are applied directly to surface water and all non-agricultural land applications where pesticide contact with surface water is either intentional or unavoidable.  The permit specifies excluded discharges, including application of pesticides to agricultural land.

The general permit includes narrative conditions instead of numeric effluent limitations because numeric limitations were determined to be infeasible.  Narrative conditions include requirements to:  minimize pesticide discharges by following specified control measures, including annual assessments of the pest problem; report water quality related adverse incidents caused by the discharge of liquid pesticides; conduct visual inspections to identify instances of harmful impact to non-target organisms related to the use of pesticides in a given area; perform corrective action to help document and eliminate environmental problems associated with pesticide use; keep records as required by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for agricultural pest control; and, prepare a summary of activity for each calendar year.

Any discharge that causes or contributes to an excursion of a narrative water quality standard is prohibited by the permit.  The permit requires pesticides to be used in accordance with their labels since it has been determined that any pesticide registered for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) will not pose a risk to the environment.  However, DOW has included in the permit additional requirements for the purpose of protecting high quality waters.  Operators of permitted facilities with a direct discharge into a high quality water must investigate mechanical removal, habitat alteration and biological control methods as alternatives to pesticides.

Finally, facilities that meet the permit definition of a large operation must develop and implement a Pesticide Discharge Management Plan (PDMP).  The PDMP must be complete at the time pesticide application commences and must include a pesticide discharge management team, the pest management area description, a pest management area map, discharge control measures description, water quality related adverse incident procedures, visual inspection scheduling and procedures, spill response procedures, and a description of any method used as an alternative to pesticides for direct discharges into a high quality water.  The PDMP must be modified within 90 days of a change in the facility that significantly alters the type, frequency, or volume of pesticides discharged or anytime the permittee takes corrective action.


To view a complete PDF of the March/April 2012 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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