August 8, 2008
Ms. Gina Hayes
Ohio EPA – Division of Drinking and Ground Waters
Lazarus Government Center
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Re: Draft Rules in OAC Chapter 3745-9
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) would like to thank you for the opportunity to review and submit comments on the draft revisions to the rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-9 that govern water well standards.
OFBF is the largest general farm organization in the state of Ohio with members in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. Our members produce virtually every kind of agricultural commodity and as a result, OFBF is strongly interested in Ohio’s environmental policies and their potential impact to sustaining a viable agbioresource industry. OFBF policies support the development of programs that are scientifically based, economically sound and whenever possible, delivered in a flexible and voluntary manner.
As per the published July 7, 2008 Public Notice, we have performed our review of the draft revisions to the rules in OAC that govern water well standards. Our comments will address our concerns with proposed draft OAC rules 3745-9-01, Definitions and 3745-9-04, Well Siting.
1. OAC Rule 3745-9-01 contains definitions (BB)(c) and (DD)(b) which reference definitions found in OAC Rule 901:10-1-01. OAC Rule 901:10-1-01 is the definition section of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) livestock environmental permitting program rules. OAC 901:10 applies to concentrated animal feeding facilities (CAFFs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), those facilities permitted and legally regulated by ODA. Is it safe to assume that since the proposed draft revised rules reference “animal waste management facility” and “land application area” as defined in OAC 901:10-1-01 that the proposed draft rules will only apply to those livestock farms permitted by ODA? If this is not the case, the language in the proposed draft rules must be modified to clarify this point.
2. It is unclear if the proposed draft rules will apply only to new public water supply wells or to both existing and new public water supply wells. The description of what is covered by the draft rule changes in the fact sheet leads one to believe that thespecific setback distances for waste management activities will apply to all (existing and new) public water supply wells. If this is the case, what accommodations will be made for those livestock farms (CAFF or CAFO) with valid, legal ODA permits allowing them to use land application areas located inside of the proposed three hundred foot setback? Will they be grandfathered or will they be forced to comply with the draft rules if and when they are adopted? What about the small to medium sized livestock farms not permitted by ODA? Will the same conditions apply?
3. A comparison of the Ohio EPA proposed draft rules and the ODA livestock environmental permitting program rules revealed that the sections of the two sets of rules related to siting and land application areas are consistent except for one situation. Appendix A, Table 2 to ODA rule OAC 901:10-2-14: Land application restrictions and setbacks, places a one hundred (100) foot setback requirement from private and public wells when manure is surface applied with incorporation within 24 hours or applied via direct injection into the soil. The proposed draft rule OAC 3745-9-04 (A)(8)(c) places a three hundred (300) foot well siting setback requirement from all land application areas. This conflict and inconsistency between the two sets of rules can easily be resolved if Ohio EPA adopts the ODA rules for siting and land application of manure per Appendix A Table 2 to rule OAC 901:10-2-14.
Once again, thank you for the opportunity to provide comments. Feel free to give Dr. Larry Antosch of our staff a call, at 614-246-8264, if you have any questions regarding these comments.
John C. Fisher
Executive Vice President
Cc: Bob Peterson, President OFBF
OFBF Board of Trustees