October 10, 2008
Ms. Elizabeth Bailik
Ohio EPA – Division of Surface Water
Lazarus Government Center
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Re: Draft Biosolids Rules OAC Chapter 3745-40
Dear Ms. Bailik:
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) would like to thank you for the opportunity to review and submit comments on the proposed draft Biosolids Rules Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-40.
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.
Regarding biosolids specifically, OFBF policies:
- support cooperation among applicators, Ohio EPA, municipalities and SWCDs to assure proper and safe application of biosolids
- believe that the same nutrient levels that apply in the application of agricultural nutrients to farmland should apply to biosolid application
- encourage farmers to utilize best management practices for the application and use of biosolids.
As a result of the above policies, it is clear that OFBF and our members’ desire consistency between and among all programs related to agricultural nutrient management. There is no justifiable reason to treat commercial fertilizer, animal byproducts and biosolids differently when utilized for agronomic benefit. As written, the proposed draft rules agree in principal with current OFBF policies.
Specific comments for several of the proposed draft rules follow:
(D) Agronomic Rate – The definition as written should be modified to base the application rate of biosolids on the nutrient requirements of the crops being grown. The most limiting crop nutrient should serve as the basis for determining the application rate thereby reducing the risk of nutrients being transported to waters of the state.
3745-40-02 Purpose, applicability, general requirements, exclusions, and prohibitions
Page 4 Section (E)(2) – reference to paragraphs (D)(1)(b)(ii) to (D)(1)(b)(ii)(d) appears to be incorrect. The correct reference should be to paragraphs (D)(2)(b)(i) to (D)(2)(b)(iv) of rule 3745-40-08.
3745-40-07 Requirements for the storage of biosolids
Page 1, Table C-1 lists the isolation distance requirements that shall be maintained for the field storage of bulk biosolids. The table indicates that a 100 foot isolation distance is to be maintained from waters of the state for the field storage of class B, class A and EQ biosolids. Because groundwater is included in the definition of waters of the state (ORC 6111.01) and is usually located at a depth less than 100 feet, it would be virtually impossible to field store biosolids anywhere in the state and be in compliance with the stated isolated distance. Wording in the table should be modified to read “waters of the state (excluding ground waters)” as it does in Table C-1 on page 3 of rule 3745-40-08.
3745-40-08 Requirements for the beneficial use of biosolids
Page 4 paragraph (D)(2) Frozen or snow covered ground. The language, as presented in the draft rule sections (D)(2)(b)(i) to (D)(2)(b)(iv), is consistent with the Ohio Department of Agriculture Livestock Environmental Permitting Rules (OAC 901:10) and NRCS Standard 633 Waste Utilization. It is important that there is consistency across all nutrient management programs.
The proposed draft rule could be improved by adding language that establishes a clear distinction between surface and subsurface (injection or incorporation) application of biosolids to frozen ground. The following modified language from OAC 901:10 is suggested, “If biosolids can be injected or incorporated then the land application site is not frozen or snow covered and therefore not subject to paragraph (D)(2) of this rule”.
Page 5 paragraph (5) Soil monitoring requirements. Section (a) of this rule discusses utilizing soil phosphorus levels to guide the land application of biosolids. The current definition of beneficial use, agronomic benefit and agronomic rate refer to nitrogen concentration serving as the basis for the determination of biosolids land application rates. As stated in an earlier, comment, a modification of the agronomic rate definition to remove the reference to nitrogen would make these sections consistent.
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.
Senior Vice President, Public Policy
Cc: Bob Peterson, President OFBF
OFBF Board of Trustees