NPDES and You: New Federal Regulations that Affect Your Pond
On October 31, 2011, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit went into effect. This new permit will likely affect you and your pond directly. NPDES is the primary federal legislation that regulates point source pollution to the waters of the United States. Under these new regulations, if you own or manage a property with a pond, then you will be responsible for making sure that all pesticide applications related to the pond meet the requirements of the new permit.
Some of the activities that will be regulated under this permit include algae control and weed treatments in the water, shoreline vegetation control and mosquito control. And the most important part of this new law is that as a decision maker or financier for the applications, YOU are just as liable for permit compliance as the applicator.
Although NPDES is a federal permit, the legislation is implemented by the individual states in most cases, so the permit requirements are not the same in every state, and are very familiar and up to date with all of the necessary regulatory compliance required in all of these jurisdictions, ensuring that all of our clients will be properly covered. At SOLitude Lake Management, we are licensed to apply pesticides in eleven states, so we need to be extremely familiar with the regulations in all of these jurisdictions to ensure that we are in compliance no matter where we are working. In general, the permit requirements are geared to minimize the overall amount of pesticides applied to the water, to reduce the number of adverse incidents related to pesticide applications, and to ensure that violators are held accountable for their actions.
Since the decision maker/financier and the applicator are "co-permittees," the conditions of NPDES compliance may be the responsibility of one party, but are the liability of both. For instance, the decision maker/financier will need to demonstrate that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies have been considered prior to the decision to apply pesticides. This may include non-chemical control methods such as aeration, beneficial bacteria, and triploid grass carp. Permit compliance information will need to be maintained for each site, in addition to detailed documentation of each pesticide application. For all of our current clients, this is already being done, and no additional action will be required on your part.
So what exactly is your responsibility as the pond owner or manager? Since NPDES compliance requirements vary by state and are based on site-specific conditions, there is no standard answer to this question. However, you will need to be familiar with the specific pesticide regulations for your state and work with your qualified aquatic pesticide applicator to develop a compliance program for your pond or lake. It is important to ensure that all aquatic pesticide applications to your pond or lake are completed by knowledgeable and experienced applicators that are aware of and compliant with the new regulations.
SOLitude Lake Management utilizes a specialized lake and pond management software program to manage our application data, and many facets of NPDES compliance are already part of our daily operations. We will work with our clients and our industry partners to ensure that all of our operations are compliant with these new permit requirements, and can provide consulting services for any operator in the development of a NPDES Pesticide General Permit compliance program.
Unfortunately, as we move forward and the full extent of these new regulations are realized, you could be faced with some additional permit compliance fees or other associated costs related to the required filings and compliance work resulting from the federal NPDES permitting. We will keep all of our clients abreast of the changes as they occur.
In support of our belief that lakes and ponds are a precious natural resource requiring protection, SOLitude is committed to providing sustainable and renewable solutions that maintain ecological balance in the workplace and beyond.
When you partner with SOLitude, a dedicated field technician visits your lake or pond twice a month, leveraging extensive knowledge and training to carefully maintain ecological balance and preserve the appearance of your aquatic property.
Utilizing the latest GPS aquatic mapping technology and our own proprietary lake and pond management software, the experts at SOLitude collect all the data necessary to provide comprehensive analysis and in-depth solutions.