Local farms and landowners have longer than expected to comment to the Department of Ecology on runoff into local water.
The DOE has extended their public comment period for an additional two weeks for the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) general permit. In a release, they say that the extension is “due to a technical problem discovered today with the online comment form”. There is a chance that some comments submitted online were not saved for “a period of several weeks”. Comments emailed directly to Ecology staff members were received.
Ecology found and fixed the problem with the online form and it is now working properly.
Comments will now be accepted through 5 p.m., Aug. 31.
Changes in the permit address groundwater health, and will primarily cover dairies. The updated permit expands coverage from 10 facilities to an estimated 150-200 facilities across Washington.
Heather Bartlett, manager of Ecology’s Water Quality Program said, “We’re confident that the permit will make strides for clean water, while respecting a hard-working industry that provides a backbone to our state’s economy.”
The permit authorizes farms that confine and feed animals such as cows, poultry, horses, and pigs in concentrated areas to discharge into local waters. Those farms are still required to manage wastewater in order to protect water quality.
If you submitted a comment with Ecology’s online form and want to verify that it was received, you can check their website. Comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions, please email or call Jon Jennings at 360-407-6283.
To date, Ecology has received nearly 3,000 comments about the draft permit.
Read more about this permit and the public comment period in our June 15, 2016, news release.