EE&T  |  AwwaRF
  Home > Utility Strategies for Source Water Protection > Regulatory Enforcement and Legal Actions

 *Source Water Protection

Water utilities concerned about CAFO impacts on source water quality may want to confirm that the facilities are meeting the appropriate regulatory requirements and deadlines for permitting and implementation of permit and nutrient management plan requirements. Communication with the appropriate regulatory agency that oversees CAFO NPDES permitting can help to identify sites with substandard operating procedures or facilities. Pressure can be put on the regulatory agency to take action to ensure these facilities implement measures to be in compliance with the relevant requirements.

As a last resort, some utilities have felt it necessary to take legal action against CAFO interests. Good, sound scientific assessments of source area pollutant loads and impacts are essential for presenting a valid case to force producers to implement pollution prevention measures. As an example, the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma spent several years trying to work with local poultry producers in the Eucha/Spavinaw watershed to reduce phosphorus loads that caused eutrophication and taste and odor issues in the source water. Attempts at stakeholder cooperation were not successful in meeting the City's primary goals, and they eventually filed a legal challenge against the poultry integrators in the watershed. Supported by good scientific assessments of the phosphorus issues in the watershed, Tulsa was successful in getting a substantial reduction required in the amount of chicken litter spread on land in the watershed, as well as a reduction in phosphorus discharges at a municipal wastewater plant whose flow is primarily from a large chicken processing facility.