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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Koelsch, Richard
item Balvanz, Carol
item George, John
item Meyer, Dan
item Nienaber, John - Jack
item Tinker, Gene

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/21/2004
Publication Date: 1/5/2005
Citation: Koelsch, R., Balvanz, C., George, J., Meyer, D., Nienaber, J.A., Tinker, G. 2005. Applying alternative technologies to cafos: a case study. In: Symposium State of the Science, Animal Manure and Waste Management. January 5-7, 2005. San Antonio, Texas. 2005 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Regulations have been in force to protect the environment from feedlot runoff. Runoff control technology was limited to a system that could contain all runoff from a storm expected once in 25 years. Recent changes to the regulation allows alternative technology, but does not clearly define it, except to say it must be as good or better than the existing technology. This paper reports the actions of a group of individuals who put together guidelines to evaluate alternative technology by using computer models and demonstration sites. The report details the difficulties experienced by the group and some lessons learned.

Technical Abstract: The US EPA National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit program has regulated open lot livestock production systems since the 1970's, historically requiring collection, storage, and land application of runoff. Under the new Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations, the effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) offer the option of Voluntary Alternative Performance Standards for beef and dairy. This potentially allows runoff management options such as vegetative treatment systems (VTS) that may perform equal to or better than our baseline system while maintaining a challenging standard for application of alternative technologies. To facilitate application of VTS, the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Iowa State University have initiated several pro-active efforts including field-based demonstration and evaluation of these technologies and development of performance models for estimating performance. They also enlisted USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to assist with the assembly of the current science and access to cost share resources. This paper will 1) summarize the process used for facilitating an alternative technologies application on CAFOs, 2) review the critical issues in applying new technologies from the perspective of EPA, industry, research community, and private sector; and 3) summarize lessons learned in this process. Significant obstacles exist for alternative technology applications on CAFOs. Stakeholders in livestock environmental issues will need to play pro-active roles if alternative technologies will be permitted under the CAFO regulations.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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