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12.15.2016 Legal News

EPA Publishes Revised Pesticide Application General Permit

EPA has promulgated a final rule revising the Pesticide General Permit (the “2016 PGP”).  The 2016 PGP is applicable only in four states (Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico) and at federal facilities, but the remaining States will have to revise their current PGP to be no less stringent than the 2016 PGP when their current PGP expires.  The 2016 PGP was effective October 31, 2016.

The 2016 PGP authorizes point source discharges of runoff from pesticide applications to waters of the United States (WOTUS) as long as certain monitoring and recordkeeping requirements are met.  PGP coverage applies to pesticide operators and decision-makers.  Activities not eligible for the 2016 PGP may require an individual NPDES permit.  EPA’s list of covered operations include farmers and forestry (NAICS III, 113), pesticide manufacturers and consultants (NAICS 325), and utilities (NAICS 221).

The 2016 PGP applies to “pesticide operations,” which is defined as pesticide applicators and the decision-maker, who control the application of pesticides resulting in a discharge to WOTUS.  All applications are subject to work practice restrictions including the duty to minimize pesticide discharges by limiting the amount and frequency of pesticide application.  Any “adverse incidents” must be monitored and reported.  Pest management options may be required if WOTUS are impaired or otherwise protected or contain resources of concern. The 2016 PGP is generally the same as the prior PGP, and the following provisions are revised in the new permit:

  • Electronic reporting is now required (Part 7.8);
  • Additional species are included in the list of Resources of Concern which must not be adversely affected by pesticide runoff;
  • The filing date for Notices of Intent is extended to January 2, 2017; and
  • Part 9.0 has been updated to incorporate restrictions in state water quality certifications.

As noted, the 2016 PGP is not yet applicable in states with delegated programs.  However, those states must incorporate the provisions of the 2016 PCP into their pesticide application general permit when their existing permit expires.

81 Fed. Reg. 75816 (Nov. 1, 2016).