USPOULTRY: Why EPA and the States Inspect Farms video

why EPA and the states inspect farms

because clean water is a priority for

everyone we all have a role to play in

making sure we protect it for you the

farmer that means managing your

operation in a way that recognizes the

significance your actions can have on

water quality for EPA and States it

means they must track water quality

analyze and identify the potential

causes of poor water quality and monitor

compliance with regulations designed to

protect water quality the overall

objective of this video is to explain

what you should expect during an epa or

state inspection of your farm this video

will help you better understand the

roles we all play in running

well-managed farms provide insights into

what EPA and state inspectors look for

when analyzing and addressing issues

related to local water quality and

provide information on assistance

available to producers to address water

quality issues

the EPA's and the state's roles in

protecting water quality mean they may

need to inspect your poultry operation

to make sure you are managing your

operation in a way that protects nearby

rivers lakes and streams including the

public health of those who use those

water bodies for drinking water or

recreation inspections help EPA and

States collect information to evaluate

whether a facility is complying with an

existing NPDES or state permit or is in

need of an NPDES permit to comply with

the Clean Water Act inspections may also

occur in response to a citizen complaint


section 308 of the Clean Water Act

provides EPA with the authority to enter

any premises in which an effluent source

is located under the Clean Water Act a

concentrated animal feeding operation or

CAFO is defined as a point source of

pollution the Clean Water Act provides

broad authority to allow EPA to inspect

operations where discharges from point

sources are located before the

inspection EPA and the states may often

call you the farm owner prior to an

inspection to provide advance notice to

confirm a date and time for the

inspection and to allow time for you to

arrange for the correct personnel to be

present during the inspection if

possible it is best that you accompany

the inspector during the visit you are

encouraged to go with the inspector take

notes and ask questions individuals that

are beneficial to invite to join you on

the inspection may include the

operations manager nutrient management

advisor and integrator representative

while planned inspections allow you time

to prepare EPA and the states also may

conduct unannounced inspections review


if you are notified of an inspection

prior to the actual inspection date it

is best to organize your records prior

to EPA's visit to be prepared for an

unannounced inspection it is best to

keep your files up-to-date at all times

the inspector may ask to see records

pertaining to farm operations for

instance the amount of litter removed

from the poultry houses between Fox and

the amount of litter that was

transferred off-site or land applied

during an inspection the producer should

be ready to share nutrient management

planning information such as soil tests

nutrient applications or a nutrient

management plan if you have an NPDES or

state permit the inspector likely will

ask to see any other specific records

required under your permit such as your

weekly self inspection logs and your

annual reports initial interview upon

arrival at the facility an EPA inspector

or inspectors should present inspector

credentials if an inspector does not

present these credentials you should ask

to see them if you have any doubt at all

about the legitimacy of the inspector

you may ask for the phone number of the

inspectors supervisor so you can call

and verify the information and confirm

the visit is authorized before beginning

any inspection you can ask the inspector

why the inspection is occurring is the

inspection occurring on the basis of a

complaint such as a strong odor to

investigate a potential environmental

problem or as a routine inspection to

ensure that your farm is complying with

regulations you have the right to deny

the inspector entry onto the farm if you

feel this is necessary however EPA or

the state has the option of obtaining a

search warrant and returning to the

facility to conduct the inspection the

inspector will discuss the purpose of

the inspection where the inspector plans

to go on your property and whether there

will be a need to review records or

collect samples the inspector may also

ask basic questions about your farm such

as how many birds are raised on the farm

how each flock is raised how litter is

handled between

flocks and how litter is stored good

communication during the initial

interview and throughout the inspection

can help the inspector better understand

your operation and can help you better

understand regulatory requirements


EPA has their own national biosecurity

procedures which they will follow

however you may request that they follow

additional steps that are implemented on

your farm biosecurity procedures may

include wearing personal protective

equipment such as boot covers and

coveralls prior to the inspection EPA

will reach out to USDA Animal and Plant

Health Inspection Service a ffice or the

state veterinarian to identify any

high-risk areas with existing emergency

animal disease events where inspections

may need to be delayed during the

inspection the inspector will likely

conduct a visual inspection of your farm

during the visual inspection the

inspector will ask questions about the

area's being visited and will take notes

and photographs to document what was

observed the goal of the visual

inspection is to gather information to

determine if your facility is complying

with your NPDES or state permit

requirements such as properly operating

and maintaining your litter storage

facilities if you do not have a permit

the goal of the visual inspection may be

to help determine if your facility is

discharging pollutants to US waters in

violation of the Clean Water Act and is

therefore in need of an NPDES permit the

inspector may view the poultry houses

the litter storage facilities feed

storage areas and the mortality storage

and disposal areas such as composting

bins the inspector may also view the

land application areas where litter is

land applied the inspector will usually

take pictures during the visual

inspection to document what was observed

it is wise to also take identical

pictures as documentation and pictures

of the surrounding subjects to provide

context sampling

while on your farm the inspector will

often take litter samples soil samples

or water samples from nearby streams the

inspector should explain the reasons for

taking the samples such as identifying

the presence of pollutants like

nutrients or bacteria be sure to ask for

an take note of what lab will be

analyzing the samples it is your right

and in your best interest to ask EPA to

split the samples and give half of them

to you so that you can have them

analyzed at your own cost and compare

the results to EPA's analyses exit


at the completion of the inspection the

inspector should conduct an exit

interview with you if the inspection is

drawing to an end and you feel as if

there will be no exit interview request

one during this exit interview the

inspector may identify issues or

concerns that were observed during the

inspection at this time you should ask

any questions that you may have about

regulations and the inspection if the

inspector has not already given you

their contact information you should ask

for it at this time and keep it for your

records the information provided to you

by the inspector at the exit interview

will be preliminary the inspectors focus

is to gather information not to make the

determination of compliance or

non-compliance at the time of the

inspection to ensure accuracy and

consistency the compliance determination

will be made later at the office at the

exit interview the inspector may also

ask you to mail copies of your nutrient

management plan or records if the

inspector needs to review them further

after the inspection

immediately after the inspection you

should complete a written set of notes

these notes should include a detailed

account of the inspection including the

name and title of the inspector what

initiated the inspection where the

inspector went on the farm what pictures

and samples were taken and any other

distinguishing parts of the inspection

also remember to promptly send to the

lab any split samples that you requested

from the inspector after the inspection

the inspectors next steps vary among EPA

and the states after the inspection and

determinations of compliance are made

EPA or the state may send you a copy of

the inspection report for your records

the inspection report is the factual

record of what the inspector observed

and was told during the inspection after

the inspection once EPA or the state has

made a compliance determination and

identified any violations EPA will

contact you again if no violations were

found EPA or the state may informally

notify you that no follow up actions

will be necessary for minor violations

that can be quickly addressed EPA or the

state may send you a warning letter or a

Notice of Violation Nov this letter will

explain the violation and instruct you

to correct the violation and achieve

compliance EPA or the state may conduct

a follow-up inspection to confirm that

the violations have been addressed

alternatively you may be asked to

provide documentation such as

photographs to show that the violations

have been corrected for repeat

violations or violations that are more

serious or may take longer to fix EPA or

the state may issue an administrative

order or may meet with you to negotiate

and jointly sign a consent order or

consent agreement this order or

agreement will require you to take

certain actions to fix the violations

and will set a schedule or deadline when

those actions must be completed EPA or

the state may also issue a penalty order

that requires you to pay a fine for the

violations serious violations or

situations in which a facility

repeatedly fails to correct

violations may result in EPA or the

state pursuing a civil judicial action

in court these actions may impose a

court-ordered schedule requiring you to

take the necessary actions to achieve

compliance and to pay a civil penalty if

the inspection identifies areas of

concern or a violation it is important

for you to address the issue as soon as

possible assistance addressing the issue

may be available from a number of

sources including the Natural Resource

Conservation Service a local County

Extension agent the land-grant

University for your state or the State

Department of Agriculture

although the prospect of being inspected

can be intimidating the process can

inform and assist farmers with

protecting and enhancing the core

element that insures the livelihood of

their vocation productive land and clean

water it also helps with meeting a

shared interest of having viable farms

that can meet the demand for the

production of more food to meet a

growing population hi I'm Kelley shank

I'm with the Environmental Protection

Agency and a favorite part about my job

is coming to the farm and talking with

the growers and the family and learning

about their operation and also just what

their vision is for their family farm we

know when we come on to a farm that were

not just coming to a business we're

coming to their home and it's a

wonderful opportunity to talk about both

the successes and the challenges of

growing food for the community and

having clean rivers and streams for all

of us to enjoy we think that having

these interactions and talking with one

another really helps us to understand

the connection between agriculture and

water quality so that we can come up

with winning solutions on how to have

profitable thriving AG and also clean

rivers and streams for the long haul

I know we can do that together this

message was brought to you by the US

poultry and egg Association funding for

this video was provided by the

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