The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Oklahoma’s request for issuing agriculture-based Clean Water Act discharge permits to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF). Oklahoma will take over responsibility to implement the Agriculture Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AgPDES) program covering discharges associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, the application of biological or chemical pesticides, discharges from forestry activities, and discharges of storm water from agricultural activities.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program under which the EPA may issue permits for the point source discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States. The Act requires the EPA to authorize a state to administer an equivalent state program upon the Governor’s request, provided the state has the appropriate legal authority and a program sufficient to meet the Act’s requirements.
The Oklahoma legislature first proposed the delegation of authority from EPA to ODAFF in 1994. On August 16, 2012, the Governor of Oklahoma requested NPDES permit program approval and submitted a Statement of Legal Authority, copies of applicable state statutes and regulations, and a Memorandum of Understanding to be approved by the EPA Region 6 Regional Administrator and the Commissioner of Agriculture for the ODAFF.