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AnInvestigationofDEPInspections

atFarmingOperations:
AContinuedLackofEnforcementof
ExistingLawsandRegulations

ConservationPennsylvania
KimberlyL.SnellZarcone,Esquire
2707YaleAvenue
CampHill,PA17011

ExecutiveSummary

ConservationPennsylvaniasinvestigationofinformationreportedtoEPAundertheCBRAP
grantclearlydemonstratesthatDEPinspectionsoffarmingoperationswerenotthoroughand
didnotleadtotheenforcementoflegalandregulatoryrequirementsrelatedtomanure
managementanderosionandsedimentation.

KeyFindings
45%oftheinspectionscompletedwereatCAFOs,whicharealreadyrequiredtobe
inspectedundertheNPDESprogram
Only52%oftheinspectionsweredoneatsmall,nonCAOfarms
DEPreported3administrativefilereviewsasinspections
Farmerswerepresentat71%oftheinspections,butdocumentsrelatedtonutrient
managementpracticeswerenotreviewed58%ofthetimeanddocumentsrelatedtoAg
E&Swerenotreviewed60%ofthetime
InspectorsrarelycontactedthelandownerregardingAgE&Sdocumentsifatenant
farmerwasunabletoprovidethoseplans
Therewasavastdifferencebetweenthecomplianceratedocumentedatfarming
operationsinDEPinspectionreports(60%compliance)andthatdeterminedby
ConservationPennsylvania(only13%compliance)
DEPisroutinelyoverlookingdocumentationviolations
ConservationPennsylvaniafoundthat57%ofthefarmshadadocumentationrelated
violationand25%offarmshadawaterqualityrelatedviolation
DEPisoverlookingrequirementsthatmanurestoragefacilitiesbestructurallysound,
watertight,andpreventpollutiondischarges
DEPismissinganopportunitytocollectneededinformationabouttheinstallationand
maintenancebestmanagementpracticesatfarmingoperations
Recommendations
DEPshouldfocusoninspectingnonCAOfarmingoperationsundertheCBRAPgrant
OnlythoroughbootsonthegroundinspectionsshouldbereportedbyDEPas
inspections
DEPshouldannounceinspectionswhichwillallowfarmerstomakethemselvesand
writtendocumentsavailabletoDEPinspectors
DEPshouldsamplewaterqualityupstreamanddownstreamofafarmingoperation
duringaninspectiontoscientificallyensurethatwaterqualityisnotbeingadversely
impacted
DEPshouldvigorouslyenforceallregulatoryrequirements,includingdocumentation
requirements,andutilizeallavailablecompliancetools
DEPshouldenforceallregulationsrelatedtopreservingthestructuralintegrityofa
manurestoragefacility
DEPshouldenforceallregulationsdevelopedtopreventthedischargeofmanureto
surfacewatersandgroundwateroftheCommonwealth
EPAshouldensurethatDEPinspectionsareconsistentandthorough

PennsylvaniasDepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection(DEP)participatesintheChesapeake
BayRegulatoryandAccountabilityProgram(CBRAP)withthefederalEnvironmental
ProtectionAgency(EPA).CBRAPisintendedtoaidthestatesandtheDistrictofColumbiain
implementingandexpandingtheirStatesregulatory,accountabilityandenforcementcapabilities,
insupportofreducingnitrogen,phosphorusandsedimentloadsdeliveredtotheBay. Under
1
thisprogram,DEPreceivesmillionsofdollarsingrantfundingtoachievethegoalsofthe
PennsylvaniaWatershedImplementationPlan(WIP)andrelatedtwoyearMilestones.

DEPacknowledgedwithintheWIPsthatthepracticesofsmallfarmingoperationshavebeen
oftenoverlookedandtheirpollutionimpacthasnotbeencompletelyrecognized.Inorderto
achievenutrientandsedimentreductionswithintheAgriculturalSector,DEPchosetofocus
muchofitsattentiontowardtheregulatorycomplianceofsmallfarmingoperationsincluding,but
notlimitedto,compliancewiththeManureManagementPlanningrequirements,Agricultural
ErosionandSedimentation(AgE&S)requirements,andAnimalHeavyUseAreas(AHUA)
requirements.DEPcorrectlyrecognizedthattheonlywaytoensurethatsmallerfarming
operationscameintocompliancewiththeseregulationsthathadexistedfordecadeswastoput
bootsontheground.

DEPcommittedtoafiveprongedoutreach,compliance,andenforcementeffortinitsAgricultural
WaterQualityInitiativeaspartofthePennsylvaniaChesapeakeWatershedImplementationPlan
(Phase1). OneprongofthisInitiativewasabasinwidecomponenttoachieveagricultural
2
compliancewithstateregulatoryrequirements. DEPcommittedtoachievingthisgoalby
3
addingfournewstaffpositionsthatwould:

provideregionalcomplianceandinspectionactionsforPennsylvanias
CAFO...andagricultureregulatoryprograms.Thesepositionswill
supportincreasedfieldpresenceforadditionalinspectionsofnonCAFO
agriculturaloperations.Thesepositionswouldalsosupportincreased
complianceactivitiesunderChapter102Erosion&SedimentControl
regulations,[and]Chapter91.36relatingtomanuremanagement....
4

WithinthePhaseIWIP,DEPcommittedtotakingastrongenforcementstanceatagricultural
operationsthatitinspected.DEPstatedthatinspectionstaffwillconsideranyandall
compliancetoolsavailableincludingNOVs,fieldorders,complianceorders,CO&As,and
requiringpermit.Thisapproach,toapplyanyandallcompliancetoolsavailable,isconsistent
1
JimEdward,ChesapeakeBayRegulatoryandAccountabilityProgramGrants,ChesapeakeBay
Program,(publishedonlineMarch23,2010)
<http://archive.chesapeakebay.net/pubs/calendar/45645_032310_Presentation_6_10619.pdf>,accessed9
April2014.
2
PennsylvaniaDepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,PennsylvaniaChesapeakeWatershed
ImplementationPlan(January11,2011),pp.92105.SeealsoPennsylvaniaDepartmentofEnvironmental
Protection,PennsylvaniaChesapeakeWatershedImplementationPlan(March20,2012),pp.2635.
3
PAPhaseIWIP,pp.97105.
4
PAPhaseIWIP,p.100.

withexistingcomplianceandenforcementprocedures. DEPstatedthattheseinspectors
5
wouldcomplete450agriculturalinspectionsannuallyandinitiate100complianceactionsper
year.
6

Inordertohelpimplementtheabovecommitments,EPAgrantedDEPwith$1,549,634overfive
years. DEPreportedthatitconducted233agriculturalinspections,whichledto116
7
complianceactions,fromJuly1,2012throughDecember21,2012. DEPnotedthatthis
8
included102NoticeofViolations,fourConsentOrdersAssessed,andsixConsentAssessment
ofCivilPenalties. DEPalsoreportedthattheireffortsresultedin$51,874infinesorpenalties.
9 10

WhilethesenumbersclearlyputDEPontrackformeetingthedeliverablesoftheCBRAPgrant
for2012,ConservationPennsylvaniawasinterestedinlearningiftheinspectionswerethorough,
leadtothecollectionofinformationaboutbestmanagementpracticesthatDEPsaiditwas
missing,andpromotedtheenforcementofregulatoryrequirementsrelatedtomanure
managementanderosionandsedimentation.ConservationPennsylvaniarequestedcopiesof
theinspectionreportsfortheSouthcentralRegionalOfficethathadbeenincludedinthe
reportingtoEPAundertheCBRAPgrantfortheperiodfromJuly1,2012throughDecember21,
2012.Inshort,thisisasubsetoftheinformationreportedtoEPAanddetailedabove.
ConservationPennsylvaniawasinterestedintheSouthcentralRegionalOfficebecausethis
regionincludesthelargestnumberofagriculturaloperationsandtheirstaffisfamiliarwith
completingthesetypesofinspectionsandenforcementactions.ConservationPennsylvania
alsoaskedforinformationthatwasatleastayearoldsothatanyenforcementactionswould
havelikelycometoaconclusion.DEPemployeesSteveTaglangandAaronWardwereboth
veryhelpfulinsecuringthedocumentsneededtocompletethisinvestigation.

DEPinitiallyindicatedthat81inspectionswerecompletedat67farms.DEPprovided
ConservationPennsylvaniawith70inspectionreportsoraccountsofinspectionsfor60ofthose
farmsandstatedthatitwasunabletofinddocumentationfortheother11inspectionsatthe
remainingsevenfarms.Forpurposesofthisreport,ConservationPennsylvaniaisonly
consideringthedatafromthe60farmsforwhichdatawasreported.

ConservationPennsylvaniawasstruckthatsomanyoftheinspectionscompletedbyDEPunder
theCBRAPgrantwereatconcentratedanimalfeedingoperations(CAFOs).Twentysevenof
the60inspections(45%)werecompletedatCAFOs,whicharepermittedundertheNational
5
PAPhaseIWIP,p.101.
6
PAPhaseIWIP,p.100.SeealsoPAPhaseIIWIP,pp.3132andPennsylvaniaDepartmentof
EnvironmentalProtection,January1,2012December31,2013PennsylvaniaProgrammaticTwoYear
Milestones(January9,2012),p.2.
7
PennsylvaniaDepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,ChesapeakeBayRegulatoryandAccountability
ProgramGrantJune1,2010June30,2016:RevisedSemiAnnualReport(July1,2012December31,2012),
pp.2328.
8
CBRAPGrant1:RevisedSemiAnnualReport(July1,2012December31,2012),p.25.
9
CBRAPGrant1:RevisedSemiAnnualReport(July1,2012December31,2012),p.25.
10
CBRAPGrant1:RevisedSemiAnnualReport(July1,2012December31,2012),p.25.

PollutantDischargeEliminationSystem(NPDES)andalreadyrequiredtobeinspected.While
itisimportanttomaintaincomplianceatallfarmingoperations,DEPhadconsistentlystatedthat
smallfarmingoperationsthatwereheretoforeuninspectedwouldbethefocusforcompliance
efforts.Thus,ConservationPennsylvaniawasshockedthatonlyslightlymorethanhalfofthe
inspections,31(52%),weredoneatsmall,nonconcentratedanimaloperation(nonCAO)
farms.Infact,thisnumbermayhavealsobeenartificiallyinflatedbecauseDEPconducteda
targetedwatershedassessmentintheSoftRunwatershedthatwasincludedintheinformation
reportedtoEPA.IfonedoesnotincludethefarmingoperationsfromMifflinCounty,thelocation
oftheSoftRunwatershed,thenawhopping68%oftheinspectionswerecompletedatCAFOs
andapaltry26%oftheinspectionswerecompletedatnonCAOs.ConservationPennsylvania
recommendsthatDEPfocusoninspectingnonCAOfarmingoperationsunderitsCBRAPgrant
deliverables.

Ofthe70inspectionscompletedatthe60farmingoperations,mostconsistedofbootsonthe
groundinspections.However,ConservationPennsylvaniawasconcernedthatDEPreported
threeinspectionsundertheCBRAPgrantdeliverablesthatweremerelyadministrativefile
reviewsbyDepartmentstaff.ClearlytheintentofEPAinfundinginspectionstaffwastogetas
manypeopleaspossibleoutinthefieldcommunicatingwiththefarmingcommunityabouttheir
legalandregulatoryrequirements.ItisdisingenuousforDEPstafftocountadministrativefield
reviewscompletedtoverifyinformationdiscussedatabootsonthegroundinspectionsas
additionalinspections.Whilethispracticedoesntseemtobethenorm,theseadministrative
inspectionscomprised4%oftheinspectionsreportedundertheCBRAPgrantandcould,over
thelongterm,accountforalargenumberofinspectionsthatarentactuallycompleted.
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPshouldnotreportadministrativefilereviews
asinspectionsundertheCBRAPgrantdeliverables.

ConservationPennsylvaniawasinterestedinevaluatinghowmanyofthefarminspectionswere
announcedandwhetherthishadanyimpacton:1)thefarmersparticipationintheinspection,
and2)theabilityofinspectorstoreviewdocumentscriticaltodeterminingcompliancewith
manuremanagementandAgE&Srequirements.ConservationPennsylvaniadeterminedthat
inspectionswereannouncedin34%ofthecasesthatwereevaluated. Evengiventhehigh
11
numberofunannouncedinspections,farmerswerepresentattheinspectionortalkedwiththe
inspector71%ofthetime.WhenCAFOs,whoseinspectionsarealwaysannounced,are
removedfromtheresults,farmersstillcommunicatedwiththeinspectorduringtheinspection
63%ofthetime.

WhileDEPinspectorswerestillabletogainaccesstofarmerswheninspectionswere
unannounced,theyclearlywerenotabletoadequatelyreviewdocumentsthatwouldhave
helpeddeterminewhetherthefarmerand/orlandownerwereincompliancewithmanure
managementandAgE&Srequirements.Documentsrelatedtonutrientmanagementpractices
11
Inspectionswereunannouncedin50%ofthecasesthatwereevaluated.ConservationPennsylvaniawas
unabletodeterminewhethertheinspectionwasannouncedornotin16%ofthecasesevaluated.

werenotreviewedat58%ofthefarmingoperations. Similarly,documentsrelatedtoAgE&S
12
werenotreviewedat60%ofthefarms. AgE&Sdocumentsarenotonlyrequiredforthe
13
farmer.Thelandowneralsohasaregulatoryrequirementtohaveandtoimplementsuch
planningdocumentsandthebestmanagementpracticesidentifiedwithintheplans.
14
ConservationPennsylvanianotedthatrarely,ifever,didtheinspectorcontactthelandowner
aboutAgE&Sdocumentsifatenantfarmerwasunabletoprovidethoseplans.Inoneinstance
whereananimaloperationwasrentinglandfortheconcentratedanimalfeedingoperationand
didnothavemanagementcontrolofanyassociatedfarmland,theinspectordidnotdemonstrate
thatanyeffortsweremadetocontactthelandownerandinvestigatenutrientmanagementorAg
E&Spractices. Inspectorscanonlygetafullpictureforwhatishappeningatthefarming
15
operationwhentheyareincommunicationwiththefarmownerandoperator.Forthisreason,
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsannouncinginspectionstoallowfarmerstomake
themselves,andparticularlywrittendocumentation,moreavailabletoDEPinspectors.True
compliancecanonlybedeterminedwheninspectorsaregivenaccesstothefarm,thefarmer,
requiredplanningdocuments,andrequiredrecordkeepingdocuments.

Themostimportant,andinteresting,informationfromtheinspectionreportswaswhatDEP
determinedandheldtobeaviolationandwhatitdidnt.DEPfoundviolationsat40%ofthe
farmsinspected.Onlyoneinspectionreportnotedaviolationresultinginamonetarypenalty.
Somemaythinkthatthesefindingaregreat,andasignthatsmallfarmingoperationsreallyare
incompliancewithmanuremanagementandAgE&Srequirements.Unfortunately,thatisnot
thecase.ConservationPennsylvaniasreviewoftheinspectionreportsrevealsviolationsata
staggering72%ofthefarms.Additionally,therewasinsufficientinformationtodetermine
violationsatanother15%offarms.Thismeansthat,inreality,only13%ofthefarmswerein
compliance,notthe60%foundtobewithoutviolationbyDEP.

ConservationPennsylvaniafoundthat57%ofthefarmshadaviolationrelatedtodocumentation
and25%ofthefarmshadawaterqualityviolation.Thefiguresrelatedtodocumentationmay,in
fact,bemuchhigherasConservationPennsylvaniawasunabletodeterminecompliancewith
documentationrequirementsat25%ofthefarmsfromtheinspectionreports.

ThenextlogicalquestionsbecomewhyisDEPoverlookingsomanyviolationsandforwhich
violationsisDEPfailingtoactandinitiatecomplianceactions.DEPhasstatedatanumberof
publicmeetingsthattheAgencyisfocusingonwaterqualityviolationsandnotprosecuting
documentationviolationsunlesstheyarecoupledwithwaterqualityviolations. Interestingly,
16
12
Nutrientmanagementplanningdocumentswerereviewedat32%ofthefarms.ConservationPennsylvania
wasunabletodeterminewhethernutrientmanagementdocumentswerereviewedat10%ofthefarms.
13
AgE&Sdocumentswerereviewedat27%ofthefarms.ConservationPennsylvaniawasunableto
determinewhetherAgE&Sdocumentswerereviewedat13%ofthefarms.
14
25Pa.Code102.4(a)(3).
15
DepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,NPDESComplianceInspectionReport,HeckenluberPoultry
Farm(September4,2012),p.3.
16
SeeAndreaBlosser,TargetedAgriculturalCompliancePilotProject,PennsylvaniaDepartmentof
EnvironmentalProtection,(publishedonlineFebruary20,2013)

noneoftheinspectionreportsindicatedthatwatersampleswerecollectedatfarmsduring
inspections.Thus,DEPsconclusionsaboutwaterqualityviolations,orthelackthereof,resulted
fromobservationsofdirectmanureorsilagedischarges.IfDEPdidnotnotseeanactive
discharge,theAgencymadeablanketassumptionthatwaterqualitywasnotbeingadversely
impactedbythefarmingoperationanddidnotpursueviolationsassociatedwithnothaving
planningdocumentsorotherrequireddocuments,suchasselfinspectionreports.Without
collectingwatersamples,DEPcannotaffirmativelystatethatwaterqualityisnotbeingimpacted.
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPshould,asamatterofpractice,sample
waterqualityupstreamanddownstreamofafarmingoperationduringaninspectionto
scientificallyensurethatwaterqualityisnotbeingadverselyimpacted.

ConservationPennsylvaniarecognizesthatabatingwaterqualityviolationsshouldbethevery
firstpriorityofDEP.However,itisinappropriateforDEPtocompletelyoverlookitsown
documentationrequirements.ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPvigorously
enforceallregulatoryrequirementsandutilizeallcompliancetoolsavailable.DEPcreatedthe
variousplanninganddocumentationrequirementsbecauseitbelievedthattheywouldleadto
improvementsinwaterquality.Farmingoperationsthatutilizemanurearerequiredtoplanfor
thelandapplicationofthatmanurebydraftingwrittenmanuremanagementornutrient
managementplans. ForCAFOs,farmersmustalsomaintainandsometimessubmittoDEP
17
recordsrelatedtothelandapplicationofmanureandprocesswastewaters. Byignoringthese
18
planninganddocumentationrequirements,theDepartmentisnotonlyriskingadverseimpacts
forthesurfaceandgroundwatersoftheCommonwealthbutalsoriskinganaccumulationof
certainnutrientswithinthesoilsthatcanleadtodecreasedcropyieldsforthefarmers.If
nutrientsaccumulatetoasignificantextentinthesoils,farmersareprohibitedfromlandapplying
manureandhavetoseekalternatemeansfordisposingoftheiranimalwaste.

WhileDEPflagrantlyignoredtheplanningandrecordkeepingrequirementsofitsownregulations
generally,onefarmrequiresadditionaldiscussiontomakealargerpoint.DEPcompletedan
inspectionwherethereportnotedthatthefarmerdidnothavetherequiredAgE&Splan,buthe
isonawaitinglistatMCCDtoreceiveassistanceinobtainingaconservationplan.
19
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPrequirefarmoperators,andinsomecases
landowners,todoeverythingpossibletosecureneededplanningdocumentsinanexpedited
fashion.Theseplanningdocumentshavebeenrequiredoffarmingoperationsfordecades.
MerelytakinganumberinlineatthelocalNaturalResourcesConservationService(NRCS)
officeorconservationdistricttohaveplanningdocumentsdraftedisnotenough.Thebacklogof
plansthatneeddraftedbygovernmentofficialshasbeenestimatedatsomeofficestoequateto
awaitofseveralyears.Pennsylvaniahasanumberofprivateconsultingcompaniesthatare
<http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/subject/advcoun/ag/2013/Feb2013/KishAABPresentation22013.pdf>,
accessed17April2014.
17
25Pa.Code91.36(b).
18
25Pa.Code92.5a(f)(5).
19
DepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,NPDESComplianceInspectionReport,UmpquaFeather
Merchants,Inc./SevenMountainsFarms,LLC(September17,2012),pp.23.

readyandwillingtodraftnutrientmanagementandAgE&Splansforfarmingoperations.
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPshouldrequirefarmingoperationsthatdonot
haveproperplanningdocumentstosecuretheminanexpeditedmanner,utilizingprivate
plannersifnecessary.DEPseffortsinthetargetedwatershedsshowsthatprivateplannersare
abletocompletetherequirednutrientmanagementandAgE&Splansforanumberoffacilities
inashorttimeframe.Thisexpectationofcompliancewithplanningrequirementsshouldbethe
normanduniversallyimplementedthroughoutPennsylvania.

ConservationPennsylvaniawasparticularlystruckbyanotherinspectioninwhichDEPdidnot
identifyaviolationforfailuretomaintainquarterlyselfinspectionreportsandseemedtocondone
illegalactivityforfalsifyingrecords.Thequarterlyselfinspectionreportsrecordtheresultsof
weeklyinspectionsofmanurestoragefacilities,andnotethequantityofmanureexportedorland
applied.Therecordsanddocumentssectionoftheinspectionreportcontainsanotebythe
inspectorthatthepermitteewasunawarethat,asageneralpermittee,quarterlyselfinspection
reports[were]tobecompleted. Theinspectionreportstatesthatthe[p]ermitteeintendsto
20
completequarterlyselfinspectionreportsbacktoSeptember1,2011. Thus,itappearsthat
21
thefarmerintendstocompleteapproximatelytenmonthsofinspectionreportsafterthefactand
withoutactualinformationaboutdatesofinspections,theleveloffreeboard,andthequantityof
manuretransportedorlandapplied.ThiswouldbeindirectviolationoftheNPDESGeneral
PermitPartB,II,Bwhichstates,[a]nypersonwho...knowinglymakesfalsestatements,
representations,orcertificationinanyrecordorotherdocumentsubmittedorrequiredtobe
maintainedunderthispermit(includingmonitoringreportsorreportsofcomplianceor
noncompliance)issubjecttoafineand/orimprisonmentassetforthin18P.S.4904,40CFR.
122.41(j)(5)and(k)(2)and40CFRpart19.Similarly,inspectionreportsindicatethefailureof
atleastfiveotherfarmstocompleteandmaintainselfinspectiondocuments.Theinspection
reportsalsonotedthattwofarmingoperationsfailedtosubmitannualreportstoDEPasrequired
bytheirNPDESpermits.DEPdidnotissueviolationsforanyofthesefailurestomaintain
requiredrecordsordocuments.ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPenforceall
recordsanddocumentationrequirements,particularlyforpermittedfacilities,andassessfines
andpenaltiesforfalsificationofdocumentation.

WhileDEPisclearlyoverlookingdocumentationviolations,particularlyoutsidethewatershed
whichwasinvolvedinthetargetedenforcementproject,theDepartmentisalsooverlookinga
numberofothertypesofviolations.ManyoftheissuesoverlookedbyDEPinspectorsinvolved
manurestoragefacilities.Regulationsrequiremanurestoragefacilitiestobestructurallysound,
watertight,andpreventpollutiondischarges. Themostegregiousviolationofthisstandard
22
wasatafarmingoperationwheretheinspectionreportnotedthatseveraltreesandothertypes
20
DepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,NPDESComplianceInspectionReport,GobblersKnobFarm
(July24,2012),p.4.
21
GobblersKnobFarmInspectionReport,p.1.
22
25Pa.Code91.36(a).

ofvegetationaregrowinginthevicinityoftheinteriorslopeofthelagoon. Theinspection
23
reportalsonotedthatthestructuralearthenwallsofthelagoonhaddamagefromgroundhogs
diggingholes. DEPdidnotissueaviolationforthiscompromisedlagoon,butmerelystatedin
24
theinspectionreportthat[v]egetationgrowingontheinteriorandexteriorslopesoftheearthen
lagoonshouldbemaintainedtoaheightnogreaterthan12inches.Allgroundhogholesshould
berepairedaroundtheperimeterof[the]lagoon. Similarviolationswerefoundattwoother
25
farmingoperationandDEPdidnottakecomplianceactionsforthoseinfractionseither.
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPenforceallregulationsrelatedtopreserving
thestructuralintegrityofmanurestoragefacilities.

AnothercommonlyoverlookedviolationbyDEPinspectorswasthefailuretohaveormaintain
measuringgaugesatmanurestoragefacilities.Measuringgaugesarerequiredunderthe
technicalstandardsformanurestoragefacilitiesinthePennsylvaniaTechnicalGuidepublished
byNRCS,andassucharerequiredunderregulationsrelatedtoanimalmanurestorage
facilities. Inspectionreportsnotedatleastfivefarmingoperationsthatdidnothavemeasuring
26
gaugesatthemanurestoragefacilities,puttingthematriskofovertoppingiftheproperfreeboard
levelswerenotmaintained.DEPdidnottakecomplianceactionsforanyoftheseinfractions.
Giventheincreasednumberofsevereweathereventsoverthepastfewyears,maintaining
properfreeboardatmanurestoragefacilitieshasbecomeincreasinglyimportanttoavoiding
overtoppingandpollutionofsurfacewatersandgroundwatersoftheCommonwealth.
ConservationPennsylvaniarecommendsthatDEPenforceallregulationsdevelopedtoprevent
thedischargeofmanuretosurfacewatersandgroundwateroftheCommonwealth.

ConservationPennsylvaniasinvestigationofinformationreportedtoEPAundertheCBRAP
grantclearlydemonstratesthatDEPinspectionsoffarmingoperationswerenotthoroughand
didnotleadtotheenforcementofregulatoryrequirementsrelatedtomanuremanagementand
erosionandsedimentation.Theinspectionswerealsoinconsistent,particularlybetweenMifflin
CountyintheSoftRunWatershedandtheremainderoftheSouthcentralRegion.Conservation
PennsylvaniaconcludesthatDEPinspectorsmustensurethatfarmersandlandownersare
availableduringinspectionssothataproperdiscussionaboutfarmrequirementscanbehad.
ThismayrequireDEPnotifyingfarmersthataninspectionisforthcoming,maybeaweekin
advanceoftheinspection.Thiswouldnotgivefarmerssufficienttimetosecureplanning
documentsthattheydonthave,butwouldallowthemtolocateandcollectplanningdocuments
andreportsthataremaintainedatthefarmoffice.WhenDEPinspectorsmeetwithfarm
operators,theymustimpartuponthemtheimportancethatplanningdocumentscanplayinnot
onlypreventingenvironmentalpollution,butalsoinachievingoptimalyieldsandmanaging
resourceconstraints.However,DEPinspectorsmustultimatelyenforceexistingregulations,
23
DepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,NPDESComplianceInspectionReport,BlueBerryHillFarm
(September30,2012),p.4.
24
BlueBerryHillFarmInspectionReport,p.3.
25
BlueBerryHillFarmInspectionReport,p.1.
26
25Pa.Code91.36(a).

includingplanningrequirements,andinitiatecomplianceactionsinallsituationswheremanure
managementandAgE&Srequirementsarenotbeingfollowed.

AthirdpurposeofConservationPennsylvaniasinvestigationwastodetermineifinspections
wereleadingtothecollectionofmissinginformationaboutbestmanagementpracticesat
farmingoperations.Itisobviousthatinformationaboutbestmanagementpracticesisnotbeing
collectedongeneralinspectionsreportsduringinspectionsofnonNPDESfarmingoperations.
Thegeneralinspectionreportsdonotincludeinformationaboutastandardsetofmanagement
practices,suchasmanurestoragefacilities,conservationtillage,ortheuseofcovercrops.
Additionally,thereportsdonotanswerquestionsaboutstandardplanningrequirementsfor
manuremanagementandAgE&S.Thesereportsreliedupontheinspectortowriteanarrative,
whichgenerallyonlyincludedinformationaboutwhethertheinspectionwasannouncedornot,
whethertheinspectorspokewiththefarmerornot,andwhethertherewereanyplanningneeds
atthefarmingoperation.Inshort,DEPismissingahugeopportunitytocollectinformationabout
smallerfarmingoperationsbecauseofthevastdifferencesbetweeninspectionreportsandthe
datacollectedonNPDESandnonNPDESinspections.Synergistically,DEPismissingthe
opportunitytobuildrapportandprovideoutreachtotheregulatedcommunityaboutbest
managementpractices.

ConservationPennsylvaniaultimatelyrecommendsthatEPAengageDEPinaconversation
abouthowinspectionsatfarmingoperationscanbebetterutilizedtoachievemultiplegoals.Itis
clearthatDEPisgoingthroughmotionstocompleteinspectionsoffarmingoperations,butthat
theseinspectionsmaynotberesultingincompliancewithcommitmentsmadeinthe
PennsylvaniaWIPs,twoyearmilestones,orregulatoryrequirements.DEPshouldcommitto
improvingitsinspectionprotocolsimmediatelyortheopportunitywillpassforachieving
ChesapeakeBayimprovementgoals.EPA,astheholderofthepursestrings,hasthepowerto
makesurethattheseinspectionimprovementshappenparticularlyasfutureCBRAPgrantsare
negotiatedbetweenEPAandDEP.