State of Iowa and EPA Reach Agreement on Partnership Approach and NPDES Program Clarifications
Posted: 09/11/2013

DES MOINES – A work plan agreement on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program, a federal program under the Clean Water Act, has been reached by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The agreement, signed today, by Iowa Department of Natural Resources and EPA Region 7, establishes a partnership approach for working with large and medium scale livestock operations in Iowa to share best practices, clarify responsibilities, and further demonstrate the shared commitment from all stakeholders to be good stewards of the land.  This work plan agreement will help to clarify misunderstandings about the NPDES program implementation and underscore a shared interest in environmental preservation and protection.

“Our state is blessed with many natural resources and we want to continue our efforts to protect our land and water for future generations.” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp, “As we gathered suggestions for this work plan, we visited with many Iowans affected by the NPDES program, including farmers, landowners, municipalities, the EPA and other stakeholders to discuss how we can work together to achieve a shared goal.  This work plan agreement clarifies program implementation and is a reflection of Iowans working together on a commonsense solution that will encourage best practices and promote open communication between affected Iowans and the DNR.”      

“This plan rejects a one-size-fits-all approach for every farm in Iowa.  Instead, the state chose a partnership approach that enables agricultural producers to leverage best practices proactively,” said Bruce Trautman, Deputy Director of the DNR.

In addition to the work plan agreement, DNR also worked with the EPA and affected stakeholders to create a variety of standard operating procedure documents, which will promote best practices, embrace the partnership approach and provide for further regulatory certainty for Iowa farmers and landowners. 

“We also believe this partnership approach will improve stakeholder coordination and allow us to better focus resources,” Gipp added.

Gipp said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s visit to Iowa during the State Fair helped the process of completing a final work plan.

“I think Administrator McCarthy’s message of cooperation rather than confrontation was well received here in Iowa,” said Gipp.

This work plan is just another demonstration of the State of Iowa’s commitment to water quality.  Earlier this summer Governor Branstad signed into law a $700,000 appropriation to hire seven additional environmental specialists and $22.4 million appropriated to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for water quality initiatives, including the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  In addition, DNR received an additional $8.6 million for lake restoration.

A copy of the final work plan agreement can be found at www.epa.gov/region7/water