Water Quality Permit Program
Pesticide Applications into Surface Waters
Update on the Irrigation System General Permit (2000-J) and Pesticide General Permit (2300-A) as of August 27, 2012
General Permit for Pesticide Use in Irrigation Systems (2000-J)
This is your opportunity to comment on the proposed new 2000-J National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit for pesticide use in irrigation systems.
The proposed 2000-J general permit regulates the use of pesticides for weed and algae control within irrigation system boundaries. Weed and algae control is the application, by any means, of contact or systemic herbicides to control vegetation and algae in the water and within 3 feet of water. Irrigation systems that may need to register for this permit include:
The proposed 2000-J general permit does not apply to pesticide applications to dry land. NPDES permits do not apply to agricultural stormwater discharges and irrigation return flow from irrigated agriculture because these are excluded from permitting under the Clean Water Act.
The proposed 2000-J general permit will be available after the 2012 pesticide application season.
Which Permit Applies Until DEQ issues the 2000-J General Permit?
Irrigation districts that currently have individual permits can continue to operate under those permits for acrolein-, copper- and xylene-based aquatic pesticide use and comply with the conditions of the new 2300-A pesticide general permit for other pesticide use in, over, or within three feet of water. Irrigation systems that do not have an individual permit also need to comply with the conditions of the 2300-A pesticide general permit until DEQ issues a final 2000-J general permit. Irritation systems are required to register for 2300-A pesticide general permit coverage if pesticide applications in, over, or within three feet of water exceed a total treatment area of 20 acres of surface area or 20 linear miles in a calendar year. Repeated pesticide applications to the same treatment area are not counted.
New application fees for the 2000-J general permit will be waived for irrigation systems registered under the 2300-A pesticide general permit or irrigation systems with an individual NPDES permit.
Pesticide General Permit (2300-A)
The pesticide general permit is effective Oct. 31, 2011. The pesticide general permit is a NPDES general water quality permit for certain pesticide applications that result in a discharge in, over or near surface water. DEQ believes the permits should result in long-range, beneficial impact on water quality in Oregon.
This permit affects operators who decide to apply pesticides or have day-to-day control over pesticide application. These operators include weed control districts, vector control districts, golf courses, lake and marina managers, large landholdings, public utilities, and federal, state and municipal agencies whose pesticides applications reach water.
Effective Oct. 31, 2011, permit coverage is available for the following pesticide applications:
While a wide range of operators are covered under the permit and need to follow its regulations, registration, fees, and reports to DEQ will only be required from government agencies, some districts and large-scale pesticide applications identified in Table 1.
To help operators complete the application for registration and satisfy the permit recordkeeping, notification and reporting requirements, DEQ has mapping tools and GIS layers available.
Use the geographic/facility search on the Facility Profiler to identify water bodies and water suppliers. For information on how to use Facility Profiler to identify water suppliers of source water, see the instructions.
Oregon Water Resources Department has Interactive Water Right Maps to identify points of diversion for domestic water users with water rights permits.
A list of water quality limited 303(d) listed water bodies can identified by using DEQ’s Water Quality Assessment Database.
Background on Water Quality Permits for Pesticide Use
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule in Nov. 2006 that clarified two specific circumstances in which a Clean Water Act permit is not required before pesticides are applied. The two situations are when:
In effect the rule meant that pesticides legally registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for application to or near aquatic environments, and legally applied to control pests at those sites, were not subject to NPDES permit requirements. The rule became effective Jan. 26, 2007. Challenges to the rule were filed in 11 circuit courts around the country. The challenges were consolidated for hearing in the Sixth Circuit Court. On Jan. 7, 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that NPDES permits are required for:
When the applications are made in or over or near waters of the U.S. The Court ruling affects DEQ because DEQ is authorized by EPA to issue NPDES permits and conduct the compliance and monitoring for these permits.
The Sixth Circuit Court gave EPA two years to develop a general permit so that by Apr. 9, 2011, the regulated community was required to be covered under the pesticide general permit. EPA requested and received an extension on the court-ordered date. NPDES permits are required by Oct. 31, 2011. EPA issued the permit on Oct. 31, 2011.
EPA’s PGP covers discharges in areas where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, which include six states (Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Oklahoma), Washington, D.C., all U.S. territories except the Virgin Islands, most Indian Country lands, and federal facilities in four additional states (Colorado, Delaware, Vermont, and Washington).