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  • Jennifer Heywood

NDEQ’s New Pesticide General Permit

This is a reminder that a new general permit for pesticides became effective November 1, 2011, providing coverage for specific types of applications of pesticides to, over or near waters of the state. The new pesticide general permit provides additional protection in some specific circumstances where pesticides are applied on or near surface waters. The goal of this permit is to protect water quality under specific conditions where surface waters could be affected. Until recently, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act instructions on product labels had been the method of regulating the application of pesticides. However, federal court rulings led EPA to establish requirements for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in addition to the labeling requirements, under specific circumstances.

To comply with these new federal requirements, NDEQ developed the NPDES pesticides general permit. The new permit rules can apply to a variety of applications by those who are responsible for the management of surface water bodies. Entities that are potentially affected include: Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts, weed management districts, irrigation districts and canal operators, city governments, lake associations, individuals, or any other entity responsible for managing the surface water body’s assigned beneficial uses. In most situations, those affected by the new general permit would need only follow the rules specified in the general permit and maintain records of their applications. However, under specific circumstances that involve application of pesticides at or near waters of the state, the applicator would need to submit a Notice of Intent to NDEQ that provides details of the proposed application. This requirement applies to those who intend to apply pesticides to, over or near Class III waters, which include: State resource waters as defined in Nebraska’s surface water regulations; Waters listed as impaired on the current Nebraska Clean Water Act 303(d) list for any ingredients in the pesticide, or residuals from the application; Waters where Threatened and Endangered Species or critical habitats are present; Flowing or discharging waters that are within 250 feet of a direct surface water connection to the three types of surface waters listed above; and Waters within 250 feet of a surface water intake for public drinking water.

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