PHILADELPHIA – Four unnamed poultry growers in West Virginia were told by the US Environmental Protection Agency to stop discharging pollutants from farms into waterways and to obtain the necessary permits required by the Clean Water Act.

Some farmers in the Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia could benefit from more information about the federal requirements to reduce polluted storm water runoff, the agency said. As a result, EPA along with national and state poultry industry associations are discussing creating a program to educate growers on water quality and compliance issues.

“Based on our experience, educating farmers on the requirements of the Clean Water Act goes a long way in helping them to protect and improve local water quality and increase compliance,” said Shawn Garvin, EPA regional administrator. “We’ve had good results from working closely with integrators and trade associations, making sure farmers know how they can best reduce runoff and meet their regulatory responsibilities.”

Orders were issued by EPA after inspections in June of five chicken and turkey operations in West Virginia. Four of the five operations were concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as defined by the Clean Water Act and that they had neither applied for nor obtained the required discharge permits, the inspections uncovered. The fifth grower had already applied for the permit.

Man-made ditches draining storm water away from the poultry houses and sheds containing manure and compost allowed pollutants to discharge to waterways during rain events at four of the facilities inspected, EPA charged.