[author: Mary Ellen Ternes]
For decades, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act has provided regulation for the application of pesticides. However, in 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals required the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a separate general permit to specifically address the application of aquatic pesticides as a result of its decision in National Cotton Council, et al., v. EPA. The EPA subsequently developed its pesticide general permit pursuant to the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which regulates pesticide application on or near waters of the United States; however, its effective date was significantly delayed.
After two and a half years of extensions and continued attempts at legislative relief, this new general permit became effective on October 31, 2011, in Oklahoma and New Mexico, as well as other states where the EPA has permitting authority. The permit covers discharges to waters of the United States from the application of biological pesticides or chemical pesticides that leave a residue when the pesticide application is for: pest control of mosquitos or other flying insects, control of aquatic weeds or algae, control of aquatic nuisance animals, or control of forest canopy pests.
The general permit is not available for use with respect to discharges into waters designated as impaired by that pesticide or its products of degradation, waters designated as Tier 3 for antidegradation purposes, or with respect to discharges covered by another NPDES permit.