Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter

Spring 2003

Master matrix used to score confinements starting March 1

by Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Starting March 1, the master matrix can be used to evaluate confinement feeding operations that need a construction permit from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Only counties that have adopted a construction evaluation resolution can use the matrix. Producers in these counties must meet a higher standard than is required in counties that do not adopt the matrix.

Who does the matrix affect? If the county has a valid construction evaluation resolution on file with the DNR, the matrix must be used to assess all applications for a construction permit after March 1, 2003, in that county. The master matrix will not be used for existing confinement feeding operations constructed before April 1, 2002, that are expanding now to an animal unit capacity of up to 1,666 animal units (AUs).

As a reminder, construction permit applications are required in two situations:

1) for construction or expansion of a confinement feeding operation that uses unformed or earthen manure storage, regardless of the size of operation, and
2) for construction or expansion of a confinement feeding operation that uses formed manure storage structures such as a below-building pit or a slurry store, and the animal unit capacity is 1,000 AUs or more.

What is the master matrix? A master matrix is a scoring system that was designed to evaluate the siting and manure management practices of proposed permitted operations based on environmental risks and community impacts. The matrix was required by Iowa law, Senate File 2293, enacted by the 79th General Assembly in spring 2002. It was developed by a 10-member technical advisory committee that was designated in the legislation. The committee met from June through September, 2002, and reached consensus on 44 factors addressing air quality, water quality, and community impacts. After public input and revisions to the proposed matrix, the Environmental Protection Commission set passing scores on the matrix at 440 points of the total available. Producers must pass 25 percent of the available points in each of the subcategories of air quality, water quality, and community impact.

How do producers receive points? Points can be attained by choosing a site that exceeds the minimum required distances from protected buildings and areas. For example, a producer could earn 25 points by choosing a location that is 250 to 500 feet further away from the closest neighboring residence, hospital, nursing home, or licensed/registered child care facility than the minimum required separation distance. Points also can be earned by choosing to install odor-reducing practices such as a filter on an exhaust system or management practices such as injecting all land-applied manure.

Whatever a producer chooses, the practices will become part of the construction permit that is issued. So producers need to choose carefully, picking those practices that they know they can achieve and maintain. For example, a producer who chooses to inject all land-applied manure will need to plan carefully to achieve that during wet falls and springs when injection might be difficult.

How do producers apply? Copies of the matrix and an electronic form of the matrix are available on the DNR Web site under animal feeding operations at http://www.iowadnr.com/ or directly at http://www.state.ia.us/dnr/organiza/epd/wastewtr/feedlot/masterm.htm. Producers should submit a copy of the matrix scores and their permit application to the DNR and the county where the construction will occur. A list of counties that have valid construction evaluation resolutions on file with the DNR is also available on this Web site.

What happens if a producer cannot pass the matrix? Producers have the option of choosing the site location, structures, and management practices that they can attain to pass the matrix. Producers fill out the matrix and then the county evaluates the site using the matrix. If the proposed site meets state requirements but does not attain the required minimum score on the master matrix, the confinement structure will be denied a construction permit. However, the DNR must agree with the county’s master matrix evaluation and an applicant has the right to appeal.

Questions? Check the Chapter 65 rules for the actual language of the rules. If you have questions about the matrix or construction permits, please contact a DNR animal feeding operations engineer at (515) 281-8941.

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Iowa Manure Matters: Odor and Nutrient Management is published by Iowa State University Extension, with funding support from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service through Cooperative Agreement No. 74-6114-8-22. To subscribe or change the address of a current subscription, write to Angela Rieck-Hinz, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011-1010 or call 515-294-9590, fax 515-294-9985 or email: amrieck@iastate.edu. Please indicate you are inquiring about the Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter. The newsletter's coordinators are Angela Rieck-Hinz, extension program specialist, Department of Agronomy, Wendy Powers, environmental extension specialist, Department of Animal Science, and Robert Burns, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; the editor is Jean McGuire, the subscription manager is Rachel Klein, the production designer is Beth Kroeschell, and the web page designer is Liisa Jarvinen.

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