Currently, there are three types of Nonpoint Source (NPS) pollutant reduction activities generating credits in Pennsylvania:
- Agricultural best management practices (BMPs)
- Manure nutrient destruction and conversion technologies
- The export of poultry manure (litter) and agricultural application outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Other NPS pollutant reduction activities may be eligible to generate credits. Contact the
PA Nutrient Trading Program for more information.
In order to be eligible to generate credits, these NPS activities must be in compliance with the following rules and regulations, as applicable:
25 Pa. Code Chapter 102, Erosion and Sedimentation Control Regulations
All plowing and tilling activities must implement and maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation. Written erosion and sedimentation control plans are required for agricultural plowing or tilling or animal heavy use areas that disturb 5,000 square feet or more.
25 Pa. Code Section 91.36
These regulations define pollution control and prevention requirements at agricultural operations, including requirements related to land application of animal manure.
25 Pa. Code Section 92a.29
These regulations define the requirements for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with NPDES permits.
25 Pa. Code Chapter 83, Subchapter D
These regulations promulgated by the State Conservation Commission define and regulate Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) through the development and implementation of Nutrient Management Plans.
In addition, one of the following conditions must be met at the location of NPS credit generation:
- Manure is not mechanically applied within 100 feet of a perennial or intermittent stream with a defined bed or bank, a lake, or a pond, and a commercial fertilizer is applied at or below appropriate agronomic rates.
- A minimum of 35 feet of permanent vegetation is established and maintained between the field and any perennial or intermittent stream with a defined bed or bank, a lake, or a pond. The area may be grazed of cropped under a specific management plan provided that permanent vegetation is maintained at all times and there is no mechanical application of manure within the buffer area.
- The applicant applies an increase of at least 20% to the overall amount of pollution reduction generated by the pollution reduction activity.
In order to be eligible to generate and sell credits, potential NPS credit generators must request credit certification using the process described in the
Phase 2 WIP Nutrient Trading Supplement (PDF). Further details on this process can be found on the
Credit Generation Process webpage.
The delivery ratios that all NPS generators must use can be found in the Table of
Nonpoint Source Delivery Ratios (PDF).
In addition to the regulatory and threshold requirements identified above, in order to be able to generate credits from the hauling of poultry manure, the poultry manure must be applied to a site outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed that is nutrient deficient in accordance with a nutrient management plan or nutrient balance sheet completed by a certified nutrient planner. The application of commercial fertilizer to the site where the poultry manure is removed must be tracked and documented. An additional 3:1 trading ratio will be applied to the final number of credits generated.
For manure destruction and conversion technologies, eligibility will be determined based upon a thorough review of the individual technology, and, at a minimum, compliance with all local, state, and federal requirements. If the number of credits generated will be verified using a comprehensive sampling and monitoring protocol, where actual reductions in nutrients can be measured and verified, no additional adjustment may be necessary. However, if it is determined during the technical review of the verification plan that the sampling and monitoring protocols are not sufficient to ensure consistency with defined Chesapeake Bay Program protocols, additional adjustments may be applied.
The main changes to the existing program as it relates to nonpoint source credit generators resulting from the negotiations with EPA are:
- There were no adjustments to the credit calculation methodology for any existing certifications approved by DEP prior to October 1, 2013. The majority of these certifications expired on September 30, 2015. The few existing certifications approved prior to October 1, 2013 with designated expiration dates after September 30, 2015 all expired on September 30, 2016. Generators should continue to check this website and the
Phase 2 WIP Nutrient Trading Supplement (PDF) for any changes in the certification request process.
- All credit certification requests must have an additional 3:1 trading ratio applied. These certifications will expire September 30, 2017, provided the performance-based calculation tool is in place. Should this performance-based modeling tool not be available by September 30, 2017, DEP will continue to review requests for credit certification using the practice-based approach with the 3:1 trading ratio until the performance-based modeling tool becomes available. Credit certification requests previously approved under the practice-based approach that expire on September 30, 2017, may be administratively extended until the performance-based modeling tool becomes available on an annual basis for a total term of not more than five years.