Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Pollution Assessment & Prevention in Louisiana

The term Pollution Prevention became popular after EPA issued rules calling for a 50% reduction in the discharge or disposal of 33 common industrial chemicals. The program was titled “Pollution Prevention” and a national network of programs, projects, meetings, training sessions and recognitions was developed and implemented. The program has met with significant success and has promoted reductions in waste disposal or discharge into the environment of not only those 33 chemicals, but also of many other materials by industry, business, municipalities and the public. Programs developed as a result of this emphasis range from the Environmental Leadership Program for Louisiana business and industry to the stenciling of storm drains to discourage dumping of used motor oil into streams.

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Water pollution has been addressed under the Clean Water Act through the permitting of discharges from “point sources” from waste water treatment plants and other discrete discharges. First regulated under EPA in the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) which required a permit and set standards for the amount of different pollutants that the discharge water could contain, these discharges are now regulated by the state in the Pollution Discharge Elimination System (LPDES). While this has reduced the amount of pollution in streams and lakes, many water bodies still do not meet standards for drinking, recreation or fish production.

EPA has now moved into the protection of surface waters by setting standards for reduction of pollutant loads in water that runs over the surface from broad areas or Non-Point Source (NPS) water pollution. Materials that NPS waters may contain include nutrients, pesticides, bacteria, oil and grease, metals, sediment, organic matter and other chemicals. The sources of these waters include fields and forests, yards, streets and highways, septic tanks, storm drains, sewer overflows, parking lots and shopping centers.

Information on waste reduction, pollution prevention, and risk assessment for a wide variety of business and industry types as well as home, farms and municipalities can be found on the Southwest Pollution Prevention Web Site. This site is funded by EPA Region 6 through the Region 6 Pollution Prevention Roundtable. The site has bi-lingual capacity in English and Spanish. The Region 6 Pollution Prevention Roundtable is composed of representatives of all the regulatory agencies in the 5 states in Region 6 plus representatives of the 5 Extension Services. The purpose of the Roundtable is to educate, promote and recognize achievements in Pollution Prevention without regulatory enforcement action.

Keep Louisiana Beautiful and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) have programs to reduce pollution from litter and unauthorized dumping.

Resources and Programs

The LSU AgCenter, a campus of Louisiana State University and A & M College, conducts research, education and extension programs to assist federal and state agencies, municipalities, business, industry, agricultural and forest producers and processors and private citizens in environmental protection. Research and education programs on pollution prevention and environmental protection are also conducted in the Engineering and Environmental Science Departments at other LSU campuses.

Extension Outreach

The LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service develops and delivers educational programs to all audiences in every parish. These programs provide research-based information to residents. Some Extension educational programs addressing pollution prevention and assessment are:

Farm*A*Syst, is a simple risk self-analysis system designed for farms and ranches using a series of check sheets to identify and rank potential pollution sources at the farmstead. A version known as Home*A*Syst has been developed for urban/suburban residents. Both of these programs have been adapted to Louisiana conditions and come with booklets that list alternative practices that provide more protection for the environment. Information on these programs is available through the LSU AgCenter or your local Extension office.

The Louisiana Master Gardener program conducted by Louisiana Cooperative gardner.jpgExtension Service provides information on determining appropriate amounts of pesticides and fertilizers to use on lawns and gardens so that productivity is enhanced while runoff of pesticides and fertilizers is diminished.

To ensure the state’s rivers and streams are kept clean so that people who use them can see their beauty, LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service, LSU Sea Grant, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Atchafalaya Basin Foundation, canoe litterbags2.jpgvendors, canoe rental operations and boat rental locations in Louisiana have teamed up to provide litterbags to boaters to give them a chance to pitch in to help clean up Louisiana waters.

The W.A. Callegari Environmental Center conducts schools to train compost facility operators for certification and others interested in large-scale composting.

The “Rot Mobile” is a self-contained trailer fully equipped to conduct education and training in backyard composting to all audiences. This vehicle is available through county agents’ offices for schools, community groups, fairs and other events. A large assortment of literature on composting is available through parish Cooperative Extension offices or on the web at http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/subjects/compost/publications.asp

Guidelines and requirements for enrolling in the Agricultural/Forestry Waste BMP programs available for cotton, sugarcane, rice, woody wastes and composting for agricultural and forestry processors are available through the W.A. Callegari Environmental Center. A generic BMP guide is also available for developing BMP programs for other agricultural/forestry residues. Contact your local Extension office or on the Web at http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/subjects/compost/bmp.asp for copies or information.

Information or assistance in developing a Beneficial Use of Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) program for local communities can be obtained through your Extension office in Louisiana or from the waste contacts listed at this site.

The Master Farmer Program is a multi-agency effort that helps agricultural producers achieve environmental stewardship as well as production and farm management and marketing skills critical to the continued viability of Louisiana agriculture.

A Pesticide Safety Education Program is conducted by the LSU AgCenter to assure that applicators use pesticides in a manner that will not have unreasonable adverse effects on humans or the environment. The pesticide applicator training program is part of this program. The pesticide applicators, private and commercial, are taught the principles required to pass the competency test to become certified pesticide applicators and to maintain their certifications. The testing is done by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and the applicator must attend an approved conference every three years to maintain the certification.

Scientific Research

Research on pollution prevention is conducted by the LSU AgCenter's Experiment Station. Pollution prevention research is also conducted by the Department of Animal Science, the Department of Agronomy, and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Some examples of major pollution assessment and prevention research efforts in Louisiana include:

Research at Louisiana State University focuses on exploring methods to identify sources of fecal contamination of water. DNA fingerprinting of E. coli is being used to track sources of contamination. Fecal contamination of water restricts its use for drinking, recreational activities, farm irrigation and seafood harvesting.

Animal Manure and Waste Utilization, Treatment and Nuisance Avoidance for a Sustainable Agriculture assesses pollutant transport from grazed pastures and development of treatment options for animal manures in order to protect Louisiana's water resources. The water quality impacts of grazing dairy cattle on pasture will be studied in regard to fecal coliform content in runoff water.

The emphasis of Pest Management and Ecology of Sugarcane Insects is to interface with other disciplines involved in sugarcane production, develop and implement a fiscally and environmentally sound, holistic, and multi-tactical insect pest management system that has a proactive vision.

Utilization of Organic Waste for Cotton and Pine Production determines the influence of poultry litter used in cotton and pine tree production on water quality.

The objective of New Technologies for the Utilization of Textile Materials is to develop value added products from renewable and recyclable resources such as agrifibers.

Water Quality Issues in Poultry Production and Processing seeks to develop methods for proper management and recycling of poultry production and processing waste to improve water quality.

College and University Education

Education on pollution prevention and assessment is provided in the departments of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy, and Civil Engineering and Environmental Science.

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