Chapter 1511: DIVISION OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION

1511.01 Division of soil and water conservation definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A) "Conservation" means the wise use and management of natural resources.

(B) "Critical natural resource area" means an area identified by the director of natural resources in which occurs a natural resource that requires special management because of its importance to the well-being of the surrounding communities, the region, or the state.

(C) "Pollution abatement practice" means any erosion control , residual farm products, or manure pollution abatement facility, structure, or procedure and the operation and management associated with it as contained in operation and management plans developed or approved by the chief of the division of soil and water resources or by boards of supervisors of soil and water conservation districts .

(D) "Agricultural pollution" means failure to use management or conservation practices in farming or silvicultural operations to abate wind or water erosion of the soil or to abate the degradation of the waters of the state by residual farm products, manure, or soil sediment, including substances attached thereto.

(E) "Waters of the state" means all streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, watercourses, waterways, wells, springs, irrigation systems, drainage systems, and all other bodies or accumulations of water, surface and underground, natural or artificial, regardless of the depth of the strata in which underground water is located, that are situated wholly or partly within, or border upon, this state or are within its jurisdiction, except those private waters that do not combine or effect a junction with natural surface or underground waters.

(F) "Operation and management plan" means a written record, developed or approved by the board of supervisors of a soil and water conservation district or the chief, for the owner or operator of agricultural land or an animal feeding operation that contains implementation schedules and operational procedures for a level of management and pollution abatement practices that will abate the degradation of the waters of the state by residual farm products, manure, and soil sediment, including attached pollutants.

(G) " Residual farm products" means bedding, wash waters, waste feed, and silage drainage. " Residual farm products" also includes the compost products resulting from the composting of dead animals in operations subject to section 1511.022 of the Revised Code when either of the following applies:

(1) The composting is conducted by the person who raises the animals and the compost product is used in agricultural operations owned or operated by that person, regardless of whether the person owns the animals .

(2) The composting is conducted by the person who owns the animals, but does not raise them and the compost product is used in agricultural operations either by a person who raises the animals or by a person who raises grain that is used to feed them and that is supplied by the owner of the animals.

(H) "Composting" means the controlled decomposition of organic solid material consisting of dead animals that stabilizes the organic fraction of the material.

(I) "Manure" means animal excreta.

(J) "Animal feeding operation" means the production area, as defined in section 903.01 of the Revised Code, of an agricultural operation where agricultural animals are kept and raised in confined areas. "Animal feeding operation" does not include a facility that possesses a permit issued under Chapter 903. or division (J) of section 6111.03 of the Revised Code.

(K) "Soil and water conservation district" has the same meaning as in section 1515.01 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 10-20-1994

1511.02 Chief of division of soil and water conservation - powers and duties.

The chief of the division of soil and water resources, subject to the approval of the director of natural resources, shall do all of the following:

(A) Provide administrative leadership to soil and water conservation districts in planning, budgeting, staffing, and administering district programs and the training of district supervisors and personnel in their duties, responsibilities, and authorities as prescribed in this chapter and Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code;

(B) Administer this chapter and Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code pertaining to state responsibilities and provide staff assistance to the Ohio soil and water conservation commission in exercising its statutory responsibilities;

(C) Assist in expediting state responsibilities for watershed development and other natural resource conservation works of improvement;

(D) Coordinate the development and implementation of cooperative programs and working agreements between soil and water conservation districts and divisions or sections of the department of natural resources, or other agencies of local, state, and federal government;

(E) Subject to the approval of the Ohio soil and water conservation commission, adopt, amend, or rescind rules pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. Rules adopted pursuant to this section:

(1) Shall establish technically feasible and economically reasonable standards to achieve a level of management and conservation practices in farming or silvicultural operations that will abate wind or water erosion of the soil or abate the degradation of the waters of the state by residual farm products, manure, or soil sediment, including substances attached thereto, and establish criteria for determination of the acceptability of such management and conservation practices;

(2) Shall establish technically feasible and economically reasonable standards to achieve a level of management and conservation practices that will abate wind or water erosion of the soil or abate the degradation of the waters of the state by soil sediment in conjunction with land grading, excavating, filling, or other soil-disturbing activities on land used or being developed for nonfarm commercial, industrial, residential, or other nonfarm purposes, and establish criteria for determination of the acceptability of such management and conservation practices. The standards shall be designed to implement applicable areawide waste treatment management plans prepared under section 208 of the "Federal Water Pollution Control Act," 86 Stat. 816 (1972), 33 U.S.C.A. 1288, as amended. The standards and criteria shall not apply in any municipal corporation or county that adopts ordinances or rules pertaining to sediment control, nor to lands being used in a strip mine operation as defined in section 1513.01 of the Revised Code, nor to lands being used in a surface mining operation as defined in section 1514.01 of the Revised Code.

(3) May recommend criteria and procedures for the approval of urban sediment pollution abatement plans and issuance of permits prior to any grading, excavating, filling, or other whole or partial disturbance of five or more contiguous acres of land owned by one person or operated as one development unit and require implementation of such a plan. Areas of less than five contiguous acres are not exempt from compliance with other provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under them.

(4) Shall establish procedures for administration of rules for agricultural pollution abatement and urban sediment pollution abatement and for enforcement of rules for agricultural pollution abatement;

(5) Shall specify the pollution abatement practices eligible for state cost sharing and determine the conditions for eligibility, the construction standards and specifications, the useful life, the maintenance requirements, and the limits of cost sharing for those practices. Eligible practices shall be limited to practices that address agricultural or silvicultural operations and that require expenditures that are likely to exceed the economic returns to the owner or operator and that abate soil erosion or degradation of the waters of the state by residual farm products, manure, or soil sediment, including pollutants attached thereto.

(6) Shall establish procedures for administering grants to owners or operators of agricultural land or animal feeding operations for the implementation of operation and management plans;

(7) Shall establish procedures for administering grants to soil and water conservation districts for urban sediment pollution abatement programs, specify the types of projects eligible for grants, establish limits on the availability of grants, and establish requirements governing the execution of projects to encourage the reduction of erosion and sedimentation associated with soil-disturbing activities;

(8) Shall do all of the following with regard to composting conducted in conjunction with agricultural operations:

(a) Provide for the distribution of educational material concerning composting to the offices of OSU extension for the purposes of section 1511.022 of the Revised Code;

(b) Establish methods, techniques, or practices for composting dead animals, or particular types of dead animals, that are to be used at such operations, as the chief considers to be necessary or appropriate;

(c) Establish requirements and procedures governing the review and approval or disapproval of composting plans by the supervisors of soil and water conservation districts under division (Q) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code.

(9) Shall be adopted, amended, or rescinded after the chief does all of the following:

(a) Mails notice to each statewide organization that the chief determines represents persons or local governmental agencies who would be affected by the proposed rule, amendment thereto, or rescission thereof at least thirty-five days before any public hearing thereon;

(b) Mails a copy of each proposed rule, amendment thereto, or rescission thereof to any person who requests a copy, within five days after receipt of the request;

(c) Consults with appropriate state and local governmental agencies or their representatives, including statewide organizations of local governmental officials, industrial representatives, and other interested persons;

(d) If the rule relates to agricultural pollution abatement, develops an economic impact statement concerning the effect of the proposed rule or amendment.

(10) Shall not conflict with air or water quality standards adopted pursuant to section 3704.03 or 6111.041 of the Revised Code. Compliance with rules adopted pursuant to this section does not affect liability for noncompliance with air or water quality standards adopted pursuant to section 3704.03 or 6111.041 of the Revised Code. The application of a level of management and conservation practices recommended under this section to control windblown soil from farming operations creates a presumption of compliance with section 3704.03 of the Revised Code as that section applies to windblown soil.

(11) Insofar as the rules relate to urban sediment pollution, shall not be applicable in a municipal corporation or county that adopts ordinances or rules for urban sediment control, except that a municipal corporation or county that adopts such ordinances or rules may receive moneys for urban sediment control that are disbursed by the board of supervisors of the applicable soil and water conservation district under division (N) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code. The rules shall not exempt any person from compliance with municipal ordinances enacted pursuant to Section 3 of Article XVIII, Ohio Constitution.

(F) Cost share with landowners on practices established pursuant to division (E)(5) of this section as moneys are appropriated and available for that purpose. Any practice for which cost share is provided shall be maintained for its useful life. Failure to maintain a cost share practice for its useful life shall subject the landowner to full repayment to the division.

(G) Issue orders requiring compliance with any rule adopted under division (E)(1) of this section or with section 1511.022 of the Revised Code. Before the chief issues an order, the chief shall afford each person allegedly liable an adjudication hearing under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. The chief may require in an order that a person who has caused agricultural pollution by failure to comply with the standards established under division (E)(1) of this section operate under an operation and management plan approved by the chief under this section. The chief shall require in an order that a person who has failed to comply with division (A) of section 1511.022 of the Revised Code prepare a composting plan in accordance with rules adopted under division (E) (8)(c) of this section and operate in accordance with that plan or that a person who has failed to operate in accordance with such a plan begin to operate in accordance with it. Each order shall be issued in writing and contain a finding by the chief of the facts upon which the order is based and the standard that is not being met.

(H) Employ field assistants and such other employees as are necessary for the performance of the work prescribed by Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code, for performance of work of the division, and as agreed to under working agreements or contractual arrangements with soil and water conservation districts, prescribe their duties, and fix their compensation in accordance with such schedules as are provided by law for the compensation of state employees.

All employees of the division, unless specifically exempted by law, shall be employed subject to the classified civil service laws in force at the time of employment.

(I) In connection with new or relocated projects involving highways, underground cables, pipelines, railroads, and other improvements affecting soil and water resources, including surface and subsurface drainage:

(1) Provide engineering service as is mutually agreeable to the Ohio soil and water conservation commission and the director to aid in the design and installation of soil and water conservation practices as a necessary component of such projects;

(2) Maintain close liaison between the owners of lands on which the projects are executed, soil and water conservation districts, and authorities responsible for such projects;

(3) Review plans for such projects to ensure their compliance with standards developed under division (E) of this section in cooperation with the department of transportation or with any other interested agency that is engaged in soil or water conservation projects in the state in order to minimize adverse impacts on soil and water resources adjacent to or otherwise affected by these projects;

(4) Recommend measures to retard erosion and protect soil and water resources through the installation of water impoundment or other soil and water conservation practices;

(5) Cooperate with other agencies and subdivisions of the state to protect the agricultural status of rural lands adjacent to such projects and control adverse impacts on soil and water resources.

(J) Collect, analyze, inventory, and interpret all available information pertaining to the origin, distribution, extent, use, and conservation of the soil resources of the state;

(K) Prepare and maintain up-to-date reports, maps, and other materials pertaining to the soil resources of the state and their use and make that information available to governmental agencies, public officials, conservation entities, and the public;

(L) Provide soil and water conservation districts with technical assistance including on-site soil investigations and soil interpretation reports on the suitability or limitations of soil to support a particular use or to plan soil conservation measures. The assistance shall be upon such terms as are mutually agreeable to the districts and the department of natural resources.

(M) Assist local government officials in utilizing land use planning and zoning, current agricultural use value assessment, development reviews, and land management activities;

(N) When necessary for the purposes of this chapter or Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code, develop or approve operation and management plans.

This section does not restrict the manure of domestic or farm animals defecated on land outside an animal feeding operation or runoff therefrom into the waters of the state.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-15-2001

1511.021 Operation and management plan - nuisances - complaint.

(A) Any person who owns or operates agricultural land or an animal feeding operation may develop and operate under an operation and management plan approved by the chief of the division of soil and water resources under section 1511.02 of the Revised Code or by the supervisors of the applicable soil and water conservation district under section 1515.08 of the Revised Code.

(B) Any person who wishes to make a complaint regarding nuisances involving agricultural pollution may do so orally or by submitting a written, signed, and dated complaint to the chief or to the chief's designee. After receiving an oral complaint, the chief or the chief's designee may cause an investigation to be conducted to determine whether agricultural pollution has occurred or is imminent. After receiving a written, signed, and dated complaint, the chief or the chief's designee shall cause such an investigation to be conducted.

(C) In a private civil action for nuisances involving agricultural pollution, it is an affirmative defense if the person owning, operating, or otherwise responsible for agricultural land or an animal feeding operation is operating under and in substantial compliance with an approved operation and management plan developed under division (A) of this section, with an operation and management plan developed by the chief under section 1511.02 of the Revised Code or by the supervisors of the applicable soil and water conservation district under section 1515.08 of the Revised Code, or with an operation and management plan required by an order issued by the chief under division (G) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code. Nothing in this section is in derogation of the authority granted to the chief in division (E) of section 1511.02 and in section 1511.07 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-15-2001; 04-06-2007

1511.022 Composting of dead animals.

(A) Any person who owns or operates an agricultural operation, or owns the animals raised by the owner or operator of an agricultural operation, and who wishes to conduct composting of dead animals resulting from the agricultural operation shall do both of the following:

(1) Participate in an educational course concerning composting conducted by OSU extension and obtain a certificate of completion for the course;

(2) Use the appropriate method, technique, or practice of composting established in rules adopted under division (E)(8) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code.

(B) Any person who fails to comply with division (A) of this section shall prepare and operate under a composting plan in accordance with an order issued by the chief of the division of soil and water resources under division (G) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code. If the person's proposed composting plan is disapproved by the board of supervisors of the appropriate soil and water conservation district under division (Q)(3) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code, the person may appeal the plan disapproval to the chief, who shall afford the person a hearing. Following the hearing, the chief shall uphold the plan disapproval or reverse it. If the chief reverses the disapproval, the plan shall be deemed approved.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-15-2001

1511.023 Confidentiality of certain information.

(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the director of natural resources, an employee of the department of natural resources, the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district, an employee of a district, and a contractor of the department or a district shall not disclose either of the following:

(1) Information, including data from geographic information systems and global positioning systems, provided by a person who owns or operates agricultural land or an animal feeding operation and operates under an operation and management plan;

(2) Information gathered as a result of an inspection of agricultural land or an animal feeding operation to determine whether the person who owns or operates the land or operation is in compliance with an operation and management plan.

(B) The director or the supervisors of a district may release or disclose information specified in division (A)(1) or (2) of this section to a person or a federal, state, or local agency working in cooperation with the chief of the division of soil and water resources or the supervisors in the development of an operation and management plan or an inspection to determine compliance with such a plan if the director or supervisors determine that the person or federal, state, or local agency will not subsequently disclose the information to another person.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

1511.03 Chief may enter into contracts or agreements.

The chief of the division of soil and water resources may enter into contracts or agreements, with the approval of the director of natural resources, with any agency of the United States government, or any other public or private agency, or organization, for the performance of the prescribed duties of the division, or for accomplishing cooperative projects within the designated duties of the division.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-16-1982

1511.04 Chief may accept donations, grants and contributions.

The chief of the division of soil and water resources may accept, on behalf of the department of natural resources, donations, grants and contributions in money, service, or equipment to enlarge or expedite the prescribed work of the division.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-16-1982

1511.05 Cooperative agreements with board of supervisors of soil and water conservation district.

The chief of the division of soil and water resources, subject to approval of the terms of the agreement by the soil and water conservation commission, shall enter into cooperative agreements with the board of supervisors of any soil and water conservation district desiring to enter into such agreements pursuant to section 1515.08 of the Revised Code. Such agreements shall be entered into to obtain compliance with rules and orders of the chief pertaining to agricultural pollution abatement and urban sediment pollution abatement.

The chief or any person designated by the chief may upon obtaining agreement with the owner, tenant, or manager of any land, public or private, enter thereon to make inspections to determine whether or not there is compliance with the rules adopted under division (E)(1) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code. Upon reason to believe there is a violation, the chief or the chief's designee may apply for and a judge of the court of common pleas for the county where the land is located may issue an appropriate inspection warrant as necessary to achieve the purposes of this chapter.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 11-28-1991

1511.06 Agreements with local government agencies.

The chief of the division of soil and water resources may enter into agreements with local government agencies for the purpose of soil surveys, land use inventories, and other soil-related duties.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 10-20-1994

1511.07 Failing to comply with orders - violations.

(A)

(1) No person shall fail to comply with an order of the chief of the division of soil and water resources issued pursuant to division (G) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code.

(2) In addition to the remedies provided and irrespective of whether an adequate remedy at law exists, the chief may apply to the court of common pleas in the county where a violation of a standard established under division (E)(1) or (8)(b) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code causes pollution of the waters of the state for an order to compel the violator to cease the violation and to remove the agricultural pollutant or to comply with the rules adopted under division (E)(8)(b) of that section, as appropriate.

(3) In addition to the remedies provided and irrespective of whether an adequate remedy at law exists, whenever the chief officially determines that an emergency exists because of agricultural pollution or an unauthorized release, spill, or discharge of manure, or a violation of a rule adopted under division (E)(8)(b) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code, that causes pollution of the waters of the state, the chief may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of the emergency and requiring that necessary action be taken to meet the emergency. The order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom the order is directed shall comply with the order immediately, but on application to the chief shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible, but not later than twenty days after making the application. On the basis of the hearing, the chief shall continue the order in effect, revoke it, or modify it. No emergency order shall remain in effect for more than sixty days after its issuance. If a person to whom an order is issued does not comply with the order within a reasonable period, as determined by the chief, the chief or the chief's designee may enter upon private or public lands and take action to mitigate, minimize, remove, or abate the agricultural pollution, release, spill, discharge, or conditions caused by the violation of the rule.

(B) The attorney general, upon the written request of the chief, shall bring appropriate legal action in Franklin county against any person who fails to comply with an order of the chief issued pursuant to division (G) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-15-2001

1511.071 Agricultural pollution abatement fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury the agricultural pollution abatement fund, which shall be administered by the chief of the division of soil and water resources. The fund may be used to pay costs incurred by the division under division (A)(3) of section 1511.07 of the Revised Code in investigating, mitigating, minimizing, removing, or abating any pollution of the waters of the state caused by agricultural pollution or an unauthorized release, spill, or discharge of manure into or upon the environment that requires emergency action to protect the public health.

Any person responsible for causing or allowing agricultural pollution or an unauthorized release, spill, or discharge is liable to the chief for any costs incurred by the division and soil and water conservation districts in investigating, mitigating, minimizing, removing, or abating the agricultural pollution or release, spill, or discharge, regardless of whether those costs were paid out of the agricultural pollution abatement fund or any other fund of the division or a district. Upon the request of the chief, the attorney general shall bring a civil action against the responsible person to recover those costs. Moneys recovered under this section shall be paid into the agricultural pollution abatement fund.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-15-2001

1511.08 Appeal from order.

Any person claiming to be deprived of a right or protection afforded the person by law by an order of the chief of the division of soil and water resources, except an order which adopts a rule, may appeal to the court of common pleas of Franklin county or the court of common pleas of the county in which the alleged violation exists.

If the court finds that the order of the chief appealed from was lawful and reasonable, it shall affirm such order. If the court finds that such order was unreasonable or unlawful, it shall vacate such order and make the order which it finds the chief should have made. The judgment of the court is final unless reversed, vacated, or modified on appeal.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 03-16-1982

1511.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates division (A) of section 1511.07 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Each day of violation is a separate offense. In addition to the penalty provided in this division, the sentencing court may assess damages in an amount equal to the costs of reclaiming, restoring, or otherwise repairing any damage to public or private property caused by any violation of division (A) of section 1511.07 of the Revised Code. All fines and moneys assessed as damages under this section shall be paid into the agricultural pollution abatement fund created in section 1511.071 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 11-28-1991