NRCB field staff use an environmental risk screening tool (ERST) to provide a consistent, science-based way of determining whether a manure storage facility at a CFO could cause a risk to groundwater or surface water.
Approval officers use the tool for all AOPA permit applications. NRCB inspectors use the tool to help respond to complaints and other compliance issues.
The tool records information about the soil characteristics and depth to aquifers, and the construction of existing and proposed facilities and water wells. This information is scored to determine whether the facility poses a low, moderate, or high risk to groundwater and surface water.
Based on the results of the risk screening (low, moderate, or high), the NRCB can determine whether risks to groundwater or surface water are being appropriately managed. In many cases, minor operational changes or enhancements to operating requirements may be the appropriate response. If a risk to the environment is identified, the approval officer or inspector works with the operator to ensure that appropriate corrective action is taken.