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EPA's NPDES Permits for 
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's)

Please read this page carefully.  It  is full of important information.

The Clean Water Act identifies Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) as point sources of pollution subject to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.  EPA Region 6 issued a General NPDES Permit  for CAFOs, which became effective on March 10, 1993.   This permit expired in March 1998, but the terms of the old permit continue until a new permit is issued.  New CAFO regulations were finalized in December 2002, so be on the lookout for a new permit from Region 6!  CAFOs are required to apply for general permits, and individual permits may be required.

How do you know if you are a CAFO? 
*      number of mature dairy cows (dry or milking) exceeds 700
*      animals are confined and fed for a total of 45 days or more in any 12 month period
*      crops or forage are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility
*      EPA determination (i.e. EPA says you're a CAFO)

The benefit of general permit coverage is that it allows you to discharge to waters of the United States in the event of a chronic or catastrophic storm event  IF AND ONLY IF your facility is properly designed, constructed and operated to contain all process-generated wastewater AND the runoff from the 25-year/24-hour storm event.  You must be able to document this by developing and implementing a Pollution Prevention Plan (PPP).  

Key elements of a PPP include:
*      records of all calculations used to determine retention facility designs
*      as-built retention facility construction details and certifications
*      liner construction and maintenance records
*      documentation of no liner requirement ("no hydrologic connection")
*      records of wastewater removal and land application
*      nutrient management plan
*      records of manure and pond solids removal
*      preventive maintenance plan (including schedules, maintenance logs, problems & repairs)
*      records of employee training and responsibilities
*      records of inspections (including findings & responses)

If you want more information about EPA's record-keeping requirements, click HERE.  (If you can not view the file, you may have to download the free Adobe Reader.  Click here for instructions.)  The record-keeping requirements have been updated to reflect recent changes to the regulations. 


Compliance with EPA regulations and the general permit does not necessarily mean you are in compliance with your State-issued ground water discharge permit.  When in doubt, here are some contacts that can assist you:

Abu Senkayi (Senkayi.Abu@epamail.epa.gov ), EPA Region 6 CAFO Coordinator, 214-665-8403

Richard Powell (Richard_Powell@nmenv.state.nm.us) , NMED Surface Water Quality Bureau, 505-827-2945

Maura Hanning (Maura_Hanning@nmenv.state.nm.us) , NMED Ground Water Quality Bureau, 505-827-2945

DPNM is working with NMED  and NRCS to develop a simplified record-keeping check list for all of our producers to use to ensure compliance with EPA and NMED regulations.  Check this site regularly for updates!!

EPA's New CAFO Regulations

As most of you already know, the EPA has adopted new NPDES CAFO regulations, which were signed by the Administrator on December 15, 2002.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register in January 2003. DPNM and other members of the regulated community provided extensive comments on the proposed rule, and that hard work appears to have paid off!!  Based on our preliminary reading of the new rule, there are no significant changes that will directly affect your day-to-day operations. Many of the issues we were most concerned about were not included in the final rule.  However, be sure you have read the notice of intent requirements:  click here to do so.

Click HERE  to see the requirements for dairies and heifer operations under the new regulations.  If you have any questions, please contact one our staff members or the New Mexico Environment Department. 

Here is some information from the EPA CAFO webpage:

CAFO Final Rule
Producers' Complience Guide for CAFO's
General Information
- Guidance Documents
- Highlighted Publications
- Funding Sources
- Important Links
Unified National Strategy
Animal Feeding Operations Home
CAFO Final Rule (PDF format)
You need Adobe Reader to view these files. 
Click here for help.
Table of Contents: Cross-Reference Guide to Federal Register page numbers
Entire text of the CAFO Preamble and Final Rule
Chapter 1: Background Information
Chapter 2: What Events Have Led to this Rule?
Chapter 3: How Was this Final Rule Developed?
Chapter 4: CAFO Roles And Responsibilities
Chapter 5: States' Roles and Responsibilities
Chapter 6: Public Role and Involvement
Chapter 7: Environmental Benefits of the Final Rule
Chapter 8: Costs and Economic Impacts
Chapter 9: Coordination with Other Federal Programs
Chapter 10: Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
Appendix: Form 2B
Part 122-EPA Administered Permit Programs: NPDES
Part 412-Effluent Limitations Guidelines For the CAFO Point Source Category
Collage Image of Farm Animals


Brochures on the Final Rule
(PDF Format)
Folletos Sobre la Norma Final
(Formato PDF tamaño legal)
Will My Operation Be Regulated? ¿Será Regulada Mi Operación?
What are the Federal Requirements for Chicken and Turkey CAFOs? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para CAFOs para Pollos y Pavos?
What are the Federal Requirements for Dairy Cattle or Heifer CAFOs? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para CAFOs para Vacas Lecheras y Becerras?
What are the Federal Requirements for Beef Cattle or Veal Calf CAFOs? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para CAFOs para Ganado Vacuno y Terneras?
What are the Federal Requirements for Swine CAFOs? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para CAFOs para Cerdos?
What are the Federal Requirements for Horse and Sheep CAFOs? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para CAFOs para Caballos y Ovejas?
What are the Federal Requirements for Duck CAFOs? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para CAFOs para Patos?
What are the Federal Record-Keeping and Reporting Requirements? ¿Cuáles son los Requisitos Federales para Archivar Documentos e Informes?
CAFO Rule Information Sheet
General Factsheet on the CAFO Final Rule

Supporting Documents for the CAFO Final Rule


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Dairy Producers of New Mexico 
PO Box 6299, 5106 South Main, Roswell, NM 88202
(505) 622.1646 * Fax: (505) 622.6306 * info@nmdairy.org
Webmaster email * Website last updated 16-January-2007

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