Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is an animal feeding operation (farm) that meets certain animal size thresholds and that also confines animals for 45 days or more in any 12-month period in an area that does not produce vegetation. New York State has more than 500 CAFOs, the majority of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows and associated livestock operations.
CAFO General Permits Issued
DEC has renewed two SPDES General Permits for CAFOs. These new permits, developed with input from the agricultural and environmental community, enact new requirements for CAFOs to ensure proper management of nutrients while increasing water quality protection. These permits provide farmers with more certainty regarding their compliance with state and federal laws and regulations by better defining permit terms and conditions. These permits replace the existing general permits (GP-0-14-001 & GP-04-02).
DEC developed the initial renewal drafts after nearly two years of outreach and communication with stakeholders. The draft permits were made available for public comment December 23, 2015 through February 7, 2016. Throughout this process, DEC held numerous meetings with stakeholders to hear their concerns. DEC also received hundreds of written comments and has prepared a Responsiveness Summary (PDF, 748 KB).
- Environmental Conservation Law General Permit GP-0-16-001: Construction of a point source that is designed, constructed, operated and maintained to not discharge manure or process wastewater is deemed eligible for coverage under ECL SPDES general permit GP-0-16-001 and must obtain coverage prior to operation of the CAFO facility.
- Clean Water Act General Permit GP-0-16-002: Construction of a point source that is designed, constructed, operated and maintained to discharge manure or process wastewater must seek coverage under CWA SPDES general permit GP-0-16-002 and must obtain coverage prior to operation of the CAFO facility.
- NRCS Standards required by the CAFO general permits
- Nutrient Management - NY 590 (01/2013) (PDF, 218 KB)
- Waste Storage Facility - NY 313 (10/2014) (PDF, 107 KB)
- Anaerobic Digester- NY 366 (05/2010) (PDF, 144 KB)
- Waste Transfer Standard - NY 634 (10/2015) (PDF, 49 KB)
- Vegetated Treatment Areas - NY 635 (10/2016) (PDF, 262 KB)
- Heavy Use Area Protection - NY 561 (10/2015) (PDF, 35 KB)
- Waste Facility Closure - NY 360 (10/2013) (PDF, 62 KB)
- Karst Sinkhole Treatment - NY 527 (10/2016) (PDF, 202 KB)
- Animal Mortality - NY 316 (04/2016) (PDF, 175 KB)
- Composting Facility - NY 317 (05/2011) (PDF, 37 KB)
- Cornell Guidelines referenced in the CAFO general permits
- "Composting Animal Mortalities" - Cornell Waste Management Institute, 2014 (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- "Revised winter and wet weather manure spreading guidelines to reduce water contamination risk" - Cornell, 2015 (PDF, 374 KB)
- "Manure Management Guidelines for Limestone Bedrock/Karst Areas of Genesee County, New York: Practices for Risk Reduction" - Cornell, 2011 (PDF, 423 KB)
- "Manure and Groundwater: The Case for Protective Measures and Supporting Guidelines" - Cornell, 2004 (PDF, 31 KB)
- AEM Tools
- Recordkeeping Checklist - list of records required to be maintained by the owner/operator
If you have questions about the CAFO permit program, contact Doug Ashline at 518-402-8086, or send your question via email.
More about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations:
- Environmental Conservation Law CAFO General Permit - Information about the Environmental Conservation Law CAFO general permit.
- Clean Water Act CAFO General Permit - Information about the Clean Water Act CAFO general permit.
- Map of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in New York State - Map of CAFOs in New York State.