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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.

Draft CAFO General Permits

DEC developed two draft SPDES General Permits for CAFOs to replace the existing general permits that are scheduled to expire in June 2016. Comments on the draft permits were accepted from December 23, 2015 through February 12, 2016. DEC received comments from a number of entities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is currently reviewing and determining the applicability of each comment. Copies of all comments can be obtained from DEC by contacting Doug Ashline at 518-402-8086, or The current general permits remain in full force and effect while DEC works to review and address all the comments received.

The draft general permits and fact sheets are available as PDF documents below:

Current CAFO General Permits

Image of large free-stall barn
Large free-stall barn

DEC, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state Soil and Water Conservation Committee, farmers, agribusiness, and other interested parties worked together to develop two general permits that authorize owners and operators of CAFOs to operate in accordance with New York's Environmental Conservation Law and the federal Clean Water Act. These permits meet the business needs of farmers and help CAFO owners or operators comply with state and federal water quality requirements.

  • General Permit GP-0-14-001 is a general permit issued pursuant to the state Environmental Conservation Law for CAFO operations that do not discharge process wastewater from their production area. The permit is issued for a two-year term. The effective date is July 1, 2014 and the expiration date is June 30, 2016.
  • General Permit GP-04-02 is a general permit issued pursuant to the state Environmental Conservation Law and the federal Clean Water Act for CAFO operations that may discharge in storms greater than the 25-year/24-hour storm. The permit was initially issued for a five-year term with an effective date of July 1, 2004 and an expiration date of June 30, 2009, but has been administratively extended.

If you have questions about the CAFO permit program, please contact Doug Ashline at 518-402-8086 or send your question via email.

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