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Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Update on Lawsuit Challenging Clean Water Act (CWA) CAFO General Permit: On March 27, 2017, a group of petitioners filed a lawsuit against DEC challenging portions of the recently issued Clean Water Act CAFO General Permit (GP-0-16-002). DEC, in consultation with the New York State Attorney General's Office, is currently reviewing the petition and will file a response with the court by June 23, 2017. The CWA General Permit was issued on January 25, 2017 and will still become effective on July 24, 2017.

What is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)?

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).


Supplemental Documents

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

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