Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Draft SPDES ECL General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) GP-0-22-001

The Draft State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) General Permit for CAFOs is now available for public comment through February 18, 2022. For more information, including how to comment, view the January 19 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Draft SPDES ECL General Permit for CAFOs (GP-0-22-001) (PDF)

Draft SPDES ECL General Permit for CAFOs (GP-0-22-001) Fact Sheet (PDF)

CAFO General Permits History

A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is an animal feeding operation (farm) that meets certain animal size thresholds and that also confines those animals for 45 days or more in any 12-month period in an area that does not produce vegetation. New York State has roughly 500 CAFOs, the majority of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows and associated livestock operations.

DEC issued its first SPDES general permit for CAFOs in 1999, as required by federal regulations in place at that time. In response to a change in these federal regulations, the DEC issued a second SPDES general permit in 2009, the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) CAFO general permit. The ECL CAFO general permit was originally issued as a mechanism to ensure regulatory oversight of an industry that was largely about to be unregulated as a result of a federal lawsuit and subsequent change in federal regulations. NY developed and issued the ECL permit for farms which did not discharge in order to ensure best management practices and nutrient management plans would still be developed and implemented on our largest livestock farms. Since that time, NY's CAFO program has continued to operate by offering two SPDES General Permits for CAFOs.

Following the issuance of the initial ECL version in 2009, farms had a choice, to continue to operate under the 2004 CWA version of the permit which allowed for a discharge from the production area, or to transition to the more restrictive ECL permit, which did not. In 2009, many farms did not have in place the manure storage and/or other critical practices needed to ensure no discharge, so many elected to stay under the CWA permit. Since that time, the State had dedicated millions of dollars to farms to help them improve conditions at their facilities; has included additional requirements in permit revisions to help better define what farms are expected to achieve under each permit; and has hence seen a shift to the ECL permit.

Permits

Forms

The CAFO Notice of Intent and Annual Compliance Report can be completed online through the NYSDEC eBusiness Forms Portal (leaves DEC's website). Users must be registered with NY.gov in order to use this system. User guides and help on registering for the portal are available on the portal information webpage.

The following forms are needed to comply with the requirements of the ECL CAFO general permit:

  • Notice of Intent - The NOI is a request for coverage under the ECL CAFO general permit. A completed NOI must be submitted to DEC in order to gain coverage under the ECL CAFO general permit. The NOI can be completed either online or in paper format.
    • Online NOI: The online NOI is completed through DEC'S eBusiness Forms Portal (leaves DEC's website) Users must be registered with NY.gov in order to use this system. User guides and help on registering for the portal are available on the portal information webpage. Click to go to the eBusiness Port
    • Paper NOI (PDF)
  • Notice of Termination (PDF) - The NOT is a request to terminate coverage under the ECL CAFO general permit.
  • Annual Compliance Report - The ACR must be submitted to DEC by March 31 of each year and must describe facility operations from the previous calendar year. The ACR can be completed either online or in paper format.
    • Online ACR: The online ACR is completed through DEC'S eBusiness Forms Portal Users must be registered with NY.gov in order to use this system. User guides and help on registering for the portal are available on the portal information webpage.
    • CAFO CNMP Planner Certification Form (PDF) for the eAnnual Compliance Report - This form is used as part of the "Required CNMP Components" section when preparing and submitting the eAnnual Compliance Report. This form is not used if submitting the paper version of the ACR.
    • CAFO CNMP Owner/Operator Certification Form (PDF) for the eAnnual Compliance Report - This form is used as part of the "Owner/Operator Certification" section when preparing and submitting the eAnnual Compliance Report. This form is not used if submitting the paper version of the ACR.
    • Paper ACR (PDF)
  • Change of Operation Form (PDF) - The Change of Operation form must be submitted to DEC whenever a facility is transferred to another legally responsible party, the on farm contact changes, the size of the facility changes, two separately operated CAFOs consolidate, the facility constructs or expands a liquid waste storage structure of greater than 1 million gallons, or any other situations specifically outlined in the permit.
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan Certification (PDF) - CAFOs seeking coverage under the ECL CAFO general permit must submit this certification to DEC with the Notice of Intent. Owners/operators of CAFOs permitted under the ECL CAFO general permit must submit this certification to DEC within 6 months of acquiring an AFO or CAFO operation.
  • Incident Report Form (PDF, 57 KB) - This form must be submitted to DEC in accordance with the timeframes specified in the permit whenever a discharge from the CAFO causes a water quality violation, an overflow occurs from a waste storage structure, or any of the conditions related to the discharge of Non-Contact Cooling Water are not met.

Supplemental Documents

Guidance

Program Contact

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


More about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: