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Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

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.



  • CNMP Certification (PDF) - To be completed by the CAFOs AEM Certified Planner and attached to all electronically submitted documents under GP-0-22-001.
  • Owner/Operator Certification (PDF) - To be completed by the CAFOs owner/operator and attached to all electronically submitted documents under GP-0-22-001.
  • Request to Continue Coverage Form (PDF) - The PDF of the Request to Continue Coverage Form is to be used for review purposes with the CAFOs owner/operator ONLY. This form may NOT be submitted to request continued coverage under GP-0-22-001. Please follow the instructions below to access the nForm Portal where the electronic version of this form is available. Signed copies of the CNMP Certification and the Owner/Operator Certification, available above, must be uploaded to the nForm before the form can be deemed complete and submitted.

To submit the CAFO ECL General Permit (GP-0-22-001) Request to Continue Coverage (RCC) Form electronically:
Users with an Account, should proceed to Step 1 below.
Users without Accounts, go to NYSDEC nForm Portal and follow instructions for Users Without Accounts.

  1. Go to and click "Create an Account"
  2. Click "Personal"
  3. Click the "Sign Up for a Personal ID" button
  4. Complete the Self Registration
    • Once complete, you will receive an email to activate your account
  5. Select three secret questions and a password
  6. Follow Steps 1 through 3 below
  1. For users that have accounts, access the NYSDEC nForm Portal.
  2. Click the "Log in to nForm" link or the blue nForm Login button, which will take you to the sign in screen and Sign In with your Username and Password. If you just created a new account, you will not need to sign in to again, just skip to Step 3 below.
    • If you forgot your username or password, this information can be recovered by clicking on Forgot Username? or Forgot Password? and then answering secret questions or through the email address that was used to create your account.
    • Once signed in to, go back to the NYSDEC nForm Portal and click on the "Log in to nForm" link or the blue nForm Login button.
  3. Once on the nForm webpage, click the "Finder" link to do a Form Search (search for "Request to Continue Coverage").
  4. Click on "CAFO Request to Continue Coverage" and follow instructions for completing the form.

  • 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 in order to use this system. User guides and help on registering for the portal are available on the portal information webpage.
    • 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


Program Contact

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

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