Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

NOTE: These pages contain general information on the types of requirements that are included in NPDES permits issued to CAFOs. You must read the specific requirements in the NPDES permit issued to your CAFO to know exactly what you must do to comply.

What Does an NPDES CAFO Permit Require?

Performance Standards

NPDES CAFO permits include performance standards that apply to the production and land application areas. These include a prohibition on discharges and a requirement to develop and implement a manure management plan.

Prohibition on discharges

No discharges of manure, litter, or wastewater from the production area of a CAFO may enter waters of the state. Discharges are allowed only when

  • The production area is designed, built, operated, and maintained to handle all of the manure, litter, and process wastewater, including the runoff and direct precipitation (rain) from all normal rainfall events up to a 25-year, 24-hour rainfall event. For new swine, veal, or poultry operations, the production area must be designed to handle a 100-year, 24-hour rainfall event.
  • The discharge consists of only overflows caused by a rainfall event. Dry-weather discharges are not allowed.
  • The CAFO operator keeps the required records.

The permit also includes prohibitions on production area discharges resulting from improper mortality management and chemical disposal and from animals coming into direct contact with surface waters. In addition, no discharges may exceed Ohio Water Quality Standards.

For the land application area, the permit prohibits the following discharges:

  • Discharges from manure stockpiles.
  • Discharges during land application of manure.
  • Discharges from land applied manure, unless composed entirely of storm water or snow melt runoff from an area where land application was conducted in accordance with a manure management plan.

Permittees must report all discharges from the production area and some discharges from land application areas to Ohio EPA.

Part I, A of individual permits contain many of the above provisions.  See typical Part I, A permit language for a large CAFO [PDF 13K].

Manure management plans

Each CAFO must develop and implement a manure management plan (MMP) that minimizes the movement of pollutants to surface waters from the production area. The MMP must address the following aspects of the production area to ensure compliance with the discharge prohibition in the permit:

  • Specific practices to ensure adequate storage capacity to protect water quality, including provisions to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the storage facilities.
  • Practices for proper disposal of dead animals to prevent disposal in the wastewater treatment system and to prevent discharges of pollutants to surface water.
  • Practices to divert clean storm water away from production areas.
  • Practices to make sure that animals and manure in the production area do not come into direct contact with waters of the State.
  • Practices to ensure that unused and waste chemicals and other contaminants do not enter waste storage structures or storm water storage or treatment systems, unless the system is designed to treat the chemicals and other contaminants.
  • Provisions to conduct inspections and monitoring.

The MMP must also include a land application plan to comply with the land application requirements of the permit, including:

  • A total nutrient budget,
  • Manure and soil characterizations,
  • Application methods and timing that will minimize nutrient transport to waters of the state, and
  • Specific agronomic application rates.

The MMP must also include, as appropriate, specific conservation practices to be implemented to control polluted runoff from the entire operation. MMPs must periodically be reviewed and revised to reflect the current design and practices at the CAFO.  Part VII of the permits contain technical standards that the CAFO must comply with.  See Part VII language for a large CAFO [PDF 113K].