Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Compliance Monitoring
- National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
- Pretreatment of Wastewater
- Oil Spill Prevention
- Industrial Storm Water
- Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
- Municipal Storm Water
- Wastewater Trading Program
- Discharge Monitoring Report - Quality Assurance
Under the Clean Water Act, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are defined as point sources. Operations that meet the regulatory definition of a CAFO may be regulated under the NPDES permitting program. The NPDES program regulates the discharge of pollutants from point sources to waters of the United States. The NPDES CAFO regulations describe which operations qualify as CAFOs, when a permit is required and sets forth the basic requirements that will be included in all CAFOs' permits.
EPA develops national enforcement initiatives that focus on significant environmental risks and noncompliance patterns . For Fiscal Years 2011 to 2013, and continuing through 2016, Preventing Animal Waste from Contaminating Surface and Ground Waters is a national enforcement initiative. The goal of the initiative is to reduce animal waste pollution from livestock and poultry operations that impair our nation’s waters, threaten drinking water sources, and adversely impact communities.
For information to help determine if you require a NPDES permit, EPA has prepared a Technical Manual for CAFOs.
EPA and state permitting authorities use several approaches to monitor compliance with environmental regulations.
- Inspections - EPA and state permitting authorities may periodically inspect facilities subject to these regulations. Inspections may be in response to a citizen complaint or tip, a result of a random selection, or targeting based on a state's targeting method. EPA and state permitting authorities conduct two main types of inspections at CAFOs:
- Inspections that help to decide whether a facility is a CAFO, and if it is discharging or has discharged to a water of the U.S., requiring a permit.
- Inspections to determine whether a permitted CAFO is in compliance with its NPDES permit.
- Permits, records, and reports - The permitting authority will monitor all information submitted, including an annual report.
- Self-audit and self-disclosure - Permittees are responsible for ensuring that a CAFO is always in compliance with the conditions in the NPDES permit. EPA encourages the use of its Audit Policy or Small Business Policy if a facility self-discovers it is in non-compliance.
EPA has put together a series of answers to commonly asked questions to help livestock and poultry operation owners and operators understand what to expect from EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) inspections (PDF) (5 pp, 296K, About PDF)