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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)

Who Needs CAFO Permit Coverage?  Regulations found at 40 CFR 122.23 define a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) as a point source that requires National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit authorization to discharge pollutants to waters of the U.S. Therefore, any CAFOs that discharge pollutants to waters of the U.S. must apply for permit coverage under the EPA Region 6 CAFO general permit for New Mexico which became effective on September 3, 2009, or the CAFO general permit for Oklahoma once it is final.

How to Apply for CAFO Permit Coverage:  For more information concerning eligibility and how to obtain NPDES CAFO permit coverage for CAFOs in New Mexico and Oklahoma, please visit the Region 6 Water Quality Division website.

Failure to apply for CAFO permit coverage: CAFO owners or operators that do not apply for NPDES CAFO permits operate at their own risk because any discharge from an unpermitted CAFO (other than “agricultural storm water”) and the failure to apply for an NPDES permit when one is required are violations of the Clean Water Act subject to enforcement action, including third party suits as indicated in the EPA Enforcement Alert issued in March 2009:

www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/newsletters/civil/enfalert/cafo-alert09.pdf

What to Expect When EPA Inspects Your Facility: This link takes you to the National Compliance Assistance Center's web page assisting animal feeding operations for compliance with the NPDES CAFO requirements.

Lagoon Certification Requirements:  The EPA Region 6 CAFO General Permits for New Mexico and Oklahoma require that lagoons be certified to have No Hydrological Connection (this link can assist you in making this determination).  Please note that Tech. Note 716 has been replaced by Animal Waste Management Field Handbook Chapter 10, Appendix 10D - Geotechnical, Design, and Construction Guidelines Exit EPA Disclaimer(March 2008).

Construction activities at CAFOs are not exempt from the Construction Regulations defined at 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14)(x).

The Office of Wastewater Management at EPA's Headquarters maintains a CAFO web site. Additional information is available at The Ag Center.

For more information, please call the Region 6 Public Information Center at 800-887-6063 and they will direct your call.

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