Palouse agriculture slice

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation General Permit

dairy cows feeding

After months of meetings with industry and interest groups, the preliminary draft Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) Permit is available for public review. The preliminary draft affords an extra opportunity for everybody to see the permit changes Ecology is considering before a formal draft permit is developed, which will be available in a separate public comment period.

Manure from facilities that confine large numbers of animals, such as cows, beef, poultry, horses, and others, can pose a threat to water quality. Under Ecology’s state and federal water quality responsibilities, we administer a general permit to protect water from manure discharge pollution from animal facilities. This permit is a combined National Pollutant Discharge Eliminations System (NPDES) and State Waste Discharge permit. Generally, a CAFO is a facility that confines animals for 45 days or more during any 12 month period in an area that does not contain forage or crops and that has or had a discharge. The actual federal CAFO rule definition is more detailed and may be found below. CAFOs that discharge to waters of the state are required to apply for permit coverage.

chicken farm

Washington’s CAFO permit expired in July 2011. We have begun the public process to update and improve the protections this permit provides to our water. As part of our process, we held listening sessions with stakeholders such as the livestock industry and environmental groups to gather input and hear concerns about an updated CAFO permit. We will convene more public involvement opportunities in the future.

Public Involvement

Preliminary draft permit

Public comment period: August 11 - October 2, 2015.

There is no formal response to comment on the preliminary draft permit.

Informational Presentation

Ecology held an informational webinar on August 11, 2015 about the preliminary draft CAFO permit.
Webinar recording


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toggle What is an Animal Feeding Operation (AFO)?

toggle What is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)?

Memorandum of Understanding between WSDA and Ecology (November 15, 2011)

Notice of Termination - Use to cancel your permit coverage.

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