United States Environmental       Office of Water          EPA-821-F-03-003
                      Protection Agency              4203M / 4303T          January 2003
                      FACT  SHEET
                      NPDES PERMIT REGULATION AND
EPA has published regulations for the Effluent Limitations Guidelines and the National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Regulations for Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This action will strengthen existing rules, remove ambiguity
about who is covered, and ensure the effective management of manure at the largest CAFOs.
The rule confirms the Agency's commitment to work with the agricultural community to
control pollution from the Nation 's largest animal operations while also supporting the vital
role of American agriculture in the U.S. economy. EPA and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture are partners in cleaning up America's waters, and we stand ready to help CAFOs
develop and implement appropriate nutrient management plans that protect water quality.

Why is EPA publishing this rule?
The livestock industry has undergone dramatic changes in the past 20 years. A trend toward fewer
but larger operations, coupled with emphasis on more intense production and specialization, is
concentrating more manure and other animal wastes in some areas. The runoff of nutrients in the
discharges from these facilities contributes to the pollution of our waterways. More and more of the
larger livestock facilities are in non-agricultural areas where there is not enough land for these
operations to use animal manure for fertilizer. EPA needed to update the regulations to protect water
quality and better reflect a changed industry. We were also required to take this action to fulfill a
1992 court-issued consent decree.

What does the final rule do?
This final rule simplifies and clarifies the existing regulations. It focuses on the largest operations
and the operations that pose the greatest environmental risk. It maintains the current NPDES
permitting structure (Large, Medium, or Small) and the criteria for when EPA or the state defines or
designates a Medium or Small Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) as a CAFO. The final rule
maintains or strengthens current requirements for reducing pollution discharges from production
areas and promotes innovation. Facilities must provide storage that will contain their manure plus
the wastewater from a major storm.

The rule also ensures that land application of manure by CAFOs appropriately uses nutrients
(nitrogen and phosphorus) for agricultural purposes. Other changes to the existing rule include:
   All CAFOs must  apply for an NPDES permit.
   All large chicken operations must apply for a permit.
   Large swine nurseries and heifer operations must apply for a permit.
   Facilities may elect to use innovative technologies and alternative management practices.
   CAFOs must implement nutrient management plans that include appropriate best management
    practices to protect water quality.
   CAFOs must submit annual reports summarizing key information about their operation.

How will this rule help the environmental and public health?
EPA estimates that every year this rule, when implemented, will remove 166 million pounds of
nutrients and 2.2 billion pounds of sediment loads from existing discharges. We also estimate that
emissions from large CAFOs of hydrogen sulfide will be reduced by 12% and from methane by 11%.
Economic benefits, which we estimate at $204 to $355 million, will include
    increased use of waters for recreation ($166 to $299 million a year)
    reduced nitrate contamination of private drinking wells ($31 to $46 million a year)
    better shellfish harvests ($0.3 to $3.4 million a year)
     fewer fish kills ($ 100,000 a year)
    cost savings for drinking water treatment ($1.1 to $1.7 million a year) and
    reduced loss of livestock to disease ($5.3 million a year)
Additional benefits for which we can not estimate monetary benefits include reduced eutrophication;
reduced fecal contamination; reduced human health and ecological risks from pathogens, metals, and
salts; improved soil quality; and reduced use of fertilizers.

How much will this rule cost?
The Agency estimates that CAFOs will spend $335 million annually to implement this final rule, and
governments (both federal and state) will spend $9 million a year to administer the revised program.
We expect that 3% of all large CAFOs may have to close as a result of the regulation.

How can I get more information?
You can find the rule and supporting information on the Internet by visiting
http://www.epa.gov/npdes/caforule. You can ask for hard copies of these documents by calling the
Office of Water Resource Center (202/566-1729). You can also ask questions or request documents
by calling the CAFO phone line (202/564-0766). You can find more information on USDA's website
at http://www.nrcs .usda. gov/programs/afo/.