Fact Sheet:   Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
                                           Proposed Rulemaking
                                                  June 2006
EPA seeks comments on a proposed rule that would revise several parts of EPA 's
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Effluent Limitation
Guidelines for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The proposed
rulemaking is in response to the order issued in Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, (2nd
Cir. 2005).  This proposed rule furthers the statutory goal of restoring and maintaining
the nation's water quality and effectively ensuring that CAFOs properly manage manure
generated by their operations.


There are approximately  18,800 CAFOs in the U.S., which contribute up to sixty percent
of all manure generated by operations that confine animals. Poorly managed CAFO
operations may threaten water quality and public health by releasing pollutants into the
environment through spills, overflows, or runoff.

EPA initially issued national effluent limitations guidelines and standards for feedlots on
February 14, 1974 (39 FR 5704), and NPDES CAFO regulations  on March 18, 1976 (41
FR 11458). In February 2003, EPA issued a revised rule that focused on the 5% of the
nation's animal feeding operations (AFOs) that presented the highest risk of impairing
water quality and public health (68 FR 7176).  The revised rule expanded the number of
operations covered by the CAFO regulations to an estimated 15,500 and included
requirements to address the land application of manure from CAFOs. It required all Large
CAFOs, and all Medium  CAFOs that  discharge manure, litter, or process wastewater to
waters of the U.S., to apply for an NPDES permit. The rule became effective on April 14,
2003 and authorized NPDES states were required to modify their programs by February
2005 and develop state technical  standards.

After EPA issued regulations  in February, 2003, petitions for judicial review were filed
by CAFO industry organizations and by environmental groups. The petitions for review,
which were originally filed in several  different circuit courts of appeal by these
organizations, were consolidated into  one proceeding before the Second Circuit. The
Second Circuit's decision, which applies nationally, both upheld and vacated or
remanded provisions of the CAFO regulations.  This proposed rulemaking responds to
the order issued by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v.
EPA, 399 F.3d 486  (2nd Cir. 2005).

About this Regulation

This proposal would revise several aspects of EPA's current regulations governing
discharges from CAFOs. First, EPA proposes to require only CAFOs that discharge or
propose to discharge to apply for a permit. However, CAFOs that land apply manure,
litter or processed wastewater would not need NPDES permits if the only discharge from
those facilities is agricultural stormwater. The preamble to the proposed regulation
provides language describing factors that may result in discharges from CAFOs that
operators should consider in determining whether to seek permit coverage.

Second, EPA proposes to require greater public participation in the issuance of an
NPDES permit by requiring CAFOs seeking coverage under a permit to submit a facility-
specific nutrient management plan (NMP) with their permit application or notice of
intent.  Permitting authorities would be required to review the plan and allow the public
meaningful review and comment on it.  Permitting authorities would also be required to
incorporate terms of the NMP into the permits as enforceable elements.  The proposed
rule lays out a process for including these facility-specific provisions in general permits.

Finally, EPA is proposing to remove the 100-year, 24-hour storm containment structure
standard for new large swine, poultry, and veal facilities,  due to  the lack of record
supporting this technology, and replacing it with a zero discharge requirement.  EPA
proposes to clarify that WQBELs are available in permits with respect to production area
discharges but are not applicable to permits for land application  areas at Large CAFOs.
Additionally, EPA proposes to clarify its selection of BCT for pathogens (fecal coliform),
and reaffirm its decision to set the BCT limitations for fecal coliform to be equal to the
Best Practicable Technology (BPT) limits established in the 2003 CAFO rule.

How to Get Additional Information

For additional information visit EPA's Office of Wastewater Management web site at
http://www.epa.gov/npdes/afo/revisedrule or contact Kawana Cohen at
cohen.kawana@epa.gov or (202) 564-2345.

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