Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Permit
The Colorado River Basin Region (Regional Water Board) developed this web page to provide information on the State and Regional Water Board CAFO Programs and Regional Water Board General CAFO Permit.
Overview | General CAFO Permit | May 8, 2013 Public Workshop | R7-2013-0800 Annual Report & Discharge Forms | USEPA CAFO Regulations and Information | Training, Guidance and Regulations | CAFO Facility & Ambient Fee Surcharge | Other Websites | Historical Documents | Questions or Comments
The Concentrated Animal Feeding Program
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations define animal feeding operations (AFOs) as operations where animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period, and where vegetation is not sustained in the confinement area during the normal growing season [40 C.F.R. § 122.12(b)(1)]. There are approximately 31 AFOs in the Colorado River Basin Region. These AFOs include dairies, feedlots, heifer ranches and calf nurseries. All of these facilities are located in the Imperial Valley.
The NPDES regulations define a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) as any AFO that either meets a certain animal population threshold, or, regardless of population, is determined to be a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States by the appropriate authority [40 C.F.R. § 122.23(b)(2)]. All exiting AFOs in the Colorado River Basin Region meet the federal regulatory size thresholds to be defined as Large CAFOs. The Clean Water Act (CWA) states that all CAFOs are point sources, and thus discharges from CAFOs are subject to NPDES permitting requirements. CAFOs in the Colorado River Basin Region that discharge wastes to waters of the U.S. are subject to the requirements of this Order.
General CAFO PermitOn November 2, 2021, the Regional Water Board adopted R7-2021-0029 which contains the requirements for enrollment and coverage under the Regional Water Board General CAFO Permit.
Effective on April 1, 2022, any new or renewal CAFO will need to meet the requirements of Regional Water General Board R7-2021-0029, adopted on November 2, 2021, which contains the requirements for enrollment and coverage under the Regional Water Board General CAFO Permit. Existing and new CAFOs will need to submit a Notice of Intent.
USEPA CAFO Regulations and InformationThe following USEPA CAFO web sites are provided only as general information.
- Animal Feeding Operations Program Webpage
- General Information on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
- EPA Region 9: Animal Waste Management in California
Training, Guidance, and RegulationsThe following information is from the State Water Board and the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program. The State Water Program website provides general information on the State Program. The California Dairy Quality Assurance (CDQA) Program is a voluntary partnership between dairy producers, government agencies and academia to promote the health of consumers, the health of the environment and the health and welfare of dairy animals. The CDQA also provides third-party certification in Environmental Stewardship through its on-farm evaluation/certification program, certification will reduce annual facility fee.
State of California regulations on composting and Title 22 regulations (§§ 22560 – 22565 contain regulations for CAFO) are available on the State Water Board web sites.
- State Water Board CAFO Information
- California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
- California Dairy Quality Assurance Program – Environmental Stewardship Program
- Regulation of Composting Management Units
- Cal Recycle Regulations on Compostable Materials Handling Operations and Facilities Regulatory Requirements
- Title 27 Environmental Protection (Division 2) – Solid Waste
- Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Practice Standard – Nutrient Management
- 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 136 (Test Procedures for Analysis of Pollutants)
- California Department of Public Health Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program
CAFO Facility & Ambient Fee SurchargesThe annual fee for discharges from confined animal facilities shall be based on the type of facility, number of animals, and ambient fee surcharge. Annual billing occurs, unless you file an application to be covered under an individual permit or submit a request to terminate their enrollment under the CAFO Permit.
- State Water Resources Control Board Fee Unit
- State Water Resources Control Board Ambient Fee Surcharge
Web sites listed in General CAFO PermitListed below are some of the web sites cited in the General CAFO Permit R7-2021-0029
- SPAW tool from United States Department of Agriculture
- University of California at Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Analytical Lab
- Guidelines to Production Costs and Practices – Imperial County – Vegetable Crops
- Guidelines to Production Costs and Practices – Imperial County – Field Crops
- Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office – Agricultural Crop and Livestock Reports
- Imperial Irrigation District Title 22 Reports
Other Web sitesThe web sites below are provided for information on other agencies in Imperial County.
- Imperial Valley Air Pollution Control District
- Imperial County Public Health Department – Environmental Health & Consumer Protection Service
- Imperial County Planning Department Ordinances
- Local Solid Waste Enforcement Agency
- National Resource Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program
- NRCS Technical Resources
- NRCS Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan
Questions or CommentsProgram Manager Contact Information
Colorado River Basin Region
73-720 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 100
Palm Desert, CA 92260