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.

Quick Links

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and Information  | Training, Guidance and Regulations  |  CAFO Facility & Ambient Fee Surcharge  | Other Websites  | Historical Documents | Questions or Comments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 Permit

On 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 Information

The following USEPA CAFO web sites are provided only as general information.

Training, Guidance, and Regulations

The 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.

CAFO Facility & Ambient Fee Surcharges

The 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.

Web sites listed in General CAFO Permit

Listed below are some of the web sites cited in the General CAFO Permit R7-2021-0029

Other Web sites

The web sites below are provided for information on other agencies in Imperial County.

Questions or Comments

Program Manager Contact Information
Kai Dunn
Colorado River Basin Region
73-720 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 100
Palm Desert, CA 92260
(760) 776-8986