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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Animal Feeding Operations and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Operations that are defined as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) pursuant to 401 KAR 5:060, Section 10, are required to obtain a Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) permit. In order to be categorized as a CAFO, an operation must first meet the definition of an animal feeding operation (AFO).

Animal Feeding Operation  (AFO) - means a lot or facility where animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of forty-five days or more in any twelve month period; and where crops, vegetation forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained over any portion of the lot or facility.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) 
If an Animal Feeding Operation does not discharge, or intend to discharge, the Cabinet shall not consider it a CAFO, regardless of size.  CAFO is defined as large concentrated animal feeding operation, medium concentrated animal feeding operation, and small concentrated animal feeding operation, and the requirements for each are found in 401 KAR 5:002.

Kentucky No Discharage Operational Permit (KNDOP)
AFOs with a liquid manure waste handling system are required to obtain a KNDOP to legally operate.  In order to apply for a KNDOP, a completed Short Form B must be submitted.  There is no fee for a KNDOP, which is valid for five years.  Dry waste systems are not required to have a permit.

Construction Permit (CP)
Anyone planning to build a liquid manure waste handling system must obtain a construction permit before beginning construction.  In order to apply for a CP, a completed Short Form B must be submitted along with the design criteria for the structure.  There is no fee for a CP, which is valid for one year.

Stormwater Permit for Construction (KYR10)
Agriculture cropping is exempt from obtaining a permit to control the quality of stormwater. However, a stormwater general permit, KYR10, is required for construction of holding ponds, barns, feeding areas or any activities that disturb one acre or more.  There is not a fee for KYR10 and it is valid for one year.

Agriculture Water Quality Act (AWQA)
Passed by the 1994 General Assembly, the AWQA focuses on the protection of surface and ground water from agriculture/silviculture activities.  The act created the Agriculture Water Quality Authority, a 15-member peer group made up of farmers and representatives from various agencies and organizations that developed Best Management Practices (BMPs) for farming activities.  All farms of 10 acres or more are required to adhere to the applicable BMPs and must have a site-specific Agricultural Water Quality Plan.  For more information regarding the AWQA, contact the Division of Conservation.

Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) 
AFOs are required to develop a NMP, whether they have a liquid manure waste handling system or not.  The plan must be consistent with the AWQA and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Code 590.

Applicable Regulations for Animal Feeding Operations
401 KAR 5:002 (
401 KAR 5:005 (

If you have questions regarding any of these permit requirements, or need clarification as it relates to your operations, please contact the Surface Water Permits Branch at 502-564-3410.

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