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), as follows:

Animal Feeding Operation -- A lot or facility where animals have been stabled, are currently stabled 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 crops, vegetation forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained over any portion of the lot or facility in the normal growing season.

In order for an AFO to be defined as a CAFO, there must be a specified number of animals confined at the operation:

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation --  In addition to the AFO definition above, (1) there are more than 300 animal units confined and there is a discharge to the waters of the commonwealth, or (2) there are more than 1,000 animal units confined. The majority of potential CAFOs in Kentucky fall under this latter category.

Animal equivalents for 1,000 animal units follow:

Beef -- 1,000 head of beef cattle
Dairy -- 700 head of dairy cattle
Swine -- 2,500 pigs, each weighing more than 55 pounds
Poultry -- 125,000 broilers or 82,000 laying hens or pullets

(NOTE:  Please direct any questions to the Surface Water Permits Branch at 502-564-3410.)

Permitting Requirements

Once defined as a CAFO, the operation can be permitted under either a KPDES General Permit or KPDES Individual Permit, depending upon the nature of the operation. All operations housing between 1,000 and 1,500 animal units are eligible for coverage under a KPDES General Permit with some exceptions:

  • CAFOs that are subject to an existing individual KPDES permit.
  • CAFOs greater than 1,500 animal units, which are required to submit an application for an individual KPDES permit.
  • CAFOs that the division director has determined may be contributing now or could be contributing in the future to a violation of a water quality standard or to the impairment of a 303(d)-listed basin. Such CAFOs are required to submit an application for an individual KPDES permit.
  • CAFOs that could discharge into surface water that has been classified as an exceptional or outstanding state or national resource water. Such CAFOs are required to submit an application for an individual KPDES permit.
  • To apply for a KPDES General Permit, a Notice of Intent must be submitted to the division along with any supporting documentation. There is no permit fee for a KPDES General Permit.
  • To apply for a KPDES Individual Permit, Form B and Form 1 must be submitted along with any supporting documentation and the permit fee. All operations that are greater than 1,500 animal units in size are required to obtain a KPDES Individual Permit.

Sample permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Applicable Regulatory Requirements for CAFOs

The KPDES regulations govern the permitting requirements and procedures for addressing CAFOs. Specific cites that should be adhered to are as follows:

Selected AFO/CAFO Definitions Note 401 KAR 5:002 Section 1 (11, 12 and 48)

Selected Application and Permit Requirements Note 401 KAR 5:060 Sections 4 and 10.

Final EPA NPDES CAFO regulations Published Feb. 12, 2003

Power Point overview Final EPA NPDES CAFO regulations (Kentucky specific)

Kentucky Division of Water Guidelines for Poultry Operations Revised May 6, 2003 (PDF document)

Other Animal Feeding Operations

For all other animal feeding operations employing a liquid waste handling system, the operation must obtain a state operational permit pursuant to 401 KAR 5:005. To apply for this Kentucky No Discharge Operational Permit (KNDOP), Short Form B must be submitted along with any supporting documentation. There is no permit fee for a KNDOP Permit.

Construction Permits

For any animal feeding operation (including CAFOs), regardless of size, that plans to construct a new or expand upon an existing liquid waste handling system, a Construction Permit pursuant to 401 KAR 5:005 must be obtained prior to the start of construction. To apply for a Construction Permit, Short Form B must be submitted along with any supporting documentation. There is no fee for the permit.

Applicable Regulatory Requirements for AFOs

The KNDOP regulations govern the permitting requirements and procedures for addressing AFOs. The following cite also applies:

KNDOP Regulation 401 KAR 5:005 (Agriculture Water Quality Act)

The Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Act (KRS 224.71-100 through 224.71-140) was passed by the 1994 General Assembly. The law focuses on the protection of surface water and groundwater resources from agriculture and silviculture activities. The act creates the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Authority (KAWQA), a 15-member peer group made up of farmers and representatives from various agencies and organizations. 

All farms (AFOs, CAFOs and other) greater than 10 acres in size are required to adhere to the Best Management Practices (BMPs) specified in the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan. Specific BMPs have been designed for all operations (e.g., BMP #17 for poultry operations). For more information regarding the KAWQA, see the Division of Conservation Web site.

Questions

If you have any 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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