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Water Quality General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: Do I Qualify?

CAFO definitions, coverage limitations, authorization process for CAFO general permits.

new_tiny.gifOn July 2, 2014, the Commission adopted a renewal and amendment of General Permit No. TXG920000, which authorizes manure, sludge and wastewater discharge into or adjacent to water in the state only during chronic or catastrophic rainfall or catastrophic conditions by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The permit provides coverage for both Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and State-only CAFOs.

The fact sheet contains additional information about the general permit. Permittees currently authorized under the previous general permit must submit a renewal Notice of Intent prior to January 16, 2015.

Other related documents:

Defines "concentrated animal feeding operation" (CAFO), based on the type or types of animals on site and the number of each type of animal on site.

An animal feeding operation (AFO) is a lot or facility, other than an aquatic animal production facility, 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 in which the animal confinement areas do not sustain crops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility.

If you are starting a new concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) that requires a water quality permit, consider these limitations to see if you qualify for coverage under general permit TXG920000Adobe Acrobat PDF Document. (Help with PDF.)

If any of these statements is true, your CAFO does not qualify for this general permit and must obtain coverage under an individual permit:

  • Your CAFO is within one mile of coastal natural resource areas.

  • Your CAFO is a dairy CAFO and in Segment 1226 or 1255 of the Bosque River watershed (which are a major sole-source impairment zone).

  • Your CAFO is, or will be, in the protection zone of a sole-source surface drinking water supplyAdobe Acrobat PDF Document.

  • Your CAFO is in an impaired watershed where the total maximum daily load (TMDL) plan requires water quality protection measures more stringent than those required by this general permit.

  • Your CAFO is required by our executive director to obtain and operate under an individual permit.

  • Your CAFO has a compliance history rating of “poor.” (See About Compliance Histories.)

If your CAFO qualifies for coverage under this general permit, the steps to follow to obtain coverage depend on whether your CAFO is renewing, new, or a significant expansion:

  • Renewing CAFO – an existing facility previously authorized under an individual permit, or the CAFO general permit, and applying for coverage under the general permit

  • New – a proposed CAFO facility that has not been constructed or an animal feeding operation (AFO) that expands to become a CAFO applying for coverage under the general permit

  • Significant Expansion – an existing facility currently authorized under the general permit, proposing to increase waste production by more than 50 percent above the maximum operating capacity stated in the notice of intent during the term of the general permit

  • Substantial Change - an existing facility currently authorized under the general permit, proposing to apply for a substantial change to the terms of the nutrient management plan of a large concentrated animal feeding operation under Texas water quality General Permit TXG920000.

When Must One Have a Permit?

The type and number of animals on site determine how an AFO is categorized under the rules:

Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)

An AFO with the following number of animals is designated as a large CAFO and is required to obtain a permit:

HeadAnimal Type
1,000 veal calves and cattle other than mature dairy cattle
700 mature dairy cattle
2,500 swine weighing over 55 pounds
10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds
5,000 ducks (liquid manure handling system)
30,000 ducks (not using liquid manure handling system)
500 horses
10,000 sheep or lambs
55,000 turkeys
82,000 laying hens or broilers (not using liquid manure handling system)
30,000 laying hens or broilers (liquid manure handling system)
125,000 chickens (other than laying hens, if not using liquid waste handling system)

All large CAFOs must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ. If you do not qualify for the general permitAdobe Acrobat PDF Document, then you must obtain an individual permitAdobe Acrobat PDF Document. (Help with PDF.)

Medium CAFO

An AFO with the following number of animals that is located in the Dairy Outreach Program Area (Erath, Bosque, Hamilton, Comanche, Wood, Rains, and Hopkins Counties) is a medium CAFO:

HeadAnimal Type
300 to 999 veal calves and cattle other than mature dairy cattle
200 to 699 mature dairy cattle
3,000 to 9,999 swine weighing less than 55 pounds
750 to 2,499 swine weighing over 55 pounds
10,000 to 29,999 ducks (not using liquid manure handling system)
1,500 to 4,999 ducks (liquid manure handling system)
150 to 499 horses
3,000 to 9,999 sheep or lambs
16,500 to 54,999 turkeys
25,000 to 81,999 laying hens or broilers (not using liquid manure handling system)
9,000 to 29,999 laying hens or broilers (liquid manure handling system)
37,500 to 124,999 chickens (other than laying hens, if not using liquid waste handling system)

All medium CAFOs in the Dairy Outreach Program Area must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ. If you do not qualify for the general permitAdobe Acrobat PDF Document, then you must obtain an individual permitAdobe Acrobat PDF Document.

Small CAFO

Any AFO may be designated a small CAFO by the executive director because it is a significant contributor of pollutants into or adjacent to water in the state. Any AFO that is designated a small CAFO must obtain written authorization from the TCEQ. If you do not qualify for the general permitAdobe Acrobat PDF Document, then you must obtain an individual permitAdobe Acrobat PDF Document.

Other Animal Feeding Operations

AFOs not defined or designated as CAFOs are authorized by the permit by rule found in 30 TAC Chapter 321.47Exit TCEQ. If you are an AFO but not a CAFO, you must submit a notification form and comply with the permit by rule.If you need technical assistance with your AFO, contact the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation BoardExit TCEQ (TSSWCB) or the USDA Natural Resource Conservation ServiceExit TCEQ (NRCS).

All CAFOs must obtain written authorization from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Some CAFOs will qualify for general permits (HTML) while others will be required to obtain individual permits (HTML).

If you have questions, please see our Contact Page or e-mail us at CAFO@tceq.texas.gov.