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about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
for a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Contact information
For additional information about applying for a WPDES permit for your CAFO, please contact:
CAFO intake specialist

First-time CAFO WPDES permit applications

If your operation has 1,000 animal units (AU), your operation is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and you must obtain a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit (WPDES) from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

WPDES permit applications

If you would like instructions and forms emailed to you or sent to you via the post office, please use the DNR addresses.

Application timeline, process and requirements

For an overview of the permit application timeline and process, please review the CAFO WPDES application process flowchart [PDF].

  1. Preliminary application

    At least twelve months before your CAFO begins operations, you must submit a completed preliminary permit application. Your preliminary application includes owner contact information and detailed site information. The site information is required for every site your farm owns or manages, where animals are kept, and that share feed storage, manure storage, or acreage for manure land application. Animal unit calculations are also required for each site along with site maps. The site maps must clearly delineate existing and proposed structures and systems. Submittal information is at the bottom of this page.

    Within 30 days of receiving your preliminary application, your specialist will set up a site visit with you. After the site visit, the specialist will send you a letter listing your final application needs and whether your operation is eligible for a general or individual permit.

  2. Final application

    No later than six months after acceptance of your preliminary application by the DNR, you must submit your final permit application. Final application components include:

The DNR’s Permit FAQ will provide additional answers to your questions about application components.

Consultants and other permits

The department strongly recommends you hire water engineer consultants to help you complete the required forms.

Besides the WPDES Permit, there are normally other permits and approvals required for new or expanding dairies and other animal feeding operations. You will need to ask your local, county and state officials directly to get information about these other permits and authorizations.

Order application materials and information

  • Order by email by sending your request to the DNR CAFO intake specialist.
  • Order by mail by sending your written request to:
    CAFO Intake Specialist
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    PO Box 7185
    101 S Webster St
    Madison WI 53707-7185

Submittal information

Mail your preliminary application to the DNR at the above address at least 12 months before your operation becomes a CAFO.

Mail your final application to the DNR at the above mailing address no later than six months after the DNR determines your preliminary application complete.

Last revised: Thursday June 02 2016