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about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
for a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Contact information
Ben Uvaas
Runoff management

General and individual water quality permits

The DNR has issued a general Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for large dairy Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with 1,000 to 5,720 animal units. An individual WPDES permit is still required for dairy CAFOs with more than 5,720 animal units and all non-dairy (swine, beef, poultry, etc.) CAFOs with more than 1,000 animal units.

General permit

Application process and requirements
The individual WPDES permit application requires an environmental review that is not required for the general permit.The rest of the application process, materials and level of DNR review are essentially the same for general or individual WPDES permit types. Large dairy CAFO general WPDES permit requirements [PDF].
The general WPDES permit is limited to dairy CAFOs with a record of compliance in protecting good water quality and meeting the following size or status requirements:
  • new or expanding dairy operations reaching or exceeding the 1,000 AU threshold for the first time, but not planning to expand beyond 5,720 AU;
  • currently permitted dairy operations with 5,720 animal units or less; or
  • currently permitted dairy operations expanding to 5,720 AU or below; and
  • at least 80 percent of the operation's AU falls under the dairy animal type. Information about animal type determination is available in the General Permit Fact Sheet [PDF].
Background information
You may find these documents helpful in understanding the development of the general WPDES permit:

Development of general permit for small and medium CAFOs

The DNR is working on the development of a general WPDES permit for animal feeding operations with fewer than 1,000 animal units that fail to manage water quality impacts. No date has been set for a decision on the issuance of that general permit and the public comment period has closed.

Last Revised: Friday May 17 2013