As anticipated, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the “new” CAFO Permit (GP-0-22-001) on July 22, 2022. Although the current permit was set to expire on July 23, 2022, the DEC opted not to have the new permit become effective until January 23, 2023. Until that time, the expiring permit will be extended. It should be noted that the term of the new permit changed from a 5-year permit to a 10-year permit. As secure as 10 years may sound, the DEC stated that they can open the permit at anytime to make changes if they see fit.
So, how does an existing CAFO transition to the new permit? Your farmstead planner will prepare the required Request to Continue Coverage and Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) Certification forms for signature by both the farm owner and certified planner. The paperwork must be submitted electronically to the DEC at least 30 days prior to the effective date (1/23/2023) of the new permit. Electronic submission of all forms is one of the new requirements in the permit. The DEC will be providing us with further information and guidance on this process in the upcoming weeks. Within the 30-day time period, the DEC will review the paperwork so coverage under the new permit can commence on the effective date. If the DEC finds any deficiencies with the paperwork, they will notify the farm owner on what needs to be corrected.
Over the next few weeks, we will take time to fully acclimate ourselves to the changes in the new permit and communicate with you as to how they may impact your farm. For many of you, we don’t anticipate any significant change. Remember, it is important that you communicate with your farmstead planner. Don’t make assumptions. Ask questions and share your ideas and plans with us so we can make sure you are taking the appropriate actions to comply with the permit.
If your farm is planning for new barns, bunk silos or certain other structures, you may also be required to obtain a General Permit for Stormwater Discharges (SPDES Construction Permit). This requirement is often overlooked by farms and a number of facilities have been cited during CAFO inspections for failure to obtain the proper permits. The following is a summary of the requirements you should be aware of. They are also listed in your ECL SPDES General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. All CAFOs are required to have a copy of the permit at their facility or in their CNMP. It should be noted that the following requirements apply to construction activities at all farms, not just CAFO facilities.
To obtain coverage under the SPDES General Permit, you need to submit a Construction Permit Notice of Intent to your local DEC office. While this may sound confusing, it is important that you follow these requirements. Just keep in mind that if you are planning any construction activities on your farm, you should first check to see if you need to obtain any permits from DEC. If you are working with an engineer, they should know the requirements. You can also check with your local Soil and Water Conservation District. Your farmstead planner at WNY Crop Management Association can also give you guidance. If you still have questions, contact your local DEC office.