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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Delaware’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Regulations Receive EPA Approval

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Contact:  Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
              Mark Davis, Delaware Department of Agriculture, 302-698-4500

Delaware’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Regulations Receive EPA Approval

DOVER (Jan. 26, 2012) – Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Collin P. O’Mara and Department of Agriculture (DDA) Secretary Ed Kee today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved  amendments to Delaware’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations.

“Delaware’s CAFO regulations build on more than a decade of stewardship in the agricultural sector through the state’s nutrient management law and commission,” said Secretary O’Mara. “This would not have been possible without the collaboration and support of so many people – the Delaware Department of Agriculture, DNREC, the EPA and Delaware’s Nutrient Management Commission.”

 “Delaware has made significant strides in reducing nutrients from entering our waterways through efforts of the agriculture industry and the leadership of Delaware’s Nutrient Management Commission,” said Secretary Kee.

“EPA commends Delaware for achieving this milestone which provides important benefits to both Delaware’s waters and the agricultural community,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “The actions required by Delaware’s regulations significantly limit discharges of harmful pollutants to Delaware’s waterways.”

Delaware’s CAFO regulations control the discharge of pollutants from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) by requiring owners of designated poultry and livestock operations to take actions to effectively manage manure, litter and wastewater. Through the Clean Water Act and revised federal regulations, CAFOs must obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that limits a CAFOs’ discharge into surface waters. The permit requires CAFOs to develop nutrient management plans and implement best management practices on their farms, which every poultry operations is already doing.

The newly adopted amendments bring the state’s CAFO regulations into compliance with federal NPDES regulations and provide a framework for Delaware’s CAFO individual permits.

Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of Senator Tom Carper, Senator Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney commended all those involved in developing the regulations.

“Today’s news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Delaware’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations shows, once again, that the First State is a leader in nutrient management issues,” said Senator Carper. “Delaware’s leading nutrient management program, which I implemented as Governor, is a testament to our state’s unique ability to work together. A big part of what has made the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission and our nutrient management program distinct – and successful – is that it functions as a shared partnership between Delaware’s Department of Agriculture and Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. I know Delaware’s agricultural community, as well as our environmental community have worked hard to bring Delaware to this final step in the federal approval process. I congratulate them for a job well done and look forward to working together as Delaware continues to lead the nation in nutrient management.”

“Protecting Delmarva’s water and soil quality is vitally important to the health and well-being of the region and its economy,” said Senator Coons.  “Reaching this milestone is the result of hard work spanning more than a decade, and has resulted in regulations that I anticipate other states will look to in the future.  In addition to the staff at both the federal and state agencies who have worked on the CAFO regulations for so many years, both current and past members of Delaware’s Nutrient Management Commission deserve our thanks for their countless hours of work in an effort to find solutions grounded in both commonsense and good science.”

“Delaware farmers realize that the environment is one of our state’s most precious resources, and they have a long history of working to preserve it,” said Congressman Carney.  “Over the past decade, farmers, through the Nutrient Management Commission, have developed one of the most effective systems for controlling nutrient run-off and reducing its flow into Delaware waterways.  The EPA’s approval of the state’s new CAFO regulations is testament to their hard work.  I look forward to continuing to work with farmers, the EPA, and state regulators to further improve our regional water quality.”

The amendments were developed by DNREC, the DDA and the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission. They were presented to the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s environmental committee on Aug. 11, 2011, and a public hearing was held Aug. 25, 2011 to gather comment and input from interested individuals, groups, and stakeholders.

An updated Memorandum of Agreement signed in Dec. 2010 by DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and DDA Secretary Ed Kee outlines the implementation of the CAFO regulations. The DDA manages the day-to-day activities of the state’s CAFO program, while DNREC is responsible for promulgating, supervising and enforcing the regulations and issuing individual CAFO permits.

The regulations control nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment – from polluting Delaware’s waterways and will help achieve Delaware’s TMDLs for waterways throughout the state and TMDLs established by EPA for Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards that protect humans and aquatic life.

For more information on CAFOs and the regulations, visit DDA’s website,

Vol. 42, No. 18

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