Welcome to the State Water Resources Control Board - North Coast california environmental protection agency

Water Quality Compliance Program for Dairies & Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

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The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board regulates the Water Quality Compliance Program for Cow Dairies and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Approximately 150 dairies, housing about 50,000 cows are located on the North Coast. On January 19, 2012, the North Coast Region adopted the Dairy & CAFO Program permits. This program contains specific Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR): a permit for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES), a General Permit (GWDR), and a Conditional Waiver. These cover the management of process water, manure, and other organic materials at dairy operations including the application of such materials to cropland.

Permits - Dairy Program
Guidance Documents
Links to Important Agricultural Programs

Contact

If you have questions about the Dairy Program or wish to be receive information about involvement opportunities, updates or permitting development, please contact the following Regional Water Board staff:

Cow Dairy and CAFO Program Regulations and Requirements

On January 19, 2012, the Regional Water Board adopted the Dairy & CAFO Program permits:

General Order Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

I have a cow dairy in Region 1.  How do I know which permit to apply for?

The Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements is for existing cow dairies with a low risk of pollution discharge to surface and ground waters.  Also, these dairies must meet the requirements of the Waiver such as Title 27 minimum requirements in Attachment B of the Waiver Order.  All other dairies will need to enroll in the GWDR and comply with those requirements.  If the dairy has a regular discharge of waste to surface or groundwater, then please contact the Regional Water Board staff for help in meeting the NPDES permit requirements such as completion of a Nutrient Management Plan prior to NPDES permit enrollment.

What do I have to do first for my permit?

The Notice of Intent (NOI) form for the Waiver or GWDR is due to the Regional Water Board in Santa Rosa by April 30, 2012.  Please note that the GWDR requires that a fee be submitted with the NOI.  Next, if your dairy is covered under the Waiver, then a Water Quality Plan (Waiver Appendix 1) is due to the Regional Water Board by November 30, 2012.  If your dairy is covered under the General Waste Discharge Requirements, then the dairy must complete and be implementing their Waste Management Plan and  Nutrient Management Plan by January 19, 2013.  Surface water quality sampling under the Waiver and GWDR begins during the rainy season of 2012-2013. 

I don’t have a cow dairy. Do I need a permit?

The Waiver and GWDR are written for cow dairies in Region 1 only.  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) only need to get a NPDES permit if identified as discharging to surface or groundwater. See the NPDES permit for a list of animals included under definitions page I- 3 and I-4 under Large or Medium CAFOs.  Note that goats are not included in the CAFO definition list.  However, some goat dairies may be required to have individual Waste Discharge Requirements if identified by the Regional Water Board staff and if the operation has a potential discharge of waste to surface or ground water.

How do I find out what Region my property is in?
               
To see if your facility is within Region 1, please visit  
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterboards_map.shtml
Enter your address in the bottom text box titled “To find the Regional Water Board for a particular location, click on the map or enter a street address:” then press “Go!”  The appropriate Regional Water Board information will pop up.

How can I get help filling out forms for the dairy permit?

Several workshops will be held throughout the Region.  The first workshop was held by the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program.  This first workshop for dairy operators was held in Ferndale on April 3 and 4, 2012, and in Rohnert Park on April 12, 2012 and provided basic information plus help in filling out the Notice of Intent forms to enroll in the new dairy program.  If you did not receive an announcement in the mail regarding the first workshop, please contact us to be placed on the mail delivery list.  The next phase of workshops for dairy operators is tentatively planned for the week of June 10 in Sonoma County and the week of June 17 in Humboldt County.   These next workshops will cover documents needed for the November 30, 2012 and January 19, 2013 deadlines such as water quality sampling, mapping, best management practices, the Water Quality Plan, Waste Management Plan, and Nutrient Management Plans.  For additional help in filling out forms, please call the Regional Water Board staff at (707) 576-2220, or your local NRCS, RCD, Farm Bureau, California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, or dairy representative. 

Finding a Specialist

April 2013 News

A Dairy Program item is on the agenda for the May 2, 2013, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board meeting at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka beginning at 9:00 AM:

“Item 2. Consideration of Resolution No. R1-2013-0026 In Appreciation of the North Coast Dairy Community and Interested Parties for their Contributions to the North Coast Dairy Program in the Protection of Water Quality.”

This item consists of a one page Executive Officer’s Staff Report (EOSR) explaining the Dairy Program and a 2 page resolution thanking local communities and agencies for their help, cooperation, and conveyance of concerns in developing the Dairy Program.  At the board meeting, the Executive Officer and Board members will introduce the resolution and read it aloud.  No staff presentation will be given.  Staff recommends that the board members adopt and sign the resolution of appreciation.  After that time, the signed resolution will be available for all who would like a copy.  Some copies will be mailed to key parties that contributed to the dairy program.

March 2012 News

On March 2, 2012, a Program Enrollment informational letter was sent to North Coast cow dairies. This letter notifies the operators of the requirement to enroll under one of the three permits by filling out the enclosed Notice of Intent and submitting to us by April 30, 2012. A copy of the fee schedule required for GWDR enrollment was attached. Please note that page 2 of the fee schedule explains a 50% fee reduction for facilities that are certified under certain Quality Assurance Programs.

On March 15, 2012, Regional Water Board staff presented the components of the Dairy and CAFO workplan designed to implement this program.  A general schedule for staff tasks, discharger enrollment deadlines, and submittal of plans for the protection of water quality was presented.  This was an information item only.  The agenda, meeting minutes, and an audio recording of “Item 12:  Workplan for Regulatory Program for Waste Discharges from Dairies and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the North Coast Region” can be found on our website at:

The March 15, 2012, slide presentation can be found at:

January 2012 News

On January 19, 2012, the Regional Water Board adopted the Dairy & CAFO Program permits.  To listen to the audio recording of the Board meeting, please click the electronic Agenda below and scroll down to Dairy Item 9:

Audio

Slides

November 2011 News

On November 3, 2011, Regional Water Board staff presented the three draft dairy Orders under Workshop Item 7 of the board meeting agenda: Regulatory Program for Waste Discharges from Dairies in the North Coast Region.  To hear the audio recording of the staff presentation, please visit the following web link:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/board_info/board_meetings/11_2011/

To review the Public Hearing Notice and draft documents as distributed for public comment from October 23 through December 5, 2011, please click on the links listed under October 2011 News below.  Please note that these draft documents below are dated October 2011, and do not reflect changes in response to public comments.

October 2011 News

A Public Notice has been distributed and posted to our website for proposed regulation of cow dairies on the North Coast. The three draft dairy Orders will be open for public comment between October 24 and December 5, 2011. On November 3, 2011, Regional Water Board staff will present the three draft dairy Orders under Workshop Item 7 of the agenda: Regulatory Program for Waste Discharges from Dairies in the North Coast Region.

A public hearing to consider comments and objections to the proposed permit is scheduled for January 19, 2012, at 8:30 a.m., in Santa Rosa, California, or as announced in the Regional Water Board’s agenda. At the public hearing, the Regional Water Board will consider whether to affirm, reject, or modify the proposed Orders. The meeting will be held at the Regional Water Board’s Office, located at 5550 Skylane Boulevard, Suite A, Santa Rosa, California.

The three draft dairy Orders are:

Proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements Order and General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
Order No. R1-2012-0001

Proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Existing Cow Dairies
Order No. R1-2012-0002

Proposed Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Existing Cow Dairies
Order No. R1-2012-0003

Regional Board Meeting - May 5, 2011

On May 5, 2011, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff gave an informational presentation on progress towards developing a Regulatory Program for Waste Discharges from Cow Dairies in the North Coast Region. The last presentation to the Regional Water Board on this topic was in January 2011.
Since January, staff has developed draft permits and waivers and draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documents. Staff provided an overview of the draft permits and waivers and discussed preliminary feedback received from meetings with stakeholders.

The Powerpoint presentation for this Regional Water Board Meeting item is available here:

The following comparison table of common elements of the three dairy permit types was discussed during the presentation:

You may listen to a recording of the May Board Meeting Item by clicking on the following link, scrolling down to Item 8 for Dairies, then clicking on "Audio Recording for Item 8":

Regional Board Meeting - January 27, 2011

On January 27, 2011, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff gave a presentation on upcoming regulation of milk cow dairies in Region 1 through permits and waivers. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (Federal NPDES) permits, General Waste Discharge Requirements (State GWDRs), and a conditional Waiver of WDRs was discussed. Stakeholder involvement and public participation was highlighted. The tentative schedule includes continuing to work with stakeholders while drafting the permits for review. The public review of the GWDRs and the Waiver will take place per California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. The NPDES permit is planned to be ready for public review during the same time period. Regional Water Board adoption may take place as early as Fall 2011. You may listen to a recording of the January Board Meeting Item by visiting our website at:

This link will take you to the January Board Meeting Agenda.  Just scroll down to Item 11 Milk Cow Dairy Workshop:  Presentation on future regulation through permits and waivers.
The Powerpoint presentation for this Regional Water Board Meeting item is available here:

Board member handouts included:
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans for Animal Feeding Operations Factsheet written by the Natural Resources Conservation Service

North Coast Dairy Program -  Stakeholder Involvement Chronology

CEQA Public Scoping Meeting - January 12, 2011

On January 12, 2011, Regional Water Board staff held a Public Scoping Meeting per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to seek input on the environmental information that should be considered in the development and adoption of a proposed Regulatory Program for Waste Discharges from dairies in the Region. Written comments should be submitted no later than February 11, 2011. Please see more information below:

An introduction of the Dairy Program was mailed to dairies and interested parties starting in December 2010. The letter and Dairy Contact Form can be viewed below:

Public Workshop - Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements, General Waste Discharge Requirements, and NDPES General Permit

Dates:

July 20, 2010

July 22, 2010

Time:

6:00 to 9:00 pm

6:00 to 9:00 pm

Address: 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
DCJ Room
5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Agricultural Center Auditorium
5630 Broadway Street
Eureka, CA

Agenda (pdf, 27 Kb)

A Powerpoint presentation that was presented at these two public meetings is available here

Development of Regional Permitting for Dairies

Regional Water Quality Control Boards are required by the State Nonpoint Source Policy to develop permits for all nonpoint source discharges associated with dairy activities in the North Coast Region. Federal regulations require that dairies meet certain criteria and those that discharge or may discharge waste to waters of the United States need to obtain federal permits. To meet these mandates, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff (Regional Water Board) has initiated the development of:

  • A draft general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO).  
  • A draft General Waste Discharge Requirements (GWDRs) for Dairies.
  • A draft Conditional Waiver of General Waste Discharge Requirements (Waiver of GWDRs) for Dairies.

At the January 21, 2010, Regional Water Board meeting, staff presented reasons for regulating dairies in the North Coast Region including concern for nutrient enrichment of surface and ground waters, the need to address the timing and distribution of waste disposal in a more structured fashion, and the federal regulations that need to be enforced at the State level. Below is the link to materials related to this January 2010 meeting:

Information specific to each Dairy Program process is provided below and will be periodically updated. This information may change over time as we progress through the program and permit development.  Proposed regulation includes self identification by dairies of eligibility under one of the following permit mechanisms:

The general NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) - regulations were finalized in October 2008 by the federal government.  This permit will be designed to cover the largest dairies in the region.  Regional Water Board staff is drafting a NPDES general permit for CAFOs that discharge or propose to discharge wastewater.   The following link provides Information on who would need to obtain coverage under this type of permit.  Staff intends to include General NPDES storm water permit coverage in this permit as well.

General Industrial Storm Water permit – These federal NPDES permits are required for storm water discharges from certain industrial process areas.   Permit coverage can be obtained under the statewide General NPDES Industrial Storm Water Permit or under the CAFO permit described above. 

General Waste Discharge Requirements (GWDRs) – Dairies that have discharge issues and need to make substantial improvements may be covered under this permit.  Reduction or prevention of discharge to surface waters will be especially important in TMDL-listed watersheds. More TMDL information can be found at:

Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (Waiver of WDRs) - Dairies that  can meet minimum water quality criteria and do not pose a significant threat to water quality may qualify for a Conditional Waiver of WDRs.  Qualifications may include: developing a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP), being located outside of a nutrient-impaired watershed, and the meeting of operational standards for dairy industry management .

Individual Waste Discharge Requirements - Individual WDRs are written for unique dairies with special water quality challenges that do not fall under the other permit categories.  Few, if any, dairies are expected to be under this category once the other Waste Discharge requirements are adopted.

No regulation – Very small dairies with just a few cows or no cows (just goats for instance) might not be regulated because of herd size or if there is no discharge of waste to surface or ground waters.    A maximum number of milk cows or certain management criteria for these unregulated dairies will be determined during the development and adoption of the permit process.

Contact: 
If you have questions about the Dairy Program or wish to be receive information about involvement opportunities, updates or permitting development, please contact

Cherie Blatt, Regional Water Board staff, (707)576-2755, cblatt@waterboards.ca.gov

Lisa Bernard, Regional Water Board staff (707) 576-2677, lbernard@waterboards.ca.gov

Mailing address:
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board,
5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Links to important Agricultural Programs

Since the adoption of the State Nonpoint Source Policy requires the Regional Water Boards to regulate all nonpoint sources of waste, most of the nine Regional Water Boards have dairy programs in place.  Links to the other regions' program websites as well as the State Water Resource Control Board website are provided below:


Email Subscriptions

To receive emails from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board as current information is distributed to our website, please request to be added to our email subscription list by visiting:
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions/reg1_subscribe.shtml


Updated November 21, 2014