Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) General State Operating Permit

Who Needs One?

Any individual who operates a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) must have a Division of Water Resources issued CAFO Permit. Individuals who operate a Class I CAFO may need to apply for an individual NPDES permit.

What Information Must I Provide?

Applicants must submit the following information:

  • A completed "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) State Operating Permit (SOP) Application" (Form CN-1147).
  • A copy of a nutrient management plan for the CAFO that meets the requirement of the general permit
  • If liquid manure will be managed, a copy of the waste handling system plan that meets the requirements of the general permit
  • A USGS topographic map, county tax map, or soil map showing the acreage of the operation and the name of the nearest water body.

Notices of Intent and required attachments must be sent to both the Division of Water Resources and to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at the following addresses:

CAFO Notice of Intent
TDEC Division of Water Resources
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 11th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243


CAFO Notice of Intent
Water Resources
TDA-Ellington Agricultural Center
P.O. Box 40627
Nashville, TN 37204-0627

SOPC00000 Documents and Forms for SOP for Non-Discharging CAFOs

SOPCI0000 Documents and Forms for SOP for Medium-Sized (Class II)  CAFOs that manage liquid manure in open impoundments

SOPCE0000 Documents and Forms for SOP for 100% waste export Poultry Operations only

How Will My Application Be Processed?

Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) will review the nutrient management plan (NMP). Upon approval of the NMP, TDA will notify Division of Water Resources of their review and approval. Upon receipt of a complete permit application (NOI, NMP, and Closure Plan) and TDA’s approval of the NMP, the Division will send a notice of coverage to the operator of the CAFO. The issuance of a letter of coverage generally takes three weeks or less after receipt of the NOI form from the TDA.

What Fees Are Required?

There are currently no application or annual maintenance fees for the CAFO general state operating permits. There is an annual maintenance fee for the NPDES permit. Fees are specified in the Rules of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Water Resources, Water Quality Control Board, Chapter 1200-4-11 – Environmental Protection Fund Fees, available here.

What Are My Rights and Responsibilities After the Permit is Approved?

A permittee who has submitted an NOI and received permit coverage has the duty to comply with all provisions of the general permit. Coverage under a general permit does not relieve the permittee of the responsibility for damages to surface or ground water. CAFOs that intend to increase the number of animals to a level above that previously approved by TDA must have an approved updated system design prior to feeding the additional animals. Notification of change of ownership must be submitted to the Division of Water Resources. Facility owners are responsible for keeping records as detailed in the general permit. If the facility experiences any emergency that could impact the waters of the state, they must notify the Division as detailed in the general permit.

What Are the Division’s Rights and Responsibilities After the Permit is Approved?

The Division has the right to revoke, suspend, or deny the issuance of a permit to any applicant who violates the state statutes, departmental regulations, or terms of the general permit. Any person who violates or fails to comply with the state statutes, rules, or regulations may be subject to civil penalties.

Whom Do I Contact For Applications, Assistance and Other Information?

Applicants may obtain applications from any NRCS office, the TDA, or any TDEC Environmental Field Office.

Applicants may refer to the following publications for further information: