NPDES/SDS Permits – Deciding which one is right for you: This flow chart is designed to show requirements. Producers may opt to apply for an NPDES permit over an SDS permit if an SDS permit is technically all that is required. While the law/rule indicates when an SDS permit is required and an NPDES permit is not, each producer should spend considerable amount of time determining if they are comfortable with that level of risk. For example, NPDES permits for the protection from citizen lawsuits if a large storm events or accident causes a discharge. In reality, each site at the large CAFO level will be required to do the same things as far as record keeping, either as part of their NPDES permit or if they wish to claim the ag storm water exemption (if they only have a SDS permit) so the amount of work will be the same. Annual fees will be the same and the only difference will be the SDS permit will be good for 10 years versus the 5 years of the NPDES.
Animal Unit: "Animal unit" is a Minnesota statutory term that means a unit of measure used to compare differences in the production of animal manure that employs as a standard the amount of manure produced on a regular basis. An animal unit is calculated by multiplying the number of animals of each type in items A to I by the respective multiplication factor and summing the resulting values for the total number of animal units. For purposes of this chapter, the following multiplication factors shall apply:
Note: Some local governments use different calculations when permitting livestock facilities. If they choose to use values more restrictive than the state, check with your local county office to make sure this definition applies.
Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO): The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not use animal units to determine its CAFO definition, it utilizes actual ANIMAL NUMBERS. Any numbers of animals exceeding the following are considered CAFO’s.
Medium and Small Concentrated Animal Feedling Operations (CAFO): EPA also has definitions for Medium and Small CAFO’s, but this status is designated by the MPCA. If your feedlot is designated as a medium or small CAFO, then an NPDES permit is required.
Delegated County: Delegated Counties are counties delegated by the MPCA to administer the feedlot rules for all feedlots not requiring a federal NPDES permit or a Minnesota SDS Permit. The MPCA administers all feedlot rules for counties that are not delegated.
Counties that ARE delegated are as follows:
Sensitive areas defined in Minn. R. ch. 4410 are:
Shoreland: "Shoreland" means land, as defined in Minn. Stat. 103F.205, subd. 4, located within the following distances from the ordinary high water elevation of public waters: land within 1,000 feet from the normal high water mark of a lake, pond, or flowage; and land within 300 feet of a river or stream or the landward side of floodplain delineated by ordinance on such a river or stream, whichever is greater.
Zero Discharge: Many facilities are not a pollution hazard but do not meet the “zero discharge” standard. Zero discharge is 100% containment of all manure and process wastewater. Manure treated through a filter strip does not meet zero discharge
EAW Note: In determining if environmental review is required, several other considerations are taken into account such as expanding a feedlot more than once in three years and also if there are any other feedlots under same ownership using same manure acreage within the same geographical location. These determinations are made by the MPCA and should be taken into account by the producer, even though they are not included in this flowchart.
Note: This flow chart is for informational purposes only. Please contact your local county feedlot officer, county zoning administrator, and MPCA representative to determine exactly what information and requirements will apply to your situation.
Enter the Flow Chart
Livestock Development Team
Jim Ostlie, Livestock Specialist
Kelly Anderson, Livestock Specialist
Ag Marketing & Development Division