Summary of Illinois EPA Rules Regarding CAFO's

  • On August 22, 2014, new rules became effective for Illinois EPA’s regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Illinois.  It is important to note that portions of the updated rules impact all livestock facilities, not just those required to have NPDES permits.

  • Illinois EPA has delegated authority from USEPA to issue federal water permits called National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits in the State of Illinois.

  • The rules are the result of a long rulemaking process before the Illinois Pollution Control Board, which was initiated by Illinois EPA to update the state’s CAFO rules to make them consistent with the federal CAFO rules.

  • Illinois agricultural groups, including Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association and the Illinois Beef Association, participated as the Agricultural Coalition in the rulemaking proceeding.  The process included several public hearings and comment periods, and took place over a couple years.

  • During the rulemaking process, in addition to receiving testimony and comments from the Agricultural Coalition, the Illinois Pollution Control Board also received the same information from environmental groups and Illinois EPA.

  • The updated rules can now be found in the IPCB’s regulations at 35 Illinois Administrative Code, Parts 501 and 502.

  • Part 501 includes the General Provisions for Agriculture Related Pollution:

    • Part 501, Subpart B includes the Definitions applicable in several of the Parts, including what constitutes a “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation” or an “Animal Feeding Operation”.

    • Part 501, Subpart C includes Operational Rules for All Livestock Management Facilities and Livestock Waste-Handling Facilities.  It is important to note that, as the title implies, these requirements are applicable to all livestock management facilities and livestock waste-handling facilities REGARDLESS of whether the facility is subject to NPDES permitting requirements.

  • Part 502 identifies which Animal Feeding Operations are subject to NPDES permitting requirements, provides State technical standards applicable to permitted CAFOs, and contains requirements applicable to land application from Animal Feeding Operations that are defined as large CAFOS and are permitted with an NPDES permit.

    • Part 502, Subpart A includes details regarding when an NPDES permit is required.

    • Part 502, Subpart B includes requirements for NPDES permit applications.

    • Part 502, Subpart C includes requirements for permit issuance and conditions.

    • Part 502, Subpart D includes requirements for the appeal and enforcement of permits.

    • Part 502, Subpart E includes requirements for developing and implementing nutrient management plans.

    • Part 502, Subpart F includes livestock waste discharge limitations and technical standards.

    • Part 502, Subpart G includes additional livestock waste discharge limitations for dairy cows and cattle other than veal calves, horses and sheep, and ducks.

    • Part 502, Subpart H includes new source performance standards for new swine, poultry and veal large CAFOs.

  • Not included in the new rules, at this point, is a requirement that livestock farmers register with Illinois EPA, providing specific details about their farms.   During the rulemaking process, the Agricultural Coalition successfully argued that the Illinois Pollution Control Board does not have the authority to require registration; that registration is not required in federal rules that govern livestock farms; and that Illinois EPA has indicated it does not want, nor does it need, a reporting rule.  Instead, Illinois EPA has its own system in place to handle identification and inspection of livestock farms.  The Illinois Pollution Control Board has opened a sub-docket in the rulemaking to address this specific issue at a later date.   Stay tuned for more information as that issue continues to develop.

  • These amended rules add to a list of other regulations applicable to livestock facilities in the state of Illinois.  The Illinois EPA also currently has regulations in place regarding field application of livestock waste (35 Ill. Admin. Code Part 560), runoff field application systems (35 Ill. Admin. Code Part 570), and release reporting systems (35 Ill. Admin. Code 580).

  • In addition to Illinois EPA rules, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, through the Livestock Management Facilities Act (LMFA) (510 ILCS 77/) and its applicable regulations (8 Ill. Admin., Code Part 900), currently has requirements regarding registration and notification of construction, lagoon construction, release reporting to Illinois EPA, handling and storage and disposal of waste (referencing Illinois EPA rules) in that waste management plans are required, odor control, certified livestock manager training and setbacks for construction.  

  • In addition, livestock producers who utilize United States Department of Agriculture-National Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) programs are required to follow a different set of stringent conservation standards.

  • Now that the rules are final, the Agricultural Coalition is working with Illinois EPA to find out the details of how Illinois EPA will interpret and enforce the rules.  The Agricultural Coalition is also developing training sessions and information to educate members of the various organizations on the details of the new rules.  Stay tuned for more information as it develops.