The Maryland Department of the Environment's AFO Division helps protect the Chesapeake Bay, local waterways, and our drinking water from nutrient pollution from Maryland's largest agricultural animal operations. The AFO Regulations and General Discharge (GD) Permit for AFOs are just one part of a comprehensive, statewide effort to address all sources of pollution that are impairing our waterways: wastewater treatment plants, industrial discharges, septic systems, urban/suburban stormwater runoff, and air emissions from power plants, vehicles, and trucks. If you need to contact the AFO Division, call 410-537-3314.
a. 14AFA GD Permit
b. Notice of Intent (NOI) for current GD Permit (14AFA)c. How to fill out the NOI (English)d. How to fill out the NOI (Korean)e. How to fill out the NOI (Vietnamese)f. GD Permit Application Checklist
a. AFO Size Chart
b. Diagram to Determine if you need the GD Permit
c. Frequently Asked Questions
d. New Source Design Criteria
e. Setback Requirements and Approved Alternatives
f. New Poultry House Construction Permitting Timeline
g. USDA-NRCS Contact List
h. Catastrophic Poultry Mortality Guidance
a. Letter for AFO Withdrawal
b. Letter for AFO Transfer
c. Letter to Notify MDE of Substantial Changes
a. Nutrient Land Application Log Sheet
b. Weekly Storage and Containment Structure Inspections Log Sheet
c. Weekly Wastewater Facilities Inspections Log Sheet
d. Documentation for All Manure, Litter, and Wastewater Storage Structures
e. Manure Application Equipment Inspection Record
f. Manure, Litter, and Process Wastewater Transfer Record Form
g. Water Line Inspection Log
In accordance with Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.08.04.09N(k), the following person(s) have requested that the Department conduct a public hearing regarding the Department's approval of the listed AFO(s)' required plan(s):
Notice is given that the Department will hold (a) public hearing(s) regarding the approval of the required plan(s) at 6:00 PM on the following date(s) and at the following location(s):
Once you have determined that you are a CAFO or a MAFO, you must submit to MDE a NOI Form. CAFOs and MAFOs are also required to submit a comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) that is developed in accordance with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical standards OR a combination of a nutrient management plan (NMP) that is developed in accordance with the Maryland Department of Agriculture technical standards and your soil conservation and water quality plan (conservation plan). The required plan(s) must comply with the requirements in COMAR 26.08.04.09N(3)(b) and federal regulations in 40 CFR 122.42(e). DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU GET YOUR REQUIRED PLAN(S) TO SEND IN YOUR NOI if you are required to have permit coverage. To apply for assistance in obtaining a CNMP, contact your local NRCS office. Assistance with NMPs or Conservation Plans can be obtained from your district office.
In order to obtain coverage under the GD Permit, if you are a corporation, you must be registered and in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). The business or entity’s information provided in the NOI must match the information in the SDAT register.
When to Submit a NOI and Required Plan to the Department:
Maryland Department of the EnvironmentLand and Materials Administration1800 Washington Blvd., Suite 610Baltimore, MD 21230-1719
If you have any questions, please contact the AFO Division at (410) 537-3314.
The annual CAFO permit fees are currently waived. Please note that Maryland Animal Feeding Operations (MAFOs) do not require a fee.
Guidance in the Determination of AFO No-Land/Land Status:
The Department has published guidance to AFOs to assist them in completing their GD permit applications regarding whether they are a no-land or a land operation. No-land operations only grow animals and export their manure to another farm not under the control of the AFO owner or operator. Land operations grow both animals and crops, where the land application area where manure is applied is under the control of the AFO owner or operator, regardless of whether the manure is generated by the AFO operation or imported from another source. In making this determination, the AFO must verify whether the AFO owner or operator is in control of the land application area. The business structure of the AFO or the crop operation does not necessarily affect the no-land/land determination. This guidance can be found by clicking here.
MDE Requirements for New and Expanding Poultry House Construction:
Developing or expanding poultry AFOs involves several areas of MDE and local governments. To increase your awareness of important regulatory requirements, the AFO Division developed a list of MDE requirements during pre-construction, construction, and post-construction. This list can be found by clicking here. A chart showing the timeline for MDE permitting is available by clicking here. This chart provides contact information, links to each permit's website, and estimated times for preparation of the permit application and for MDE processing of the application.
Funding for best management practices (BMPs) to address resource management issues and to help farmers meet the new CAFO/MAFO requirements is available through both State and federal funding sources. State funding is available through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost Share Program (MACS) funded primarily by State water quality bonds. MACS funds targeting animal waste management Best Management Practices (BMPs) have also been provided from the Chesapeake 2010 Trust Fund recently. Farm Bill funding authorizations include creation of a Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI) which has recently doubled available USDA funding and funding increases are authorized. Local Soil Conservation Districts can provide the most current information about fund availability and assist with the required applications and related paperwork.
To start the process, contact your soil conservation district and they will guide you to the appropriate funding source.
Click on the links below for additional information
Maryland's General Discharge Permit for Animal Feeding Operations (General Discharge Permit 09AF, MDG01) has been upheld as a valid general permit by the Maryland courts. This removes uncertainty for AFOs that the GD Permit is legally sufficient. All AFOs that meet the requirements for needing coverage under the GD Permit should submit an NOI and the required plans, if they have not already done so. See Letter I (below) for more information on the history of the GD Permit. This GD Permit was renewed on December 1, 2014.
All concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that are registered under the "General Discharge Permit for Animal Feeding Operations" are required to submit their CAFO/MAFO Annual Implementation Reports (AIR) by March 1st of every year covering the previous calendar year.
For the last several years, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) have consolidated their respective annual reports for AFOs. Applicable livestock and poultry farmers will receive one consolidated AIR Form from MDA. Once completed, this AIR Form should be mailed back to MDA, who will, in turn, forward the AFO AIRs to MDE.
If your operation is required to submit an AFO annual report and you have not received it, please contact your local MDA field office. These forms and instructions are also available on the MDA website, www.mda.maryland.gov. Follow the "Nutrient Management" link.
MDE has developed guidance on how to handle catastrophic poultry mortalities here. This document provides a summary of the regulations and practices to be used in cases where a large number of chickens have died due to excessive heat, fires, or disease. Mortalities must be composted in facilities designed for that purpose. If these cannot accommodate a catastrophic mortality, MDE must be notified and give permission to compost in other areas, such as in poultry houses or manure sheds.
MDE has established new "approved alternatives" to the 100-foot setback standards required of CAFOs and MAFOs. As required under Maryland's AFO regulations and permit, MDE consulted with the MDA, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the University of Maryland Extension in their deliberations in establishing these approved alternatives. The alternatives will give CAFOs and MAFOs additional practices to use during the development of a farm's comprehensive nutrient management plan or nutrient management plan for application of manure. The "Setback Requirements and Approved Alternatives" document describes these alternatives.
Click here for the 2019 Maryland Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Container Recycling Program
The renewed GD Permit that became effective on December 1, 2014 was recently modified pursuant to the Department, Food & Water Watch, and the Assateague Coastal Trust's Consent Order and to clarify two other provisions of the GD Permit not subject to the Consent Order. These modifications were published as a Tentative Determination in the Salisbury Daily Times on March 3 and 10, 2016, the Queen Anne's Record Observer on March 4 and 11, 2016, and the Frederick News-Post on March 1 and 8, 2016. No comments were received and in accordance with COMAR 26.08.04.01-3 A(1) the Tentative Determination became a Final Determination on April 4, 2016.The GD Permit was modified as follows:
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230