National Enforcement Initiative: Preventing Animal Waste from Contaminating Surface and Ground Water

Beef cattle operation

Fast Fact

GAO's 2008 report on CAFOs, estimated that a 800,000 hog farm generates more than 1.6 million tons of manure annually—more than 1.5 times the sanitary waste produced in one year by the 1.5 million residents of Philadelphia, PA.


Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a subset of livestock and poultry animal feeding operations (AFOs) that meet the regulatory thresholds of number of animals for various animal types. Animals are kept and raised in confined situations for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period and feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise feeding in pastures, fields, or on range land.

At these facilities, live animals as well as mortalities, feed, and animal wastes may be congregated on a small land area. These operations generate significant volumes of animal waste which, if improperly managed can result in environmental and human health risks such as water quality impairment, fish kills, algal blooms, contamination of drinking water sources, and transmission of disease-causing bacteria and parasites associated with food and waterborne diseases.


EPA will take action to reduce animal waste pollution from livestock and poultry operations that impair our nation’s waters, threaten drinking water sources, and adversely impact communities.

Enforcement Cases

Note: This is a sample list of cases.


Progress on Preventing Animal Waste from Contaminating Surface and Ground Water

The following maps and charts show EPA's progress in reducing animal waste pollution from livestock and poultry concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) operations.

Map of large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) and EPA CAFO inspections and enforcement actions