MDE/Federal Permits

MDE/Federal Permits


​Animal Feeding Operations

Maryland Animal Feeding Operation (MAFO) Permit

Large animal feeding operations (AFOs) that do not propose to discharge pollutants to waters of the state are required to apply for a Maryland Animal Feeding Operation (MAFO) permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). An AFO is a feedlot or facility where animals are confined, fed and maintained for at least 45 days in any 12 month period. Feed is brought to the animals, which do not graze or otherwise seek nourishment in pastures or fields. AFOs are classified by MDE as small, medium or large. A small or medium-sized AFO may also be designated as an MAFO and require a permit if MDE determines that it poses a risk to water quality.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Land Management Administration - Solid Waste Program 
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 605
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101 or 410-537-4423

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Permit

Medium or large animal feeding operations that propose to discharge pollutants, including but not limited to manure, poultry litter or process wastewater to waters of the state are required to apply for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment. CAFOs are animal feeding operations with 37,500 or more animals per flock of chickens with dry manure handling; 25,000 or more laying hens with dry manure handling; 200 or more dairy cattle; 300 or more cattle (including heifers); 750 or more swine weighing more than 55 pounds; or 3,000 or more swine weighing less than 55 pounds. The regulations also include limits on the numbers of horses, veal cattle, sheep, lambs, ducks and turkeys.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Land Management Administration - Solid Waste Program
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 605
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101 or 410-537-4423

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Animal Waste Storage Structure Construction Notification

Required if you plan to construct an animal waste or manure storage structure.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Industrial Discharge Permits Division
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 537-3323

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​Nontidal Wetlands Permits, Exemptions and Mitigation

Because of the ecological importance of wetlands, a permit or letter of exemption is required for activities that change or destroy wetlands. Although certain agricultural and forestry activities are exempted from the permit process, insome cases, mitigation and best management practices (BMPs) may be required.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Nontidal Wetlands Division
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101, Ext. 3772

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​Pond Construction

State approval is required for all ponds planned in Maryland. A federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit and Water Quality Certification may also be required. Generally, a pond that does not affect Class III natural trout waters may be exempted from state approval and authorized by the local SCD if it has less than 640 acres of drainage area; an embankment that is less that 20' high; and is a low-hazard structure, whose failure is unlikely to cause loss of life or property damage.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Dam Safety Division
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 537-3538

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​Section 401 Water Quality Certification

Validates the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit by certifying that a project will not impact Maryland water quality standards. Required if you intend to alter a floodplain, waterway, tidal, or nontidal wetland. Agricultural activities that may require this approval include ponds, spring developments, and livestock crossings.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Wetland and Waterway Program
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101, Ext. 3772

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​Sewage Sludge Utilization Permit

Required if you plan to transport sludge or apply it to land. Sludge application, however, is usually performed by a contractor. In these instances, the contractor is required to obtain this permit.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Solid Waste Program
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 537-3375

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​State/Federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit

Required for discharges of more than 10,000 gallons of water a day within a one-month period, or any discharge of waste to surface or groundwater. Agricultural activities which may require this permit include animal waste facilities, aquaculture operations, crop irrigation, and large concentrated animal feeding operations.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Water/Wastewater Permits Program
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 537-3323

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​Surface Mine Permit/License

To ensure proper development of the state's mineral non-fuel resources and adequate land reclamation, authorization is required for excavation activities in excess of one acre that result in the off-site transport of minerals. Any non-fuel earthen material--including sand, gravel, stone, clay and topsoil--is considered a mineral.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Mining Program
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101, Ext. 3772

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​Tidal Wetlands License/Permit

Tidal wetlands are open waters and marshes influenced by the rise and fall of the tide. Because of the importance of wetlands, a permit, license, or other approval is required for any work that may change a tidal wetland. Agricultural activities that may require this authorization include dredging and shoreline erosion control measures, such as bulkheads and marsh creation projects.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Wetland and Waterway Program
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101, Ext. 3772

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​Toxic Materials Permit

Required if you plan to apply toxic substances to manage aquatic life in state waters. Examples include mosquito, fish, weed or algae control.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Industrial Discharge Permits Division
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 537-3323 

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​U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of dredged, excavated, or fill material in wetlands, streams, rivers, and other U.S. waters. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the federal agency authorized to issue Section 404 Permits for certain activities conducted in wetlands or other U.S. waters. Depending on the scope of the project and method of construction, certain farming activities may require this permit. Examples include ponds, embankments, and stream channelization. Note: A general permit is pending which would give the State the lead for most general 404 permits, enabling this function to be handled during the state permitting process. Contact your SCD for more information.

Issuing Agency
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore District
Baltimore, MD 21203
(410) 962-3670

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Water Appropriation and Use Permit

Required if you plan to withdraw more than 10,000 gallons of water a day based on an annual average withdrawal, from surface or underground waters for agricultural activities.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Water Rights Division
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 537-3591

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​Waterway Construction Permit

Required before construction can begin on any project--such as fill, buildings, bridges, or culverts--that changes the course, current, or cross-section of a stream or its 100-year floodplain. Agricultural activities that may require this permit include drainage outlets, ponds, and dams. A general permit may allow BMPs such as livestock crossings and spring developments if certain guidelines are met.

Issuing Agency
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
Wetland and Waterway Program
1800 Washington Blvd 
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101, Ext. 3772​

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