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Ohio's Waters

Protect Ohio's Water from Factory Farm Pollution

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory farms) have severe social, economic, and environmental impacts both to their immediate neighbors and around the state. Ohio's drinking water, rivers and lakes are at risk from giant, corporate-owned factory farms. Animal feeding operations, many of which confine thousands of animals in facilities, produce staggering amounts of animal waste -- 500 million tons per year. Too often, this waste leaks into our rivers and streams, fouling our air, contaminating our drinking water, and spreading disease. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hog, chicken, and cattle waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. There are about 125 of these operations in Ohio.

About Our National Campaign:
The Sierra Club's campaign to protect America's water from factory farms -- one of the organization's four national priority campaigns -- is committed to keeping factory farm pollution out of America's drinking water, lakes, and rivers, and eliminating the threats that CAFOs pose to our public health and rural heritage.
To find out more about the national campaign, please click here.

Latest News

Don't let the fox guard the hen house!
The EPA is ready to approve Ohio EPA's request for Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to administer the water pollution program for factory farms.  The Sierra Club Ohio Chapter opposes the transfer of water pollution permit authority due to serious concerns over ODA program deficiencies and the tremendous impacts CAFOs have on public health and water quality.  See our comments for more information.  

Take action today
and let the EPA know that you want strong protections for our health and environment.  The comment period ends December 16, 2008. 



(From the Ohio Administrative Code Sec. 901:10)

Animal Feeding Facility: A lot, building, or structure where the following conditions are met:

  • Agricultural animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12 month period, and
  • Crops, vegetative forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot, building, or structure.
  • “Animal feeding facility” also includes land that is owned or leased by or otherwise is under the control of the owner or operator of the lot, building, or structure and on which manure originating from agricultural animals in the lot, building, or structure or a production area is or may be applied.

(From the Oklahoma Concentrated Feeding Operations Act of 1997, formerly the Oklahoma Feed Yards Act of 1991.)

Animal Unit (AU): 1 AU=

  • 1 slaughter or feeder, or
  • 0.7 mature dairy cattle (whether milk or dry cows), or
  • 2.5 swine over 55 lbs., or
  • 0.5 horses, or
  • 10 sheep or lambs, or
  • 30 laying hens, or
  • 100 broiler chickens, or
  • 55 turkeys, or
  • 5 ducks.

Concentrated Feeding Operations: An Animal Feeding Operation with 1,000 or more AU. It is also considered CAFO if:

  • Pollutants are discharged into waters of the US through a man-made ditch, flushing system or other similar man-made device, or
  • Pollutants are discharged directly into navigable waters which originate outvside of and pass over, across or through the facility or otherwise come into direct contact with the animals confined in the operation.

Moratorium: A time-out for new operations to allow time for further study of the problem or time to develop comprehensive laws governing operations.



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