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DEQ Issues General Permits for Swine, Cattle and Wet Poultry Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Environmental Protections Features of Updated Permits

Raleigh

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) today issued three general permits for animal operations: the Swine General Permit, the Cattle General Permit, and the Wet Poultry General Permit. The revisions to the previous permits are increasingly protective of the environment and public health. The 2019 permit also includes measures to promote technology, efficiency and transparency in record keeping and reporting.

In November 2018, DEQ held a stakeholder session and public meeting prior to drafting proposed changes to the general permit. That feedback was a part of the January draft permit that invited comment to the agency through mail, email and two public meetings. To read a summary of comments, as well as agency responses, click here.

Record Keeping

Based on comments and data that is needed to more adequately understand animal farm operations in the state, the Division has revised the annual report. Coupled with annual inspections, this revised, streamlined report provides certainty to farmers, operators and regulators about what data will be collected throughout the year. The report will be due April 1 of each year for the previous calendar year’s activities.

Many stakeholders raised the option to file data electronically with DEQ to increase transparency. Though that technology is not available now, the permit has been written to require modernization when the technology and tools are in place to streamline annual report filing.

Groundwater Monitoring

Facilities with lagoons/waste storage structures located in the 100-year floodplain are required to install testing wells, as well as collect an initial sample and test groundwater. Farmers/Operators have six months for well installation from the time the Division’s Regional Office determines where the wells should be located. Two wells are required by the permit – one upgradient and one downgradient for each lagoon or pond in the 100-year floodplain.

Over 6,000 comments were received and are posted online, along with copies of the permits and attachments including the revised annual report form: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/water-resources/water-quality-regional-operations/afo

The permits were signed on Friday by the Division of Water Resources Director and take effect October 1, 2019.

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