About the 2022 general permits
The Division of Water Resources was directed by the North Carolina General Assembly to develop general permits by July 1, 2022, for existing Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) that intend to build and operate a digester system. The 2021 Farm Act - Session Law 2021-78, describes the general permit requirements.
The new general permits include all of the existing and enforceable requirements of the 2019 State General Animal Waste Management Permits, including developing and maintaining a Certified Animal Waste Management Plan, and complying with siting, buffer, testing, inspection and reporting requirements.
The specific provisions of the new general permits for digester systems were determined during the permit development process, which included a comprehensive public process. Information on the stakeholder sessions, public meetings and public engagement are detailed below.
Animal waste digester systems
Animal waste digester systems are a combination of animal waste digestion equipment (digester) and covered lagoons that process animal waste and collect gases from animal waste. Learn more about the process from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Attachment 1 – 2021 Farm Act – SL2021-78 (S605)
Attachment 3 – Technical Stakeholder Working Group Meeting Summary
Attachment 4 – Draft General Permits Sent Out to Public Notice
- Permit Draft - AWG400000 Swine Digester General Permit: Redline | Clean | Español
- Permit Draft - AWG500000 Cattle Digester General Permit Redline | Clean | Español
- Permit Draft - AWG600000 Wet Poultry Digester General Permit: Redline | Clean | Español
Attachment 5 – Press Release and Fact Sheet for Public Meetings
Attachment 6 – Environmental Justice Report
Attachment 7 – Public Comments
- Comments received by email
- Additional comments received
- Recordings of public meetings (April 5, April 7, April 19, April 21, 2022)
Attachment 8 – Recommended General Permits
The new general permits apply to currently permitted facilities seeking to add digester systems. The Department, under the 2021 NC Farm Act, maintains the authority to require individual permits for facilities when necessary.
|Event||Type of Feedback||Timeframe|
|Stakeholder Process||Technical Workgroup Sessions||Fall 2021|
|Stakeholder Process||Public Meeting/Forum - oral, written and electronic comments accepted||Fall/Winter 2021|
|Public Comment Period||Public Meetings - oral, written and electronic comments accepted||Winter 2021/Spring 2022|
Spring 2022 public hearings
|Date and time||Location|
|April 5, 2022
|James Sprunt Community College, Monk Auditorium
133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349 (Duplin County)
|April 7, 2022
|Sampson County Exposition Center
414 Warsaw Road, Clinton, NC 28328 (Sampson County)
|April 19, 2022
|Statesville Civic Center
300 S. Center Street, Statesville, NC 28677 (Iredell County)
|April 21, 2022
Online via Webex
Draft permits for public comment
As of July 31, 2023, out of 2,066 total permitted swine facilities in North Carolina, there are 17 facilities which have one or more animal waste digester systems.