2022 Digester System General Permits

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.

Application form

State General Permit Certificate of Coverage for Farm Digester Systems

Tab/Accordion Items

Hearing Officer’s Report

Attachment 1 – 2021 Farm Act – SL2021-78 (S605)

Attachment 2 – NC Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board Letter, 08.26.2021

Attachment 3 – Technical Stakeholder Working Group Meeting Summary

Attachment 4 – Draft General Permits Sent Out to Public Notice

Attachment 5 – Press Release and Fact Sheet for Public Meetings

Attachment 6 – Environmental Justice Report

Attachment 7 – Public Comments

Attachment 8 – Recommended General Permits

Press Release - June 30, 2022: DEQ issues digester system 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.

Input process

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

Summary of stakeholder meetings

Recording of December 14, 2021, public input meeting

Spring 2022 public hearings

Date and time Location
April 5, 2022
6 p.m.
James Sprunt Community College, Monk Auditorium
133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349 (Duplin County)
April 7, 2022
6 p.m.
Sampson County Exposition Center
414 Warsaw Road, Clinton, NC 28328 (Sampson County)
April 19, 2022
6 p.m.
Statesville Civic Center
300 S. Center Street, Statesville, NC 28677 (Iredell County)
April 21, 2022
6 p.m.

Online via Webex

Recordings of public meetings

Presentation

Draft permits for public comment

Permit Draft - AWG400000 Swine: Redline | Clean | Español

Permit Draft - AWG500000 Cattle: Redline | Clean | Español

Permit Draft - AWG600000 Wet Poultry: Redline | Clean | Español

Public Notice | Aviso De Audiencia Pública

Press release (2.1.2022) | Comunicado de prensa

Draft Environmental Justice Report

As of January 24, 2024, out of 2,066 total permitted swine facilities in North Carolina, there are 30 facilities which have one or more animal waste digester systems.

List of Permits