Technical Services - Animal Waste Management Inspection Pilot
In accordance with Section 12.7(b) of S.L. 2005-276, the objective of the Animal Waste Management Inspection Pilot is to determine how division staff can respond more quickly and effectively, with technical assistance, to complaints and problems to help farms achieve compliance with environmental regulations. In addition, the program allows Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) staff to test approaches for earlier identification of problems and to target resources for expediting corrective actions.
The pilot program started in 1997 with Columbus and Jones Counties and was expanded in 1999 and in 2005 to include Brunswick and Pender Counties respectively. The General Assembly, through Session Law 2013-131, made the pilot permanent.
In non-pilot counties, the Division of Water Resources (DWR) performs annual routine compliance inspections of all permitted livestock operations; however, in the pilot counties, division staff conducts routine compliance inspections of all permitted livestock operations. In the pilot counties, DWR staff provides regulatory oversight, performs compliance audits with division staff of "targeted" potential high environmental impact farms, responds to division referrals, and conducts additional compliance inspections for further investigation and enforcement actions as warranted.
There are 166 active swine farms in the pilot area of Brunswick, Columbus, Jones, and Pender Counties. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulation in response to the 2nd-Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the Waterkeeper et al. v. EPA, the number of pilot farms operating under NPDES permits dropped from 95 to 1 in 2007.