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Agricultural Waste


Agricultural operations create various waste including animal waste, pesticides, and other substances that are normally a by-product of farming operations. Agricultural waste poses few risks when handled properly and this webpage topic will guide you through proper disposal and the requirements of disposal under State and Federal law. This webpage topic is provided as a general resource as the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is not involved in regulating animal waste handling or application.  

Legal Issues

Livestock Waste Storage

Livestock Waste Disposal

Discharge into Water

Applicable Law

Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1387

Standards for the Management of Used Oil, 40 CFR 279


What is a NPDES permit and do I need one?

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program regulates point source pollutants and discharge of pollutants into surface waters. The Clean Water Act gave EPA the authority to create this program which is administered through the State. To discharge point source pollution in North Carolina a permit must be obtained from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR). Point source pollution is pollution from a pipe or other direct source. For more information on obtaining a NPDES permit please visit the DENR website or click here to go straight to the forms and applications webpage.

What is the Nonpoint Source 319 Program?

The NC Nonpoint Source 319 Program is a voluntary program administered by the North Carolina Department of Water Quality and funded through the US EPA. Nonpoint source pollution is pollution that results from indirect sources such as runoff from yards, pastures, and construction. The Nonpoint Source 319 program was developed to decrease the environmental impact of nonpoint source pollution. The program is a competitive granting process that awards funds for projects in two different categories: Base and Incremental. Base projects are research based projects which identify areas at risk of nonpoint source pollution and propose ways to prevent pollution while incremental projects are aimed at restoring bodies of water to their intended uses. For more information on the application process, sample project proposals, and current projects click here.  

What permits are required to dispose of animal waste?

Below are the two types of permits that are required to dispose of waste. Click each permit to find out more about the requirements and applicability to your farm operation.

Summary of Permits for Waste Disposal

 Permit Type


Animal Waste NPDES Permits

Any animal feeding operation that plans to discharge from the production area or land application area must have coverage under an Animal Waste NPDES Permit. Most other facilities with certain threshold animal numbers will require coverage under an Animal Waste State Permit.

Animal Waste STATE Permits

Treatment and disposal of liquid animal waste to the land surface with no discharge to groundwater or surface waters.

Disclaimer: The materials available on this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site does not create an attorney-client relationship between NCDA&CS and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of NCDA&CS or any state employee.

Some links within the NC Ag Law website may lead to other sites. NCDA&CS does not incorporate any materials appearing in such linked sites by reference, and does not necessarily sponsor, endorse or otherwise approve of such linked materials.  

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