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State Policy and Regulation

State Regulation

North Carolina's pork producers are subject to a full array of federal, state and local environmental regulations. Areas of typical regulation include: surface water and coastal water; air quality; animal and manure disposal; land and soil quality; land use; and odor.

As in other industries, pork producers must meet or exceed all local, state, and federal worker health and safety requirements. In 1995, the North Carolina State Senate passed Bill 1080, also known as the Swine Farm Siting Act, outlining detailed specifications with regard to the disposal of hog farm waste product. The Swing Farm Siting Act was amended in 1997, to the current law outlined below. The amendment to the Act was dubbed Bill 515, which also placed a moratorium on constuction of liquid animal waste management systems for farms larger than 250 hogs. This moratorium was known as the Clean Water Responsibility Act. The moratorium was renewed in 2003.

To help pork producers understand and comply with regulations, producer-funded organizations, universities and government agencies sponsor educational seminars and workshops. Environmental consultants are available to help producers with on-farm audits and other types of management initiatives.

Producers also depend upon a number of producer-funded programs, like the Environmental Assurance Program, that provide environmental management direction.

Each year the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducts two inspections at each hog farm in the state. During 2000, the state performed over 6,000 inspections at North Carolina's 2,500 hog farms. In 98% of the inspections, no direct discharges of organic wastewater to the surface waters of the state were found. In 94% of inspections, no evidence of “over-application” to fields was found. Pork producers will continue to work to improve this already impressive inspection record.

Waste Disposal Policy Effective March 1, 1997

Miminimum setback distances:

- 1,500 ft to occupied residence.
- 2,500 ft to school, hospital, church, park, historic property.
- 100 ft to perennial waters.
- 500 ft. to any property boundary.
- 500 ft. to any well supplying water to a public water system or human consumption.
- No component of manure management system within 100 year floodplain.

Minimum sprayfield distances:

- 75 ft. to boundary of property with occupied residence, or to stream or river.
- 25 ft. regulation buffer to perennial waters.
- Effluent must be applied at agronomic rates: i.e., nutrients are applied at rates at which they will be utilized by crops so that nutrients do not runoff into waters of the state.


- Complaint driven.
- Operators subject to management practices.
- Operators must submit odor management plan.
- Operator given one opportunity to correct objectionable odor problem before state mandates control technology.
- In 200 complaints, the Division of Air Quality has identified SIX farms with objectionable odor.


© 2004. last updated: April 28, 2004
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