A virtual meeting next month will give the public an opportunity to speak out on the new animal waste management digester system general permits.
Hosted by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, residents can participate in the 6 p.m. Dec. 14 meeting online or by calling 415-655-0003. Event Password is AFOPermit2021 or 23673764 from phones. Meeting access code is 2431 249 0753.
Animal waste digester systems are a combination of animal waste digestion equipment and covered lagoons that process animal waste and collect gases from animal waste for use as a renewable energy resource, according to the department. Currently, digester systems are processed as modifications to a facility’s existing permit. The 2021 Farm Act established specific requirements for the development of the digester system general permits.
The new general permit will 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, according to the state.
To speak at the Dec. 14 meeting, sign up by 5 p.m. Dec. 13 using the online form. For those who cannot attend the meeting, public input can be submitted via email to publiccommentsDWR@ncdenr.gov until Dec. 17. There will be more opportunities for public comments on the draft general permits in early 2022.
The department will hold two technical stakeholder workgroup meetings in November and December. Stakeholders for the technical workgroups represent community groups, environmental justice organizations, environmental advocacy organizations, state and federal agencies, academia and industry.
The digester system general permits stakeholder process will focus on permit conditions specific to the implementation of digesters. Summaries of the technical workgroup sessions will be posted online prior to the public input meeting. Additional information and updates on the stakeholder process are online.