North Carolina permanently bans slurry lagoons

US - North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has signed Senate Bill 1465 banning the construction of new hog waste lagoons in the State.
calendar icon 10 September 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
The law bans new hog waste lagoons and launches programs to convert and modernise current lagoons to meet stricter standards to protect the environment.

"We do not have to choose between a strong economy and a clean environment," said Governor Easley. "This legislation provides assistance to hog operators who invest in the new technology with a payoff for all of us that protects our rivers and streams."

The governor's signature makes permanent similar legislation that the General Assembly enacted in 1998. It will prohibit the construction of new hog waste lagoons and sprayfields as primary methods of waste management. New management systems must adhere to stricter environmental regulations and the legislation has provision for grant-funding for farmers wishing to invest in new waste management technology or upgrade existing facilities.

The law also creates the Swine Farm Methane Capture Pilot Program, an initiative to generate electricity from methane gas collected from animal waste. A cost-sharing program will be available to farmers to covert to the new technologies with the state covering 90 percent of the cost, or up to $500,000 for each applicant over the next five years. The state share will be 80 percent in 2012 and 75 percent in 2017.

"This is a major step forward for our state and our farmers as we try to ensure the long-term sustainability of the hog industry," said state Senator Charles Albertson, who has sponsored the bill. "I am sure our regulators and those in the industry will work cooperatively to protect our rivers and streams," he added.

Politicians in North Carolina also see this innovative step, if successful, as a means of reducing energy costs to homes and businesses in rural areas.

Part of the new legislation became effective from 1 July 2007. The law will be enforced in its entirety as of 1 September 2007.

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