Livestock Waste Control Program

Livestock Waste Control Program

Sunday, January 1, 2023

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), through the Livestock Waste Control (LWC) Program, is charged with protecting Nebraska’s surface water and groundwater from discharges of livestock waste from the thousands of Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) in Nebraska.

To achieve this task, NDEE administers Title 130 – Livestock Waste Control Regulations. Title 130 prohibits animal feeding operations to discharge livestock waste to waters of the state. NDEE maintains compliance with Title 130 through a series of inspections, permits, and periodic monitoring.

NDEE performs initial inspections for all new and expanding animal feeding operations to determine whether a facility is required to obtain a state Construction and Operating Permit, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, or both.

If NDEE determines that livestock waste controls are necessary at a facility, the animal feeding operation must obtain a Construction and Operating Permit. This permit identifies species and maximum annual capacity; discloses persons with interest in the operation; incorporates scalable maps and drawings of the facilities; and provides engineering details for conveyance structures, pipes, lift stations, and livestock waste storage structures both lined and unlined. The animal feeding operation must also submit a management plan for odors, chemicals, animal mortality, nutrients, land applications areas, and sampling and testing procedures.

Before a construction and operating permit is issued to an animal feeding operation, applications are reviewed by an NDEE groundwater geologist who assess potential risk to groundwater and makes recommendations on groundwater monitoring, an NDEE engineer who assess facility design and specifications, and an NDEE agronomist who assesses the facility’s nutrient management plan.

During initial inspections, NDEE also determines if animal feeding operations are required to obtain a NPDES permit. NPDES permits further ensure that facilities are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to contain all animal waste, but it allows discharges in the event of a storm greater than a 25-year, 24-hour event provided no feasible alternative to discharging existed.

Facilities required to obtain an NPDES permit must also submit an annual report to the department. NDEE reviews every annual NPDES report for adherence to the approved nutrient management plan and best management practices related to the prevention of water pollution, waste handling and storage, chemical disposal, and land application practices.

In addition to the initial inspections that determine the necessity of both the construction and operating permit and the NPDES permit, the LWC Program also conducts post-construction inspections, routine inspections, discharge inspections, complaint inspections, and status inspections to ensure compliance with Title 130.

Since 2014, the department has conducted 7,833 inspections of animal feeding operations and documented a 96-percent compliance rate.