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New Rules for Livestock Operations Holding a General Virginia Pollution Abatement Permit

Livestock Update, July 1999

Allen Harper, Extension Animal Scientist, Swine, Tidewater AREC, Virginia Tech

State legislation passed in the 1998 session of the Virginia General Assembly will create some changes for swine producers (and other livestock producers) that hold a General Virginia Pollution Abatement Permit. This permit, typically referred to as the "General Permit," became available for operators of confined animal feeding operations in the state on November 16, 1994. As of that time all livestock feeding operators that utilized liquid manure handling and kept more than 750 swine of 55 lbs. body weight or greater, more than 200 dairy cattle or more than 300 slaughter or feeder cattle in confined feeding facilities were required to obtain an individual confined animal feeding permit or a general permit.

With this new legislation all producers holding a general permit for confined animal feeding operations as of July 1, 1999 will be required to participate in a training program offered or approved by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation by January 1, 2000. Any confined animal feeding operation permitted after July 1, 1999 will be required to complete this same training program within one year of submitting a general permit registration statement to the Department of Environmental Quality.

As required in the law, the training program has been developed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with the consultation and cooperation of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Virginia Cooperative Extension. The training covers the use of "best management practices," inspection and management of liquid manure collection, storage and application systems, water quality monitoring and emergency procedures associated with the manure management systems on confined animal feeding operations.

A committee of technical specialists from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service was called together by DCR to develop and organize the initial training sessions. The first sessions to be offered have been scheduled for August 10, 1999 in Wakefield and August 18 in Farmville. Details about these sessions will be sent to all folks holding a general permit. For more information on the training program, people may telephone Mr. David Kindig with the Department of Conservation and Recreation at (804) 371-8095.

In addition to the required training, the new legislation brings several other additions to the Virginia's general permit for confined feeding operations. These include mandatory annual inspection of operations by the Department of Environmental Quality, submission of plans for waste application in the event of closure of the operation, five-year maintenance of waste utilization records, and certification of newly constructed earthen waste storage facilities by a licensed professional engineer or the equivalent. It is true that this legislation created additional requirements for producers holding a general permit for livestock feeding operations. The purpose of these changes is to minimize the chances of permitted animal feeding operations having a negative impact on the soil or water.

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