LB 1209: The Livestock Waste Management Act
Information from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

An Overview of New Livestock Waste Control Legislation

A wide array of changes in livestock waste control were set into motion on April 15, 1998. That is the date when Nebraska Legislative Bill 1209, the Livestock Waste Management Act, became effective.

This is the first in a series of Fact Sheets from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). The Fact Sheets are designed to provide greater detail regarding the new law, and how the changes may impact livestock facility owners. This first fact sheet provides a brief overview of the major changes; subsequent fact sheets will provide more in-depth information about specific topics.

The changes specified in LB 1209 include:
When is a permit required?

There is a common misconception that the new legislation will require all operations, no matter how small, to submit plans, obtain a permit, and pay the associated permit fees. This is not the case. These determinations are still based on the same criteria as before the passage of LB 1209: permits are required only if it is reasonable to believe that there is a potential for the operation to discharge to waters of the state. As a general rule, the larger the operation, the more likely that a permit will be needed.

Inspection fees

Any person owning or operating a livestock operation will need to request an inspection from NDEQ, unless they hold a permit for the livestock waste control facility, or they have an NDEQ letter stating no permit is required. If the request is received prior to Jan. 1, 1999, there will be no fee associated with the inspection. The new legislation establishes an inspection fee to be assessed when an operation requests a state inspection on or after Jan. 1, 1999. The fee will be $50 for Class I and II facilities, and $500 for Class III and IV facilities. The number of inspection requests will determine how quickly the facilities are inspected, with larger facilities receiving priority.

Permit Fees

LB 1209 establishes a fee structure for permits. The fees are one-time assessments paid at the time an application is submitted to NDEQ. The fees are:

Class I
1,000 animal units* or less
Class II
1,001 to 5,000 animal units*
Class III
5,001 to 20,000 animal units*
Class IV
More than 20,000 animal units*
*Animal units are defined at the end of this fact sheet

Effective date: Permit fees will be assessed against operations which submit permit applications on or after June 1, 1998.

Task Force

The Governor will appoint a nine-person task force representing a number of interests and academic backgrounds, to review the following aspects of the livestock legislation:

The task force will cease to exist Dec. 1, 1998, and its recommendations will be reported to the Nebraska Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee.

Public Notification of Applications

When a permit application is submitted to NDEQ, the agency must notify two entities -- the relevant Natural Resources District and county. For Class III and Class IV applications, public notice must also be issued in the relevant county. This change became effective on the date of the bill’s passage (April 15, 1998).

Disclosure and Certification Provision

All permit applicants are required to submit information to NDEQ to verify that they and other officials related to the project are qualified to obtain a permit. Criteria used to deny or revoke a permit include:
  1. intentional misrepresentation of facts in the application;
  2. if anyone involved is considered a habitual violator of other states’ environmental laws;
  3. if anyone involved has had a permit revoked due to violation of environmental laws; or
  4. demonstrated lack of competence.

This change applies to all applications, including those which were in the review process as of April 15, 1998. NDEQ has developed a form which is being sent to all affected applicants, to determine whether any of the provisions apply to their application.

Timelines for NDEQ Permit Reviews, Post Construction Inspections

After Sept. 1, 1998, NDEQ must respond to permit applications within 30 days and inform the applicant if the application is complete. This will also apply to all pending applications which are still under review at that time. Once an application is determined to be complete, the agency will have 60 days to issue or deny a permit.

Following completion of construction, the agency has 30 days to conduct a post construction inspection. The 30 day timeline for post-construction inspections became effective April 15, 1998.

Increased staffing

Up to 12 more staff will be added to the NDEQ’s livestock program to provide an increased effort to conduct annual inspections of permitted livestock waste control facilities, to provide timely response to a substantial increase in permit applications (both existing and projected), to respond to requests for inspections and complaints, and review proper land application practices.

Definition of Animal Units

LB 1209 established a unit of measure, called “animal units,” for classification of livestock waste control facility categories. The chart below provides the means of determining the number of animal units at a facility. The multiplier at right, times the number of animals, will provide the number of animal units at an operation.

Type of Animal
Multiplied by
Slaughter, feeder cattle
Mature dairy cattle
Swine (55 pounds or more)
Weaned pigs (less than 55 pounds)

For more information, contact

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
PO Pox 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509
(402) 471-2186 FAX (402) 471-2909