RALEIGH, N.C. — Flooded rivers from Florence’s drenching rains have swamped coal ash dumps and low-lying hog farms, raising pollution concerns as the swollen waterways approach their crests Monday.
North Carolina environmental regulators say several open-air manure pits at hog farms have failed, spilling pollution. State officials also were monitoring the ongoing threat from the breach of a Duke Energy coal ash landfill near Wilmington.
Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan said Monday that the earthen dam at one hog lagoon in Duplin County had been breached. There were also seven reports of lagoon levels going over their tops or being inundated in Jones and Pender counties.
Regan said state investigators will visit the sites as conditions allow. The large pits at hog farms hold feces and urine from the animals to be sprayed on nearby fields.
The Associated Press published photos of a hog farm outside Trenton on Sunday with long metal buildings ringed by dark water. Satellite photos of the same farm taken before the storm show the location of a hog waste pit completely submerged under floodwaters in the AP photos.
The N.C. Pork Council, an industry trade group, emphasized Monday that the hog waste pits flooded by Florence represented a comparatively small number when compared with the total number statewide.
“While there are more than 3,000 active lagoons in the state that have been unaffected by the storm, we remain concerned about the potential impact of these record-shattering floods,” the pork council’s statement said.
An AP analysis of location data from hog waste disposal permits shows at least 45 active North Carolina farms are located in 100-year and 500-year floodplains.
Federal forecasters predicted several rivers would crest at record or near-record levels by Monday, and high water could linger for days.
Duke Energy said the weekend collapse of a coal ash landfill at […]