River Advocates Allege Clean Water Act Violations

River advocates are alleging Clean Water Act violations by a North Carolina hog operation.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, acting on behalf of the Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, the Neuse River keeper Alliance, and the Water keeper Alliance, sent a notice of intent to sue J.C. Howard's Hill and Taylor Farm in Jones County, claiming the farm is illegally discharging harmful pollutants into the waters of the Ne use River watershed.

Specifically, they claim the farm regularly violated the law by applying hog waster to fields so that the waste ran freely into ditches, off of the property and directly into nearby waterways.

The groups say if changes aren't made in two months, they'll file a lawsuit.

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  • by Billy Location: ENC on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:34 AM
    Earthling, towns of 10,000 are using environment friendly waste structures (open pit lagoons) and treating waste properly (spraying on bermuda fields)
  • by Dean Location: Leggett on Feb 9, 2010 at 07:12 PM
    Because of a few everybody thinks the hog farms are destroying the water supply when if people knew all that municipalaties dumped in the rivers everyday they would be a lot more outraged.Eastern N.C. has had an unusual last three months as far as weather is concernedand the farmers are forced to pump under less than ideal conditions,but I dont know the details of this farmer,if he deliberately discharged in perrenial waters then he needs to be disciplined.Finally,the river keepers hate hog farmers and want to regulate us out of business when we are among the most regulated of any waste producer in the state.
  • by Earthling on Feb 9, 2010 at 03:39 PM
    Anonymous, if you take a more worldly view you will learn that food prices in the US are some of the lowest amoungst the developed nations that depend upon industrial agriculture. That does not mean that we have a better diet however. Further, many of our food consumption habits have detrimental impacts to the environmment and human health within our borders and especially beyond. Our overuse of excessively processed foods and eating at the top of the food chain (meat) is not sustainable and it's killing us. Recent increases in the cost of livestock and poultry production and consumer prices can be attributed, to a large degree, on diverting corn and other grains to ethanol production - also not a sustainable track. BTW, when in town my sewage goes to the GUC Wastewater Treatment facility (tertiary treatment); when in the county I use a composting toilet. I am not a purist but I grow much of my own food. Lastly, read Michael Pollan and use the words "too" and "to" correctly.
  • by Steve Location: Eastern NC on Feb 9, 2010 at 03:32 PM
    All these "Riverkeepers" do is try to get their name on the 6 oclock news keeping themselves in a job. First it is tobacco that the enviromental and health nazis are driving out of business. Hog farms are next. They are vital to the economic well being of this area and I personally know that local hog farmers are not out to hurt the very land that they farm.
  • by CherryCracker Kool-Aid Location: CA on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:17 AM
    Jim: Separate issue, and there are people who are active on those as well. This story here however is about hogs. Get with the program. Your comment is like saying, "Well.. well.... people die of drunk driving in the UK! Why should we worry about it here too???" Focus man.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:56 AM
    Eathling,way to cheap?What do you do eat steak everyday.Geez have you seen the price of a chicken if you cant get it on sale.Try right at 8 bucks a bird.And just wait tell the end of this summer when Obongas inflation kicks in.I ask everybody up here,WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR POOP GOES.I have put in a few septic systems and I dont care what you say that sewage ends up in the same place.
  • by EURKLE on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:32 AM
    Just to many people in this world. More people=more food that has to be produced.
  • by JIM Location: EASTER NC on Feb 9, 2010 at 09:40 AM
  • by Earthling Location: Pitt County on Feb 9, 2010 at 07:46 AM
    There are better hog waste treatment alternatives than the lagoon/sprayfield method. Lagoon/sprayfields do not work adequately during winter, periods of heavy rain and storms, when soils are already saturated, when operators act unethically, or when operators make inappropriate choices in the face of very narrow profit margins. See new technology reviews and research by NCSU. For decades, powerful pork and agriculture lobbists opposed any changes to the standard lagoon/sprayfield system. Little has changed since the 1980s when State Senator Wendell Murphy, grandfather of industrial hog CAFOs, sponsored legislation that exempted industrial hog farms from many environmental regulations. A hog CAFO is comparable to having a town of 10,000 disposing of waste in open pits. It is past time to put politics aside and employ these newer technologies. Check the price of pork in the grocery store, it is way too cheap; included in the price should be compensation to upgrade the technology.
  • by Doug Location: ENC on Feb 9, 2010 at 06:59 AM
    Ted, you are correct in that the system of storing hog waste in lagoons and pumping it onto fields leaves the hog farmer little choice. However, the system is flawed and it needs to be fixed. The environmental price is too high. The runoff includes pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, in addition to dangerous amounts of nitrogen. The hog farms are only one or many sources of polutants, but someone has to start bringing attention to these problems. The damage is already being done, and it's only going to get worse.
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