Heavy rains have pushed hog waste lagoons across eastern North Carolina to the brink of overflowing. Two farms in Pender County and one each in Onslow and Brunswick counties are under scrutiny of state regulators. They want to be sure animal waste is being stored and disposed of in compliance with state law.
Hogs fed in enclosed barns produce nine pounds of waste a day. The waste is washed into eight-foot-deep lagoons where solids settle to the bottom. The liquid at the top is pumped and sprayed onto fields.
Potential problems were identified after aerial photos were taken of the lagoons. State rules require there be at least two feet between the liquid surface and the top of the lagoon.
There haven't been lagoon spills in the region since 1999, when flood waters from Hurricane Floyd overwhelmed lagoons and waste polluted rivers and streams.