Update: Lincolnton resumed withdrawing water from the river on July 4, according to public utilities officials.
Lincolnton and Dallas public utilities have stopped withdrawing water from the Catawba River after 200,000 gallons of manure spilled from a dairy farm upstream. A pump at Gladden Farm in Catawba County failed last week, allowing the feces-ridden sludge to enter Pott Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Catawba River.
200,000 gallons is equivalent to the amount of water in 10 average-size, in-ground swimming pools.
Lincolnton, population 10,000, and Dallas, with 4,600 people, voluntarily began using alternative water supplies or reserves for drinking water, according to a DEQ statement.
DEQ says it is monitoring water quality in Pott Creek, while the farm owners clean up the source of the spill.
Catawba Waterkeeper Sam Perkins was out of the office today and unavailable for comment.
Two fish kills were reported, although the number of dead fish was low — just nine so far.
According to its state environmental permit, the Gladden farm is allowed to have 150 milk cows and one manure lagoon. The five-year permit expires in September 2019.
There are three permitted dairy farms in Catawba County, totaling 560 cows.