agriculture, Environment

Swine farm discharges waste into Trent River; DEQ investigating

A swine farm near Comfort discharged waste into a tributary that flows into the Trent River near Old Comfort Road and Highway 41. DEQ hasn’t named the farm; there are 49 in Jones County. (Map: Google)

An unknown amount of wastewater from a swine farm near the town of Comfort has spilled into the Trent River in Jones County, the NC Department of Environmental Quality announced late this afternoon. As a result, state officials are advising kayakers and boaters to avoid the Trent River downstream, particularly at the Chinqapin Chapel Road.

The spill was reported to the agency midday Thursday, DEQ said. A water quality team from the division’s Washington Regional office was deployed to the farm. DEQ investigators saw wastewater in a wooded area and flowing off-site. The wastewater discharge traveled nearly two miles from the farm through an unnamed tributary, eventually reaching the Trent River near the intersection of Highway 41 and Old Comfort Road.

DEQ investigators took water samples for testing and analysis, but the results are pending. The state is continuing to investigate the spill, DEQ said, and will determine an appropriate enforcement action.

According to DEQ’s database of animal feeding operation permits, there are 49 industrialized swine farms in Jones County, with a total of as many as 220,000 hogs.

The Trent River starts in Lenoir County, about 15 miles southwest of Kinston. It meanders for 100 miles through Jones and Craven counties before joining the Neuse River in downtown New Bern.

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