agriculture, Environment

Sampling results show extremely high levels of hog feces, urine in waterways after lagoon breach

DEQ sampling sites after a hog lagoon breach at B&L Farms in Sampson County.

Levels of fecal bacteria at least as high as 3,000 times the state standard were found in ditches and waterways after a hog lagoon spill in Sampson County in June, state environmental sampling shows.

On June 12, the lagoon at B&L Farms, 2525 Plainview Highway, north of Spivey’s Corner, partially breached. Three million gallons of feces and urine flowed onto  the farm property into a ditch that leads to Starlins Swamp, part of the Cape Fear River Basin.

According to state records, the farm is permitted to house as many as 2,580 swine. It has one lagoon, approximate two acres in size and 10 feet deep.

Sampling results released today from four downstream locations showed fecal coliform levels on the day of the spill ranged from 20,000 colony forming units of fecal bacteria, or CFUs to 380,000. At the farm, levels of fecal bacteria reached at least 600,000 CFUs, which would be expected considering it was the source of the spill.

State surface freshwater quality standards limit fecal coliform to 200 colony forming units, or CFUs, based upon at least five consecutive samples examined during any 30-day period. Nor can these concentrations exceed 400 CFUs in more than 20% of the samples examined during that time.

The NC Department of Environmental Quality sampled over eight days, June 12 to June 25.

The levels of fecal bacteria varied during that time, initially declining before rebounding in some instances. Even 10 days after the spill, all the sampling stations except for Mill Pond showed levels well above state standards.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia were also detected, but there are no state or federal numeric standards for nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia in surface water.

The agency is still working on a Notice of Violation, DEQ spokesman Robert Johnson said.

 

 

 

 

 

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