The NC Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the discharge of an estimated 30,000 gallons of hog waste from a farm owned by Murphy-Brown, according to a press release from state officials. The farm is in Bladen County, northwest of Ammon and southwest of Roseboro. It has a state permit to raise as many as 4,000 hogs.
Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, is the parent company of Murphy-Brown.
Operators notified the Division of Water Resources Friday evening that a recirculation pipe had failed, which caused the release. DEQ did not name the waterway, but the closest ones are Turnbull Creek and Little Turnbull Creek. State investigators saw waste in the creek nearly three-quarters of a mile from the farm lagoon. A beaver dam prevented the waste from traveling farther. Turnbull Creek feeds the Cape Fear River about 20 miles downstream.
Farm operators are pumping the waste from the creek, state officials wrote.
The state database that contains compliance, enforcement and inspection documents for all permitted hog farms was down Sunday morning, so the history of this facility was not immediately available.
This farm is one of 144 corporate-owned facilities in North Carolina. Most of the state’s 2,200 hog farms are contract farms, meaning they are independently owned but Smithfield dictates every aspect of their operation.