On Tuesday, November 27th, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a meeting to discuss the permit intended to protect our communities and waterways from industrial swine waste. The permit determines how the 9.5 billion gallons of waste per year from these facilities is managed, and is opened up for improvements only once every 5 years. Our staff were present to urge DEQ to implement measures to better strengthen existing regulations and protect our waters from pollution, but they need to hear from you as well!

The current method of waste management on these industrial hog facilities is to store hog feces in unlined, open air cesspools that are at risk of being flooded or damaged by heavy rainfall. The waste is sprayed onto fields, often causing waste to runoff into nearby creeks and streams. Unfortunately, this method not only contributes to surface and ground water pollution, but to air pollution and decreases quality of life for the neighbors of these facilities as well.

What we’re asking for:

  • Smithfield Foods, the multinational company that makes hundreds of millions of profits annually, and other corporations that contract with North Carolina operations for swine production, should share responsibility for managing the waste produced by the animals they own.
  • DEQ needs to collect sufficient data to assess hog waste pollution and make it publicly available.
  • DEQ should require mandatory groundwater monitoring where there is evidence of off-site impacts (or could simply say pollution of) to our water table.
  • DEQ should require swine facilities to evaluate the risk of phosphorus pollution from land applied animal waste, using an established formula that was created at great taxpayer expense.
  • Operators must be required to submit records to DEQ for public review of land application of waste, cropping, stocking, and soil or lagoon sampling to better inform DEQ of pollution risks and improve transparency.

Please help protect water quality from industrial hog pollution, send a letter by December 21st to have your input considered during this initial process of drafting the permit. Your voice is important, and now is the time.

Thank you for taking action for the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico!