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Historic Flooding Leaving Large Human Health and Environmental Impact

Education, Environmental

Posted on October 21st, 2016

Flooding along Contentnea Creek

Duke Energy HF Lee Facility Flooding
Duke Energy HF Lee Facility Flooding along the Neuse River

The staff at Sound Rivers have been personally impacted by the hurricane and our thoughts and concerns continue to be with community members, farmers, and others in the region that are suffering in the storm’s aftermath.

  • A breach in the cooling ponds at the Duke Energy HF Lee facility in Goldsboro occurred last week and the inactive coal ash basins were flooded. Our Upper Neuse Riverkeeper discovered large amounts of coal ash in the Neuse River (see video). At first NC Department of Environmental Quality downplayed the spill, but have now sent Duke Energy a letter requiring an Action Plan.
  • Our aerial documentation noted at least 13 swine industrial facilities, including waste lagoons, were flooded, releasing hog manure into the Neuse and Tar Rivers. Currently, at least 170 hog facilities are located within the 100 year floodplain.
  • Millions of poultry died and untold amounts of chicken manure was released at dozens of facilities in the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico and Cape Fear River basins. Documenting the environmental and public health hazards associated with flooded poultry facilities is almost impossible for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) because these facilities are not individually permitted and DEQ does not have records that includes location of facilities, number of animals, amount of waste present, etc.
  • Numerous wastewater facilities were impacted by the rainfall from Hurricane Matthew as well as subsequent flooding, resulting in bypasses of raw sewage into waterways.
  • Commercial fisherman on the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and the Pamlico Sound are reporting damage as well as dead catch. The estuaries and Pamlico Sound will likely continue to experience poor water quality and long-term impacts very similar to what occurred post hurricane Floyd. Currently the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers are experiencing low oxygen levels.

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