NC Policy Watch delves deeper into million-gallon hog waste spill in Jones Co.

Hog farm that spilled 1 million gallons of feces, urine into waterways had been warned of lagoon problems

DC Mills Farm has familial ties to another operation that incurred a record fine

By Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch

A Jones County farm that spilled an estimated 1 million gallons of hog feces and urine into a tributary of the Trent River shortly before Christmas had been cited twice in the past year by state regulators because its lagoon was too full.

DC Mills Farms, along N.C. Highway 41 west of Trenton, received a Notice of Deficiency in February 2020 and a Notice of Violation in July, according to state environmental records. 

Donnie Mills, who co-owns the farm with his wife, Christian Lanier Mills, raises hogs for Smithfield Foods. The farm is permitted to house as many as 3,520 hogs at a time.

Officials from the NC Department of Environmental Quality are still investigating why a portion of the lagoon failed, sending the waste into Tuckahoe Creek on Dec. 21. The lagoon has since been patched. “We are unable to characterize the extent of the environmental impact at this time,” DEQ spokesman Robert Johnson said, adding that sampling results are expected later this week.

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