Neuse Riverkeepers Highlight Pollution Threats from Hurricane Florence

Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, Katy Langley spoke to Dan Charles from NPR on All Things Considered about the threat of hog waste pits flooding. In the days leading up to the storm’s arrival, industrial hog facilities  were documented spraying vast amounts of hog waste to lower levels in open waste pits. This was done in hopes to avoid waste lagoon wall failures once rains begin to fill up the open-air pits. Unfortunately, this also places a vast amount of hog waste onto fields that will spill to local waterways once the rain begins.

Hurricane Matthew caused this swine facility along the Neuse River to flood. The waste lagoon was completely underwater.

In addition, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper Matthew Starr  spoke about threats to the Neuse River from coal ash spills and animal waste.  “Hurricane Florence poses a tremendous threat to the Neuse River,” said Matthew Starr, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper. “During Hurricane Matthew, coal ash ponds at the H.F. Lee Power Plant flooded, spilling toxic coal ash into the river. Since then, not a single shovel of coal ash has been removed from those ponds. Flooding from Hurricane Matthew also spilled waste from feces and urine from massive swine cesspools into our water. As with the coal ash, no action has been taken to remove that threat.”

 

Both these stories highlight that flood waters can be highly contaminated. It is not recommend to come into contact with flood waters.