North Carolina Governor Says Hog Lagoons Stay Contained During Florence

Reuters writers Patrick Rucker and Jessica Resnick-Ault reported late last week that, “Tropical Storm Florence could taint North Carolina waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste as heavy rains test environmental rules written with milder weather in mind, carrying the risk of contaminating water with bacteria like salmonella, officials said on Friday.

Many of the state’s environmental codes were written to withstand a 25- or 100-year storm. But Florence promises heavy rains that some regions might not see in a thousand years, straining systems meant to keep state residents safe.

“The deluge could push industrial waste sites to the limit, Governor Roy Cooper said on Friday.”

However, Bloomberg writer Olivia Carville reported Sunday that, “North Carolina’s hog-manure lagoons have stayed contained so far, according to the state, as the region continues to get pelted with rain from the remnants of Hurricane Florence.

The state’s 4,000 lagoons are holding out, even though huge swaths of farmland in the state’s eastern corner are underwater, Governor Roy Cooper said. The lined earthen pits that hold treated waste had been a major environmental concern as unprecedented rain lashed North Carolina, with at least 30 rivers breaching their banks.

“‘We are closely monitoring hog lagoons, and we haven’t had any reports of issues,’ Cooper said in a media briefing Sunday.”

The Bloomberg article added, “Hog farming is one of the biggest industries in North Carolina. Duplin County, where two people have died due to flash flooding, is home to 45 times as many hogs as its human population. Lagoons in the state’s east have flooded in previous hurricanes, causing serious health and safety hazards. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd flooded dozens of hog-manure lagoons and swine farms, leading to widely circulated photos of pigs clinging to roof tops. Hurricane Matthew submerged 14 lagoons in 2016.”

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