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State: Repeated violations at hog farm

By Jon Erickson
Published On: Mar 15 2013 11:27:17 PM CDT
GREENE COUNTY -

A farm suspected of being responsible for hog waste ending up in Greene County waterways on Friday has a history of waste-compliance issues, according to documents obtained by NewsChannel 12.

Over the past three months, the state Division of Water Quality, or DWQ, issued Stantonsburg Farm two letters ordering the farm to bring its waste storage into compliance with its permit.

The farm is off Sand Pit Road in northern Greene County.

DWQ investigators were at the farm Friday afternoon, investigating apparent hog waste that had run into a tributary of Contentnea Creek.  That creek runs into the Neuse River.

Hog waste poisons waterways, according to Larry Baldwin of the Waterkeeper Alliance.  Baldwin is the former Neuse Riverkeeper, a river advocacy group.

The farm sprayed 100,000 gallons of hog waste over approximately seven acres of land Thursday, a DWQ investigator said on the scene.

But the ground is less able to absorb the waste during colder months, due to less vegetation, a DWQ spokesperson said.

The preliminary investigation shows the spraying, or irrigation, led to the hog waste ending up in the waterways, the spokesperson said.

No one at the farm would comment to NewsChannel 12.

The Stantonsburg Farm received a notice of deficiency dated Jan. 9 from the DWQ.  The farm did not have enough excess capacity in its lagoon, or waste storage facility, according to the letter.

The requirement is 19 inches of excess capacity; the farm exceeded the requirement by nearly an inch, according to the notice of deficiency.  A second letter dated March 11 noted the lagoon’s excess capacity was over the limit by 1 inch.

The farm’s response letter to the January deficiency notice said excess rainfall had caused the problem.