U.S. Water News Online
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- State regulators have fined four large eastern North Carolina hog farms that were targeted by Gov. Mike Easley for waste storage problems.
The owner of three hog farms in Pender and Duplin counties was fined more than $43,000 for a series of environmental violations. Problems with hog farms in North Carolina have received national attention after floods during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 caused waste storage tanks to overflow and leak tons of waste into rivers.
Allen Raynor, who owned all the farms when the problems occurred in late 1999 and early 2000, plans to appeal the penalties, said Richard Burrows, his attorney.
They include a $34,300 fine -- the fourth-largest penalty ever involving a swine farm in North Carolina -- against Pender Pork Farm No. 1 & No. 2. Raynor has sold the farms.
Inspectors with the state Division of Water Quality twice found hog waste leaking from one of the barns into a swampy tributary of the Northeast Cape Fear River.
Inspectors also said the farm had waste running off spray fields, high manure levels in a storage lagoon and 14 cases where the liquid manure was sprayed onto fields without any plants to soak up the fertilizer.
Raynor raises hogs under contract with Rose Hill-based Murphy Family Farms Inc. The $34,300 fine against him is a fraction of the $275,000 maximum penalty he faced for the violations.
In Pitt County, water quality officials fined GIS of North Carolina Inc. $16,894 for lagoon discharges that were first seen by inspectors flying aerial surveillance, said water quality spokesman Ernie Seneca.
Owners of the farm agreed to remove the 1,150 sows from the property and would sell the farm, according to an agreement signed with the state.
When Easley ordered the enforcement action, he assembled a team of lawyers and environmental regulators that threatened to shut down farms until they could meet state laws.
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