Local News

State Officials Investigate Hog Waste Spill in Duplin County

Posted April 18, 1999

— A major hog waste spill has been contained in Duplin County. Now, an investigation is underway to find out what caused the spill in the Southeastern part of the state.

A farm worker found the leak in a lagoon Monday morning 2 miles southeast of Kenansville, but it was already too late.

The lagoon that was full of hog waste is almost completely empty. Investigators say 1.5 million gallons seeped out of the huge break overnight and flowed into Persimmons Creek and a nearby swamp.

The massive spill may be man-made.

"There's been no rainfall event that could have caused this," said Lois Britt.

Britt is the spokesperson for Murphy farms, which runs the 10,000 hog operation.

"The normal kinds of things would cause a lagoon to breach did not occur, so therein lies the suspicion of vandalism," said Britt.

SBI investigators spent all day Monday at the scene looking for the cause while State Water Quality investigators looked for environmental damage.

"In the swamp area there, we have seen fish in distress, gasping for air along the banks," said Ernie Seneca of the Division of Water Quality.

Seneca is hoping the environmental impact stops.

"It is right now contained and hasn't gotten out of the swamp," said Senaca.

A spokesman says the swamp land around the lagoon is acting as a filtering agent, curtailing what could have been an environmental disaster.

Duplin County environmental health officials were back on the scene Tuesday. So far, they say the environmental damage has been minimal -- no dead fish have been spotted so far.

Authorities suspect foul play in the hog waste spill.

A Duplin County Sheriff's spokesman says, this is the second time in two weeks alleged vandals have targeted hog farms in the area. Authorities are not saying if the two incidents are connected.


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