Clean, safe water is a basic necessity for any population, but in 1995 it was clear North Carolina had a serious problem with its water quality when millions of fish died in the Neuse River. During the same time frame, several hog waste lagoons overflowed and spilled into the state’s rivers. Following this event, North Carolina passed ambitious legislation to regulate animal agriculture and address all sources of water pollution simultaneously.
Excessive vegetative growth is one of the consequences of nutrient pollution that comes from hog factories, golf courses, city streets and private lawns. Photo, Rick Dove (www.doveimaging.com)
Filtering system in use on hog operation on the Steve Kern farm in Taylor County, Iowa, 1999. Photo by Tim McCabe, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Large animal confinement operation in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, 2000. Photo by Bob Nichols, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
At times, the Neuse River, its tributaries and other waters in Eastern NC, become totally choked off due to excessive vegetative growth. Pictured here is the Trent River near New Bern, 1995. Photo, Rick Dove (www.doveimaging.com)
Ken York, DC Johnston County meets with local hog farmer to review animal waste management system, 2000. Photo by Bob Nichols, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
These large tanks (seen from top view) are part of the Super Soil system that treats both liquid and solid swine waste and that has been shown to be environmentally superior to currently used waste treatment methods. Courtesy of NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Hydraulic engineer Doug Shields (right) and student research assistant Rick Rauteux observe changes in channel geometry and stream corridor habitats caused by water rushing over a headcut. Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Soil scientists Matias Vanotti (left) and Ariel Szögi (right) and Lewis Fetterman, CEO of Super Soil Systems, discuss construction drawings of a lower cost version of the manure treatment system (background) used on a 6,000-head swine farm in North Carolina. Photo by Keri Cantrell, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Pocosin pines provide a great backdrop for reflection, on the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge. US Fish & Wildlife Service
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Strengthening the state's water quality rules and addressing animal agriculture was important to improving the state's environment.