How N.C. Can Handle Swine Waste Better


North Carolina is in the process of revising the permit that governs how 9.5 billion gallons of swine waste are handled at more than 2,000 industrial swine operations around the state. Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center yesterday filed extensive comments with the state about how that waste management could be improved.

There’s much we’d like to see change. The revised permit should:

  • Mandate the use of the North Carolina Phosphorus Loss Assessment tool, requiring every permittee to evaluate the threat of nutrient pollution, and limiting phosphorus application where necessary.
  • Increase transparency and accountability by requiring the monthly submission of certain records to the state’s Department of Water Resources. This would ensure they’re treated as public records.
  • Require additional groundwater monitoring of permittees.
  • Adjust design parameters to account for climate change and the best available data regarding floodplain mapping and resiliency.
  • Clarify the timeline for compliance for several provisions.

Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center filed the comments on behalf of Sound Rivers, Cape Fear River Watch, Winyah Rivers Foundation, Crystal Coast Waterkeeper, Crystal Coast Riverwatch, White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance, Haw River Assembly, Yadkin Riverkeeper, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Broad River Alliance, and MountainTrue. The full comment letter can be found here.


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