JONES COUNTY, NC (Bruce Henderson/The Charlotte Observer) - State environmental regulators have fined the owner of an eastern North Carolina hog farm $64,000 for illegally draining nearly 1 million gallons of water from a waste lagoon.
The Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday it started investigating Lanier Farms TCB Inc. in Jones County in late August after getting an anonymous tip. They found multiple violations of the farm's general permit.
Inspections showed that 987,000 gallons of wastewater were illegally drained from a waste lagoon into a nearby wooded area, DEQ said. Lagoons hold water and hog waste that are flushed out of the large buildings where animals are raised. Excess wastewater from the lagoons is sprayed on farm fields as a fertilizer.
But permits don't let swine farmers drain wastes into surface waters. Tests found contaminants from the discharged water reached a tributary of the Trent River 1.5 miles away. There were no known impacts to public water supplies.
The $64,072 fine of farm owner Douglas Lanier reflected, in part, his previous environmental citations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015, DEQ said. Lanier has 30 days to appeal the fine or ask that it be reduced.