Hog producers deny access to pollution monitors, violate agreement

Potential pollution at North Carolina hog farms, like the one pictured above, is going unchecked while operators block access for monitors. (© Waterkeeper Alliance)

By denying independent consultants access to sites for groundwater sampling, a North Carolina swine producer is violating the terms of its agreement to address pollution. SELC filed a motion today seeking compliance with a 2006 consent decree signed by Smithfield Foods and its subsidiary Murphy-Brown. The consent decree resolved four cases brought by Waterkeeper Alliance and Sound Rivers concerning the company’s violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The cases were resolved by an agreement that included remediation of those threats. Under the terms of the agreement, an independent consultant evaluated Murphy-Brown owned and operated swine facilities in eastern North Carolina for potential contamination of groundwater by swine waste. As part of the review, the consultant identified additional sampling is needed at 11 facilities to ensure that groundwater contamination at each site is cleaned up. Now Murphy-Brown refuses to allow the consultant to take necessary groundwater samples.   

“We’re asking the court to require the company to make good on its promises,” said Senior Attorney Geoff Gisler.  

Once the groundwater samples are obtained, the consultant will be able to proceed with determining the appropriate corrective actions. Until then, SELC is heading back to court to insure access is provided and water quality protected.

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