The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has fined the owner of a Jones County swine farm after an investigation revealed nearly a million gallons of wastewater was discharged into a nearby wooded area.
Douglas Lanier was fined nearly $65,000 for multiple violations of his farm’s general permit, including a condition not to discharge wastewater from hog waste lagoons into surface water. DEQ officials started investigating the spill on Aug. 31 after receiving an anonymous tip. After an inspection of the site, spokesperson for DEQ Jamie Kritzer says they determined that the wastewater was illegally discharged most likely over several days.
“There’s a difference of opinion from talking to the farm owner on whether it was an accident or intentional.”
Contaminants from wastewater eventually made its way from Lanier Farms TCB Inc. in Comfort to an unnamed tributary of the Trent River one and a half miles away.
“We conducted testing of the ponded wastewater that was on the farm property and we also conducted testing in that tributary and we found high levels of fecal coliform and other waste.”
Kritzer says there were no impacts to public water supplies. Lanier has 30 days to pay the fine, file an appeal or request a reduction of the penalty amount. He has received four previous environmental citations from DEQ between 2010 and 2015.