"Are the many hog and poultry farms of eastern North Carolina creating 'fields of filth,' as two groups of environmental activists put it last summer? And if they are, what happens when a hurricane comes along and dumps a foot and a half of water on them?
The two groups, Environmental Working Group and Waterkeeper Alliance, just issued a partial answer. It's a report filled with overhead photos taken in early October, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. They show flooded poultry barns and "lagoons" filled with swine manure, spilling animal waste into nearby waterways.
According to the two groups, the flood waters partially submerged 10 pig farms with 39 barns, 26 large chicken-raising operations with 102 barns, and 14 manure lagoons. They say that flood waters inevitably carried large amounts of animal waste downstream and out to sea, "putting waterways, drinking water sources and public health at risk.""