RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - A federal grand jury indicted a hog farm owner in Columbus County this week on charges related to illegally discharging hog waste into Browder's Branch, which runs into White Marsh, a tributary of the Waccamaw River.
William Barry, 45, and Freedman Farm, Inc. were named in the indictment. The company is accused of violating the Clean Water Act, two counts of false statements and one count of obstructing justice.
The company raises hogs in Bladen, Robeson and Columbus Counties. In December 2007, it was discovered that hog waste was in the Browder's Branch, a stream in the area. Pumps and tanker trucks came in to remove 169,000 gallons of the more than 332,000 gallons hog waste that had been in the stream, but officials also determined there was no pumping system failure, vandalism or accidental discharge that caused this.
While investigating, officials claim the Freedman Farms company falsely represented a proper disposal of waste at that time, by transferring the waste from a lagoon to crops.
An indictment is an allegation and not actual finding of guilt.