Neighbors concerned about well water quality after hog farm releases animal waste into nearby creek

Neighbors concerned about well water quality after hog farm releases animal waste into nearby creek
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:13 PM EST
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BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Neighbors in the Ammon area are concerned about their drinking water after thousands of gallons of animal waste were released into a nearby creek.

“It was a really unpleasant smell of, like, fecal matter,” said Anthony Jimenez, who lives just half a mile from the release.

After living on Old Fayetteville Road in Bladen County for nearly a year, Jimenez and Jennifer O’Neal say they’ve gotten used to the occasional smell of their hog-farm-neighbors. Friday night, they say that was a different story.

“I kept hearing the trucks coming out the dirt road right here and it was unusual[for] them kind of trucks coming in and out,” said O’Neal. “They said ‘Smithfield,’ so I’m assuming that something spilled in the river right down here where the trucks were at.”

You can still see the tire tracks from where the trucks were parked along the road. The North Carolina DEQ says crews spent the last few days pumping animal waste out of Little Turnbull Creek after Murphy-Brown Farm reported the release.

What worries neighbors is that they didn’t find out about the spill until long after it happened.

“They never really mentioned anything,” said Jimenez. “They never said anything. You noticed the smell and the trucks, that’s all you could see. See all the hoses they got connected and stuff like that.”

DEQ’s Division of Water Resources says the spill happened because of a pipe failure, allowing the untreated waste to flow into Little Turnbull Creek. The farm’s workers reportedly started pumping the creek that same night and crews continued those efforts until Monday morning.

Now, neighbors worry about what this could mean for the well water they drink from, just half a mile away from the spill.

“I don’t know if we need to boil our water or what,” said O’Neal. “Nobody’s letting us know anything. That was my concern because that could make you sick or something.”

So far, a boil water notice has not been announced for that area and it’s unclear if the waste release could have reached nearby wells.

The state DEQ says it has taken water samples downstream from the spill and will share those results as soon as they’re available.