Published on

Literal Sh*t Storm: Warnings of Major Manure Threat as Hurricane Dorian Barrels Toward North Carolina Factory Farms

"The heavy rainfall could flood poorly located factory farms, spreading untold tons of hog, chicken, and turkey waste along the coastal plain."

Bill Olesner walks down South Battery St. while cleaning debris from storm drains on September 5, 2019 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

As Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Carolinas Thursday, environmentalists warned the powerful storm could unleash millions of tons of manure and other animal waste if it floods the factory farms situated on the North Carolina coast.

Soren Rundquist, who studies the expansion of factory farms for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said "the most important thing right now is that people stay safe" as the hurricane bears down on the southeast U.S.

"But we're also watching the thousands of North Carolina factory farms that sit directly in Dorian's projected path," said Rundquist. "The heavy rainfall could flood poorly located factory farms, spreading untold tons of hog, chicken, and turkey waste along the coastal plain."

Green groups and North Carolina residents have good reason to worry that a powerful storm like Dorian could flood factory farms and release tons of manure into the state's rivers and creeks.

Last September, according to EWG, Hurricane Florence flooded or breached more than 130 pig manure lagoons and dozens of poultry operations.

EWG said the possible spread of factory farm manure could pose a severe public health hazard, as life-threatening bacteria could contaminate sources of public drinking water.


Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

"Farm animal manure contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella," EWG said in a press release. "Pollution from the chemicals in livestock waste also triggers toxic algae blooms... After Florence, at least 73 tap water systems serving over a half-million people issued advisories for residents to boil water that may have been contaminated by floodwaters."

EWG's warning came as Hurricane Dorian caused major power outages, flooding, and "slew" of tornadoes in the Carolinas.

As the New York Times reported Thursday, "Dorian's center was far away, but its tropical-storm-force winds extended nearly 200 miles from its center, and its effects could be felt in Wilmington, a port city of about 122,000 on North Carolina's southeastern coast."

Our pandemic coverage is free to all. As is all of our reporting.

No paywalls. No advertising. No corporate sponsors. Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, traffic to the Common Dreams website has gone through the roof— at times overwhelming and crashing our servers. Common Dreams is a news outlet for everyone and that’s why we have never made our readers pay for the news and never will. But if you can, please support our essential reporting today. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article