State warns people to stay clear of Craven County creek after hog waste spill

CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A spill at an Eastern Carolina hog operation has state officials warning people to keep clear of one creek.

A resident in Craven County notified the state Department of Environmental Quality about animal waste spilled into the Swift Creek. The state Department of Environmental Quality says the spill happened at St. John Farm, which is located on St. John Road outside of Grifton.

“The issue was reported early last week by a local citizen that noticed animal waste along her property,” said Taylor Register, a Water Quality Specialist with Sound River.

After the DEQ received the alert about the animal waste, they went out to investigate it. DEQ says people should not fish or have recreational activities on a portion of Swift Creek in Craven County.

The area of Swift Creek to stay clear of is Honolulu Rd and US 118, which is west of Vanceboro. However, what residents in Craven County want are answers.

“They need to find the hog farmer and then make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Craven County resident Glenn Ewing.

The state says on Tuesday they were alerted to hog waste in ditches. An investigation shows the spill came from over-application of animal waste on fields, resulting in run-of.

Register says if it was not for the resident who called in, they would not have known about the spill. She explains it is important for the community to share insight on what they find.

“We compare it to upstream samples to see what normal limits look like for Swift Creek,” said Register. “Then we collect the samples downstream and compare what the degree of contamination is that is being discharged from the facility.”

DEQ says it is still investigating how much hog waste was discharged, the cause, and any corrective actions that should be taken.

Swift Creek flows into the Neuse River near New Bern. The state urges people to stay out of Swift Creek until further notice.