USGS - science for a changing world

North Carolina Water Science Center

Home Data Projects Publications Drought Floods Media About Us Contact

Map of North Carolina highlighting the project study area

Project Overview

Full Title
Characterization of Surface-Water Quality Associated with Swine CAFOs in Eastern North Carolina

Location
  North Carolina Coastal Plain

Cooperating Agencies
NC DENR Division of Water Quality, Aquifer Protection Section

Project Chief
Stephen Harden

Period of Project
2011 - 2014

Team Members
Stephen Harden
Brian Pointer
Ryan Rasmussen
Sean Egen
Jessica Cain
Dominick Antolino

Science Topic
Agriculture and Water Quality
Support of Federal and State Programs

USGS IN YOUR STATE

USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.

There is a USGS Water Science Center office in each State. Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Colorado Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Pennsylvania West Virginia Georgia Florida Caribbean Alaska Hawaii New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts South Carolina North Carolina Rhode Island Virginia Connecticut New Jersey Maryland-Delaware-D.C.

Surface-Water Quality and Swine CAFOs

Introduction

spray field

Spray field at swine CAFO in eastern North Carolina

The Animal Feeding Operations Unit within the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Quality (DWQ) is responsible for permitting and regulating animal feeding operations throughout North Carolina. As of 2010, DWQ permitted approximately 2,150 swine operations in the state, the majority (about 2,000) of which are located in the Coastal Plain Physiographic Province.

The lack of stream water-quality data associated with the many permitted swine concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in eastern North Carolina makes it difficult for DWQ to:

  • Assess the extent to which effects of swine CAFOs on stream nutrient concentrations can be measured
  • Determine how well existing CAFO regulations protect the waters of the state
  • Recommend effective changes to regulations or procedures

Therefore, the DWQ is collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to generate needed information to provide a scientific basis for water-resource managers and policy makers to evaluate existing, or establish new, regulations or procedures at permitted CAFOs for protecting and enhancing stream water quality in nutrient impaired waters in eastern North Carolina.

This study is designed to characterize stream water-quality conditions in Coastal Plain watersheds to document whether swine CAFOs have a measurable effect on surface water nutrient concentrations.

Data collection

All water-quality data collected during this project will be available online in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS).

  • Bi-monthly water-quality sampling at 54 locations
  • Sampling across watershed variables: number and types of CAFOs, land cover, soil drainage

Report

A final report summarizing the collected project data will be produced upon completion of the study.

USGS Home Water Climate Change Core Science Ecosystems Energy and Minerals Env. Health Hazards

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://nc.water.usgs.gov/projects/cafo/index.html
Page Contact Information: North Carolina Web Development Team
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 13-Mar-2013 15:19:17 EDT