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What Happens When a Hurricane Hits a CAFO?

manure lagoons

Story at-a-glance -

  • Of North Carolina’s active CAFOs, at least 45 of them are located in 100-year and 500-year floodplains that were at risk of being flooded by streams and rivers during September 2018’s Hurricane Florence
  • CAFO waste sits in open-air lagoons, waiting to be sprayed onto neighboring fields; when excess levels of rain fall, such as is common during a hurricane, they can become flooded, leading to spillover
  • In 1999, floodwaters from Hurricane Floyd breached CAFO waste lagoons, causing the toxic sludge to flow out into waterways and agricultural fields
  • Farmers saw their crops covered in waste while rescue workers were sickened by the fumes; algae blooms flourished, killing off fish and other marine life
  • If manure lagoons fail, area residents may be faced with contaminated drinking water and polluted air

By Dr. Mercola

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are among the most notorious polluters on the planet, but when they're located in hurricane-prone areas like North Carolina, it adds another degree of potential for environmental disaster.


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