The Department of Environmental Quality is conducting a 12-month study to evaluate surface water impacts in areas with concentrated animal feeding operations in Sampson and Duplin counties. In addition to obtaining surface water data in areas with high concentrations of animal operations, it is the department’s intent to utilize the study to identify and address any unpermitted discharges in the area. At the end of the 12-month period, a draft report on the study will be provided to interested parties for comment. The final report will be posted to this website.
Sampling and Analysis
In April 2018, the Division of Water Resources began surface water monitoring in the Stocking Head Creek watershed, including 10 study sampling sites and one reference sampling site. The study area is located in the Lower Cape Fear River basin. Water samples from the sites will be collected through March 2019 to capture seasonal variations in water quality and to build a data set that meets basic statistical requirements. The data from the study sites and reference site will be evaluated and compared to determine if significant water quality differences are present. The department will continue to evaluate the need for additional monitoring in the study area as new data becomes available.
As part of the study’s statistical analysis process, staff may consider spray irrigation events at adjacent farms as well as relationships between rainfall and pollutant concentrations. Enhanced analytical methods for surface water samples may also be utilized for the purposes of pathogen and nutrient source identification. If data from the statistical analyses or enhanced water quality analyses demonstrates that water quality problems exist, additional research will be conducted to identify the specific source(s) of the pollutants.
By January 2019, a permanent ambient monitoring site will be established that is representative of the Stocking Head Creek watershed. The station will be monitored on a long-term basis for fecal coliform, nutrients, turbidity and physical water quality parameters.
*Please note that the limited dataset provided here represents a short-duration study and does not include a sufficient number of sampling events to conduct a valid statistical analysis. Therefore, it is not possible to make cause and effect conclusions at this time and the data should be used for informational purposes only.