In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Rick Dove, co-founder of Waterkeeper Alliance, took aerial photos of North Carolina’s flooded agricultural areas that are heavily populated by hog and poultry CAFOs (aka, factory farms). In this Washington Post piece, Dove describes the devastation shown with swamped hog and chicken houses and inundated manure lagoons that poured millions of gallons of hazardous waste into floodwaters that will pollute rivers, lakes, oceans and land.
So far, the failure of at least 63 manure lagoons are confirmed, and as Dove states, toxins found by the U.S. Geological Survey after Hurricane Floyd in 1999 found high levels of E. coli and Clostridium perfringens in water after floodwaters subsided. He notes that pathogens, viruses and bacteria from hog waste can carry antibiotic-resistant strains, which can infect humans.
In addition to the toxic waters, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture counted the death of at about 4.1 million poultry birds and 5,500 hogs, total that dwarfs those experienced after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Meteorologists at NOAA now identify Hurricane Florence as the second rainiest storm in US history, only surpassed Hurricane Harvey in 2017.