Civil Penalty assessed for B&L Farms Lagoon Breach


The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources (DWR) issued the owner of B&L Farms a civil penalty assessment totaling more than $87,000. This is in response to the June 12 animal waste lagoon breach, which released an estimated three million gallons of animal waste in Sampson County.

DWR staff inspected B&L Farms and determined the lagoon failure resulted in wastewater and solids/sludge spreading from the lagoon, into farms, wetlands, and into an unnamed tributary in the Cape Fear River Basin. DWR is responsible for issuing the permit for the animal waste disposal system.

“The egregious nature of the violations and the severity of the environmental harm in this case require a serious penalty that holds the owner accountable for not operating in compliance with their permit conditions and the laws of North Carolina,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan

The notice from the division describes three possible actions for B&L Farms:

  • Pay the fine directly to DEQ within 30 days,
  • Provide a written request for remission as described in the notice, 
  • Or file a petition for an administrative hearing.  

In June, DWR issued a notice of violation to B&L Farms that included failure to prevent discharge of waste to surface waters or wetlands, failure to maintain protective vegetative cover on lagoon embankment, failure to inspect waste collection, treatment, and storage system following storm event greater than one-inch rain, and failure to maintain records and make readily available.   

A copy of the assessment is available here.

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