Pure Farms Pure Waters: Water Monitoring Program

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Pure Farms Pure Waters:

Water Quality Monitoring

Through the Pure Farms, Pure Waters program, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch regularly monitors waterways near Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). CAFOs, often referred to as “factory farms”, have been known to pollute waterways, impact air quality, and contaminate drinking water wells.

CAFO waste contains:

  • Urine and feces
  • E. coli and other pathogens
  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia
  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Hormones
  • Heavy metals

Samples are analyzed for fecal bacteria in CCRW’s local laboratory. CCRW also uses a certified State laboratory to identify nutrients and additional parameters.

CAFOs are classified as “non-discharge” facilities, meaning no runoff should be entering our waters.

However, regular water sampling indicates increased levels of contaminants associated with animal waste. Sampling results are reported to State agencies for further investigation and action. Click Here to Read More.

As part of the CCRW Water Quality for Fisheries Program, industrial agriculture and factory farm pollution has been identified as one of the top five water quality impacts to coastal North Carolina fisheries.

Stay tuned next month for a full assessment on how industrial agriculture and factory farming impacts water quality and fisheries, what is currently being done in the State of North Carolina to address this issue, and what the coastal community has identified as next step action item priorities.

Want to learn more about this program or find out if your neighboring waterways are being impacted by CAFO waste pollution? Contact us by clicking here.

White Oak Waterkeeper, Becca Drohan, regularly collects and analyzes water samples from the White Oak River Basin.


White Oak Waterkeeper, Becca Drohan, uses YSI equipment to measure pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity during the water monitoring process.

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