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Open-File Report 2009–1128

Prepared in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality, Aquifer Protection Section

Reconnaissance of Organic Wastewater Compounds at a Concentrated Swine Feeding Operation in the North Carolina Coastal Plain, 2008

By Stephen L. Harden


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Water-quality and hydrologic data were collected during 2008 to examine the occurrence of organic wastewater compounds at a concentrated swine feeding operation located in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. Continuous groundwater level and stream-stage data were collected at one monitoring well and one stream site, respectively, throughout 2008. One round of environmental and quality-control samples was collected in September 2008 following a period of below-normal precipitation and when swine waste was not being applied to the spray fields. Samples were collected at one lagoon site, seven shallow groundwater sites, and one surface-water site for analysis of 111 organic wastewater compounds, including household, industrial, and agricultural-use compounds, sterols, pharmaceutical compounds, hormones, and antibiotics.

Analytical data for environmental samples collected during the study provide preliminary information on the occurrence of organic wastewater compounds in the lagoon-waste source material, groundwater beneath fields that receive spray applications of the lagoon wastes, and surface water in the tributary adjacent to the site. Overall, 28 organic wastewater compounds were detected in the collected samples, including 11 household, industrial, and agricultural-use compounds; 3 sterols; 2 pharmaceutical compounds; 5 hormones; and 7 antibiotics. The lagoon sample had the greatest number (20) and highest concentrations of compounds compared to groundwater and surface-water samples. The antibiotic lincomycin had the maximum detected concentration (393 micrograms per liter) in the lagoon sample. Of the 11 compounds identified in the groundwater and surface-water samples, all with reported concentrations less than 1 microgram per liter, only lincomycin identified in groundwater at 1 well and 3-methyl-1H-indole and indole identified in surface water at 1 site also were identified in the lagoon waste material.

First posted July 13, 2009
Online only

For additional information contact:
U.S. Geological Survey
3916 Sunset Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607

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Suggested citation:

Harden, S.L., 2009, Reconnaissance of organic wastewater compounds at a concentrated swine feeding operation in the North Carolina Coastal Plain, 2008: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1128, 14 p.




Purpose and Scope

Description of the Study Area


Data Results

Hydrologic Conditions during Sampling

Organic Wastewater Compounds



References Cited

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