COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) — After a week of trial that began on June 28, Freedman Farms, Inc. and its president, William B. Freedman, pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Water Act, for discharging hog waste into Browder’s Branch, a tributary to the Waccamaw River.
According to a news release from the Department of Justice, Freedman Farms had approximately 4,800 hogs and their waste was supposed to be directed to two lagoons for treatment and disposal. In December of 2007, hog waste was reportedly discharged directly into Browder’s Branch.
Freedman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act, a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly or negligently discharge a pollutant into a water of the United States, for his role in the incident.
According to the plea agreement for Freedman Farms filed Wednesday, the government and the corporate defendant have jointly asked the court to sentence Freedman Farms to pay $1.5 million, serve a term of five years’ probation, and publish a public apology. Under the plea agreement for William Freedman, the defendant reportedly faces up to one year in prison.