The city of Kennansville and the surrounding Duplin County area is a major hub of hog processing in the form of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. In 2007 alone the county processed 2,274,524 hogs. CAFO operations are disproportionatly located near low income African American and Hispanic communities. One study found that CAFOs were nine times more likely to be sited in areas with high poverty and a large minority community even controlling for population density. Waste from the CAFOs is stored untreated in large lagoons and then applied to the land. These lagoos of waste contain harmful pathogens, insecticides, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals as well as nitorgen and phosphorus. The waste leaches into the surrounding ground and over overflows during times of heavy rainfall contaminating local watersheds. Pollution and odor also travel through the air in fine particles that coat outside surfaces. Testing in the area has found high levels of hydrogen sulfide, endotoxin, coarse particulate matter, and semivolatile compounds. Local residents have complained of resperatory problems, irritated skin, and eyes, and nausea.
In 2007 a moratorium on new hog CAFOs became law. However, regulations on existing hog operations remains weak. After some legislative victories in 2011 the General Assembly passed an act S.L. 2011-118. SB 501 which allows hog farms to update their facilities without updated the safety technology in their waste lagoons. Some have objected that this counters previous agreements to implement the best environmental technology.