based on national benchmarks. Historically, anti-pollution efforts have focused on municipal wastewater treat- ment and industry. Though some towns till have problems with outdated and outgrown equipment, their "point-source" contribution is much easier to regulate and control. "We've squeezed the municipalities and industries about as hard as they're going to be squeezed," Moreau said. "Many of these have already cut [nitrogen levels] by 30 percent. Solving the problem they cause is going to be rela- tively easy." The EMC borrowed from the Envirorunental Defense Fund a tactic whereby municipalities are given discharge allocations they can "trade" with others. For example, if Town A is allo- cated more discharge than it actually needs (based, presum- ably, on projected growth), it can sell or rent part of its allo- cation to Town B, which needs to discharge beyond its allowance. This, Moreau estimates, has aved the towns $3 million a year over the cost of acting independently of each other. But the primary target now is agriculture, and that's in tune with the national trend. Agriculture is the top land use ( 39 percent) in the Neuse Basin. While the explosive growth of the hog industry and the.lax pollution control of some farmers have grabbed the headlines, runoff from row crop fertilization also contributes sig- nificantly to nitrogen impact. David Moreau, who's writing a book about water quality in the United States, says cleaning up municipal and industrial pollution is the easy part. The challenge is agriculture and private residential development. "The press has played a tremendous role in getting that message across," Moreau said. "They have =de 'agriculture' synony- mous with 'hogs.' Most of this is coming, however, from row crops. Nitrogen fertil- izer use has grown dramatically. "It's very easy to be labeled anti-agri- culture, and that's not what this is about.
There are 8,300 farms in the Neuse Basin.
What it comes down to is over half the
nutrient pollution is coming from agri-
If only it were as simple as saying,
"stop polluting or else." Moreau, who is
writing a book on water quality manage-
ment in the United States and has
devoted a chapter to the Neuse, wrestles
with the balance between the plight ofa
farmer who's right on the edge of eco-
nomic collapse when he is caught with a
small pipe running out of a lagoon, while
a midsized eastern North Carolina town
is caught dumping acres of untreated
sludge. Sometimes he wonders, as he
said, "Where's the fairness in this thing?"
HANS PAERL immigrated from Hol-
land at age 11. The product of two families
CAR0LINA ALUMN IREV l EW 49