The New River is a 50-mile (80-km) long river in southeastern North Carolina in the United States. It empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It rises in northwestern Onslow County and flows east-southeast past Jacksonville, where it widens into a tidal estuary approximately two miles (3.2 km) wide. As an estuary it meanders through Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeuneand enters the Atlantic in Onslow Bay, via the New River Inlet between two barrier islands. The New River's headwaters and mouth are in the same county.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway crosses the entrance of the river between the coast and the barrier island.
The river is periodically dredged for the convenience of commercial fishing operations. The New River Inlet exit into the ocean has been moved by man via dredging projects. Since the fishing industry and political gains are greater by continuing this dredging project, it is causing the southern island from the inlet to slowly disappear. Since the man made inlet was placed north of the island, the island has begun to wash away due to the changes in currents.
The New River is the site of several environmentally damaging hog-waste spills due to the high concentration of large hog farms in North Carolina, which is the second highest hog producing state. North Carolina’s 10 million hogs produce 40 million gallons of manure each day. In Duplin County alone, 2.2 million hogs produce twice as much untreated manure as the sewage from the New York City metro area. The manure from these farms are kept in open lagoons, which are prone to bursts during heavy rainfall.
In 1999, Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina, flooding hog waste lagoons and releasing 25 million gallons of manure into the New River, which contaminated the water supply and caused widespread death of aquatic life. Ronnie Kennedy, county director for environmental health, said that of 310 private wells he had tested for contamination since the storm, 9 percent, or three times the average across eastern North Carolina, had fecal coliform bacteria. Normally, tests showing any hint of feces in drinking water, an indication that it can be carrying disease-causing pathogens, are cause for immediate action.