Water, air quality concerns heighten conflict between pig farms and environmental advocates

Federal lawsuits from Washington state to North Carolina are challenging the efficient, profitable livestock industry to change its ways.

The arguments found in the suits are based on studies that increasingly show the impact phosphorous, nitrate and bacteria from fertilizer and accumulated manure have on lakes and rivers as well as air pollution that may be harmful to respiratory health.

Large-scale livestock farmers insist they're using techniques to keep manure and fertilizer from draining into waterways, but also say that takes time.

But those who rely on rivers and lakes for drinking water or live near the large-scale operations are growing impatient and their lawsuits serve to highlight the debate between the right to raise livestock and the right to clean water and air.