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Indiana county OKs farm's plans for fish feed mill

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An eastern Indiana county has narrowly approved a fish farm's plans to build a feed mill as part of a $30 million expansion supporters say will help turn the area into an aquaculture hub.

Delaware County's Board of Zoning Appeals approved Bell Aquaculture's fish food mill Thursday despite complaints by neighbors about the stench produced by the farm's fish feces lagoon.

The board's vote had been tied 3-3 until Chairman Jack Neal Jr. cast the deciding vote.

That mill will produce 2.2 million pounds of fish food a month, which is more than Bell Aquaculture needs for its operations. The company plans to sell the surplus food to help fuel the Indiana aquaculture industry's growth, The Star Press reported.

The farm produces nearly 3 million pounds per year of yellow perch, trout and coho salmon in indoor tanks, but its expansion plans call for it to more than double that production.

Bell Aquaculture CEO Norman McCowan said residents who oppose the project do have legitimate concerns about the smell produced by the Albany-area farm's lagoons, but he said the company is already taking steps to address that.

"We are a cutting-edge technology," he told the zoning board. "We want to see Delaware County become a hub for aquaculture."

Neighbors who oppose the feed mill said that not only does the lagoon stink, but the farm is also discharging so much water it has flooded surrounding property. Bell withdraws nearly 400 million gallons of water yearly from the ground for its operations.

Bill Hughes, an attorney who represents the disgruntled neighbors, said the fish farm's operations will intensify.

"They intend to bring in a fish food factory, which is not agriculture. It's a factory. It's industrial, and all the problems that exist now are going to get worse," he said.

Terry Murphy, vice president of the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance, said the county plans to build a road from Ind. 67 to the fish farm to address concerns about truck traffic.

"We're doing everything we can to grow this industry, to attract new aquaculture, new jobs," Murphy said. "This is an opportunity to become a leader in this industry."

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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