More than 200 people turned out for a public information meeting on a proposal to discharge millions-of-gallons of wastewater from a Pioneer, Ohio salmon farm into the East Branch of the Saint Joseph River.
Aquabounty has received a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, (DNR) to withdraw up to 5,000,000 gallons of water daily from the Michindoh Aquifer, which serves the Tri-State area, including much of Hillsdale County…
The withdrawal permit is contingent on whether the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves the permit to discharge wastewater into the East Branch of the Saint Joseph River*, which is part of the Maumee River Watershed.
Hillsdale County Commissioner Mark Wiley told WCSR News, those in attendance at Monday’s Meeting asked some good questions about the impact of granting the discharge permit. Some asked whether the Greats Lake Compact, which is made up of representatives of several states and Canadian provinces, should be involved in the permitting process, since it affects the Lake Erie Watershed. Wiley said he will pose that question to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
Some attendees pointed to dire predictions for the Ogallala Aquifer as an example of what can go wrong when a water source is overused. The Ogallala Aquifer serves eight Midwest and Western states and is being depleted much faster than it can be replenished, threatening the nation’s food supply.
Residents have until Monday September 19 to comment on the proposal. Comments can be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Or by mail to: Ohio EPA-DSW, Attn: Permits Processing Unit, PO Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049
*(The East Branch of the Saint Joseph or “Saint Joe of The Maumee” is a separate river from the Saint Joseph River that empties into Lake Michigan-although both rivers rise within a few miles of each other in Hillsdale County.)