The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

April 2, 2013

Decision to be made soon on hog confinement operations

BATAVIA — A final decision should be made within two weeks in a Batavia family’s application to build two hog confinement operations south of the town.

“The Department has received several emails from concerned citizens regarding the proposed confinements,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources environmental engineer Paul Petitti in an email to the Courier. “I have also been sent a copy of all comment letters the County has received. The Department will deny any permit that does not meet our requirements.”

Nick Adam, of Batavia, has applied for a construction permit to build two CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), which will be called Valley View Swine. The Adam family — which consists of Nick and his two sons, Shawn and Jeff — has proposed building two deep-pit swine finisher confinement barns, one near 6226 Wapello-Jefferson Road (two miles southwest of Batavia) in May and the other near 2297 45th St. (four miles southwest of Batavia) in August.

According to the IDNR, CAFOs must “retain all manure on site between periods of land application, observe land application separation distances, report any manure releases and correctly dispose of dead animals.”

Jeff Adam said if approved, construction will start immediately. If they’re not approved, “we’ll try to figure out why.

“But I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be approved,” he said.

The two sites the family is planning on building would contain a total of four buildings, each of which will house 2,480 hogs, bringing the total to under 10,000.

Depending on the number of hogs, the IDNR has different distance requirements.

Valley View Swines must be 1,875 feet from each house, 2,500 feet from any church or public property and 500 feet from any water source.

“We’ve met all those requirements and then some,” Adam said.

The family also had to develop a manure management plan to be approved by the IDNR.

“We had to take 2.5-acre soil samples and send them in for analysis,” he said. “Depending on those analyses and other things required in our manure management plan, they’ll tell us how many gallons [of manure] per acre we can apply. We have to follow those guidelines, because that’s the law, and we follow the law.”

If the family were to not follow the guidelines, they would be fined.

“But they’re put in place to be environmentally friendly, which is what we’re going to do,” he said. “The risk of over-applying manure has no reward in it. There’s no justification to putting ourselves out there to be liable.”

Tim Honomichl, of Batavia, said right now the committee opposing the CAFOs is trying to get the word out to as many Eldon and Batavia residents as possible.

“This all came about a month ago through a rumor,” Honomichl said. “I had called them on it and it ended up being true that they had this in the plans.”

Adam said he has offered to sit down and discuss the CAFOs with those who oppose them, but no one has accepted the invitation.

“If they want to come talk to me one-on-one, they’re more than welcome,” he said. “We’re just doing what we do every day, trying to make a living and trying to not fall into all the negativity.”

Right now, Honomichl said the committee does not plan on talking to the Adam family. Honomichl said to his knowledge, no one on the committee has been invited to speak with the Adam family about the CAFOs.

“We don’t want it in our area ... because we think it’s going to hurt our property and it’s not good for breathing in the dirty air, with the historic Gothic House in the area, and it’s not good for our school system,” he said.

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