By CHELSEA DAVIS Courier staff writer
---- — BATAVIA — Two hog confinement operations will soon be constructed near Batavia after receiving approval from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The Adam family, consisting of Nick and his sons Jeff and Shawn, will construct two CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), which will be called Valley View Swine, southwest of Batavia. One of the two deep-pit swine finisher confinement barns will be located in the 6200 block of Wapello-Jefferson Road (two miles southwest of Batavia); the other will be constructed 45th Street and Washington Road (four miles southwest of Batavia and four miles northeast of Eldon).
IDNR environmental engineer Paul Petitti said the permit was issued for the first site on Friday; the permit for the second site was issued Tuesday morning.
"We're doing everything by law, so there shouldn't be any reason why we shouldn't have been approved — and we got approved," said Jeff Adam. "We're happy with the results."
Construction on the first site on Wapello-Jefferson Road will begin immediately, he said, depending on the weather. Construction on the second site will begin soon after. There will be 4,960 hogs on each site, he said.
"I'm just happy that we got approved and we can move forward with our plans to supply Iowa with good, quality pork," he said.
Other Batavia and Eldon residents don't share his excitement.
Elder Stephen Conte, pastor at the Des Moines River Primitive Baptist Church — which sits 1/2 mile from the second site — said the construction of the CAFOs is "an act of incredible disrespect."
"The Primitive Baptists have been there for 175 years, and they will be there for a good while longer, regardless of hog confinements or what," Conte said. "If the area is uninhabitable because of bacteria and air pollution of noxious fumes, and if the odor is unbearable and if insects come ... the area will become undesirable. It's not a good prospect at all. We're just plain too close to it."
The steering committee opposed to the CAFOs says the operations would be a huge detriment to the communities, causing property values to plummet, negatively impacting the health of those living nearby, increased stench, diminishing the quality of life and deteriorating infrastructure.
"If there were health problems or if they would decrease home values, I wouldn't build them," Adam previously told the Courier. "I have small children, a 10-month-old and a 6-year-old. If I really believed that these would affect their health, there's no money in the world they could give me to build these buildings. It's false and fabricated."
Conte said a group of Batavia and Eldon residents are considering launching a lawsuit against the CAFOs.