EPA hosts dairy expansion hearing

LARUE, Ohio – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. March 13 to accept comments about the draft permit for DeVries Dairy Farm.

The meeting will be at Elgin West Elementary, 350 North High Street, LaRue.

The proposed farm would be located on the east side of Groundhog Road and north of Sager Road in Bowling Green Township, Marion County. The proposed farm would be completed in two phases. Phase one would house 1,500 cows; phase two would add 1,000 for a total of 2,500 cows.

The permit application estimates 1,071 acres would be required to land apply the manure. DeVries owns nearly 1,220 acres for manure application. The sites proposed for manure application are all located in Bowling Green Township and are owned by DeVries.

New conditions.

Ohio EPA received a number of comments during the project’s draft phase. As a result, the agency added additional conditions to the draft permit. These include:

* DeVries must conduct water quality monitoring of Rush Creek and selected tributaries before, during and after the company applies manure to its fields. Monitoring parameters include: ammonia-nitrogen and total phosphorus.

If this permit is approved, Ohio EPA will conduct baseline water quality sampling of Rush Creek and nearby tributaries before the dairy becomes operational.

* The draft permit sets requirements for daily flow monitoring and manure storage capacity monitoring.

* The draft permit addresses manure application acreage of concern – specifically areas prone to surface ponding or occasional flooding.

* The company also will be required to develop a comprehensive nutrient management plan to meet technical standards recommended by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Ohio EPA will accept written comments until March 20.

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