ALBANY, Ind. - Neighbors of an eastern Indiana fish farm say they'll oppose the start of its proposed $30 million expansion after negotiations over odor and other complaints broke down.
The planned expansion by Bell Aquaculture would more than double its current production of about 3 million pounds of perch, trout and salmon a year at its facility near the Delaware County town of Albany.
Neighbor Tony Evans said the operation produces an odor similar to a "rotten fish bowl." Neighbors also say water discharged by the farm is causing drainage problems and flooding.
A county zoning board is scheduled on March 27 to consider Bell's proposal to build a feed mill for the expansion about 10 miles northeast of Muncie, The Star Press reported.
The company had offered steps including the installation of pollution control equipment in the feed mill, planting 45 trees to create a visual barrier and buying more equipment to reduce odors from a fish feces lagoon.
The two sides had met privately in recent weeks to work on a possible agreement, but the 11 neighbors rejected a settlement proposal submitted by Bell's attorney.
"We appreciate that, but we still don't want an industrial feed mill adjacent to our properties," Evans said. "These feed mills smell."
Company President Norman McCowan said Bell has tried to address the concerns of neighbors.
McCowan said the feed mill is the first step in launching Bell's expansion, which would add 75 jobs to its current workforce of about 50 people.
"We continue to strive to advance our processes in order to reduce our environmental impact and produce the healthiest fish possible," McCowan said in a written statement.
"We provide a healthy, sustainable option to our growing food crisis," he said.