GOULDSBORO – The State Department of Environmental Protection will hold a three-hour public meeting strictly online in late October to hear comments and concerns about American Aquafarms’ permit applications to unload two billion gallons of water daily. circulating water of the two 15 pens of the Norwegian company. sites northwest of Long Porcupine Island and northeast of Bald Rock Ledge in Frenchman Bay.
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 28, the DEP will hold a meeting for the public to intervene, ask questions and raise concerns regarding the two separate American Aquafarms licenses requiring the release of 23,775 gallons per second of the two. Frenchman Bay sites. . Pending public response and issues raised, the applicant may further amend their application. DEP will conduct its own review of the sewage disposal plan proposed by American Aquafarms and has the option of holding a public hearing before issuing final approval or denial.
Late last spring, American Aquafarms hosted a more than three hour online public meeting where American Aquafarms Vice President Eirik Jors Elizabeth Ransom, Senior Project Manager of Consulting Engineers and Scientists of Portland, and civil engineer and computer modeler Nathan Dill provided a detailed plan for the company’s wastewater disposal program.
In preparation for submitting its DEP applications, Ransom Consulting Engineers performed extensive manual and remote sensor testing in Frenchman Bay, which is approximately 15 miles long and 7 miles wide, to assess environmental impacts. potential of seawater use and discharge by the proposed salmon farm. grow up to 66 million pounds of Atlantic salmon per year. Computer modeling and statistical techniques were used to analyze hydrological data and predict outcomes at the coast and in remote parts of the bay.
Jors said Blue Ocean Technology of Norway designed the Frenchman Bay Project wastewater treatment system using technology refined through fish aquaculture over many years. He noted that the system’s sediment trap captures 90 percent of the fish waste consisting of dung and residual nutrients. He explained that the waste is pumped out and passes through a central bin on a barge before being transported to the mainland. The material is recycled into by-products such as biogas and fertilizers. He added that the salmon feed is made from fishmeal and oils from fish and plants and does not contain any hormones, antibiotics, palm oil, chemical PCBs or genetically modified (GMO) foods.
In addition, Jors said that the eco-cages offered by American Aquafarms are equipped with a robotic device to systematically clean the enclosures. Cleaning agents and drugs for treating farmed salmon must be listed on the DEP permit. In the event of illness, Frenchman Bay Farm and a licensed veterinarian would be required to jointly formulate a treatment plan and seek permission from state authorities.
Speaking of the daily release of 2 billion gallons of seawater, staff at Dill and Ransom studied the dispersion, dilution and drift of filtered water over time in the waters surrounding the proposed 60-year-old fish farm. acres and the whole bay. They estimated that the 2 billion gallons dumped daily would be diluted a dozen times in Frenchman Bay. They also calculated the amount of nitrogen and other elements released as part of the release. In the case of nitrogen, they determined the amount to be 2,300 pounds – well below the amount allowed by state law.
“Without degrading the water quality, you could add 13,000 pounds of nitrogen and that would take you directly to that threshold,” Dill said, noting the planned 2,300 pounds of nitrogen. “So we are well below the 20% capacity threshold. “
Holly Faubel from Belfast took issue with Dill’s estimate, saying the amount did not include nitrogen that fish naturally release in liquid form through their gills.
On the issue of nitrogen, Elizabeth Ransom told Faubel that she was “sure that nitrogen is certainly present in liquid form. What you’re going to see is that the nitrogen levels are pretty low and being released to a level that won’t do any harm. ”
To attend the Zoom meeting, go to https://us06web.zoom.us/j/6928501126?pwd=blBEMDBlUTFKb3ZIbFN0NFVEaTl0dz09. The meeting ID is: 692 850 1126. The public can also call, using the same meeting ID number and the same 4gWhZz access code. Written comments can be sent to [email protected].