Ohio DNR Approves Water Permit for Williams County Salmon Farm

PIONEER, Ohio (WANE) – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has approved a water abstraction request from the operators of a salmon farm currently under construction in northwest Ohio. The farm has met opposition from those who claim the salmon farm will have a serious impact on the environment.

AquaBounty is building a large-scale commercial salmon farm in Pioneer, Ohio, located in Williams County. But before it can close, the company must clear several regulatory hurdles. One of those hurdles has to do with withdrawing millions of gallons of water from an underground aquifer that extends into Indiana and Ohio.

On Thursday, the Ohio DNR’s Department of Water Resources approved AquaBounty’s application to pump up to 5.25 million gallons of water from the aquifer over a Williams County well field. In its permit statement, the DNR stated that the Williams County aquifer receives 200 million gallons of water per day from rainfall and groundwater inflows from Michigan and Indiana. This estimate was provided by the US Geological Survey

Opponents of the salmon farm believe wells that rely on the aquifer will dry up.

AquaBounty is still awaiting approval from the Ohio EPA for wastewater discharge permits. AquaBounty plans to pump the salmon farm’s used water into the St. Joseph River, which flows into Indiana, where it will eventually join the St. Marys River to form the Maumee in Fort Wayne.

Doug Fasick, executive director of the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative, and Tom Selman, Angola’s water council, have expressed concern about the plan.

“The environmental and environmental impacts of additional discharge into surface waters of the St. Joseph River need to be evaluated,” Fasick said.

When completed, AquaBounty’s pioneer salmon farm will dwarf a salmon farm it currently operates in Albany, Indiana. The Albany farm is capable of raising 1,200 tonnes of salmon per year, while the Pioneer facility would be capable of producing 10,000 tonnes of salmon per year. According to the AquaBounty website, the company plans to stock salmon at the facility by the end of 2023.

https://www.wane.com/top-stories/ohio-dnr-approves-water-permit-for-salmon-farm-in-williams-county/ Ohio DNR Approves Water Permit for Williams County Salmon Farm

Tom Vazquez

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