Less than a week after time expired for local officials to file a last-ditch appeal to stop a major expansion at the Rising Sun Dairy in Madison County, a fish kill was discovered Sunday and the dairy has been blamed.
Preliminary numbers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife are that at least 6,900 fish and tadpoles died when a newly-installed manure system developed a blockage.
The dairy, on Yankeetown-Chenoweth Road, south of London, currently is allowed to have no more than 920 cows. It has been granted state permits to expand to as many as 2,588 once expansion construction is finished and the facility passes all its required inspections, said Erica Pitchford Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Not all the construction is finished. so those inspections hadn't yet occurred before the fish kill was reported Sunday, she said.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the spill, said spokeswoman Heather Lauer.
A deer hunter found the dead fish Sunday evening in a branch of the Bradford Creek that flows through Mike Young's property on Yankeetown-Chenoweth Road, not far from the dairy.
Young said he has had fish kills in his creek before and the dairy had been blamed.
Now, he is irked all over again.
"It just doesn't make any sense, that no one can make them do it right," Young said.
The Madison County commissioners, a few local residents and trustees of Paint and Union townships had opposed the dairy's growth plans.
They took their case to the state's Environmental Review Appeals Commission but that appeal was dismissed in late September.
Madison County Prosecutor Steve Pronai said he could have appealed one more level but only on technicalities. The deadline for him to do so has passed.
Jack Van Kley, Rising Sun's attorney for the expansion, said he was unaware of the fish kill.
By Holly Zachariah - The Columbus Dispatch (MCT)
(c)2012 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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