State officials have approved plans for a large-scale hog farm in western Decatur County, but some residents still have concerns about the facility’s effect on local water resources.
The proposed Cook Farm would raise about 4,400 pigs at a time. A facility that large requires a state permit and Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesperson Barry Sneed says the company in charge of the facility has satisfied the state’s requirements.
“As a result, there’s no reason we have to be able to deny the permit,” he says.
Sneed says opponents of the plans could still appeal the decision.
Several would-be neighbors to the farm have told the state they are worried the farm would pull water away from their wells and contaminate groundwater.
Department of Natural Resources Water Rights and Use Chief Mark Basch says DNR officials plan to search for two wells that are located on the farm site.
“Well, I think any time that there’s an abandoned well, you know, we would be looking to see that it would be plugged in accordance with the state standards, in order for it to not be a direct conduit for groundwater contamination,” he says.
Basch says the agency also plans to check water levels on a few private wells. But he adds the DNR won’t have any authority over how much water the farm uses unless it starts pulling at least 100,000 gallons daily. He says it is unlikely the farm would ever come near that threshold.