GARNER | A permit for a confinement facility that will house thousands of hogs in southeastern Hancock County has been approved.
That comes after Gloria Goll of Klemme, who was joined by several others, asked the Hancock County Board of Supervisors to deny the permit Monday morning during a public hearing.
“All these neighbors are concerned about their wells and their health,” she said, on behalf of 11 residents who signed a letter outlining the reasons the county should deny the permit.
The public hearing was set after the county board received a construction permit application from DLH Enterprises VII LLC for a concentrated animal feeding operation, more commonly known as a CAFO, in Section 1 of Avery Township.
According to the application, DLH Enterprises VII plans on removing all existing swine confinement structures on the site and building three new shallow deep-pit swine confinement buildings to accommodate nearly 3,000 animal units — 5,206 gestating swine, 1,002 farrowing swine, 40 boar swine and 1,250 swine gilts.
“It’s a newer building with a newer design and newer technology,” said Noel Williams with Iowa Select Farms, noting better filtration for dust and odor control.
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Goll, who was the only resident to speak against the CAFO, presented the board with a list of nine reasons it should deny the permit, some of which included the presence of E. coli and iron in her well because of the amount of water the facility draws, manure management, the disposal of the buildings and the number of CAFOs within a 6-mile radius of her home.
“Ten, people, 10,” she said about the number of CAFOs in her neighborhood. “It’s enough. Deny this permit.”
Williams said the company has 900 to 1,100 acres to apply the manure, so it won’t be done on the 127 acres that are there.
Goll also voiced opposition for an on-site animal decomposition building that was included in the construction plan.
“We don’t need that in our neighborhood,” she said.
Williams said because of that building, however, the LLC receives additional matrix points from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources because it’s “a better source of animal removal.”
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Although the county's zoning administrator Andy Buffington was unable to attend the meeting, he evaluated the proposal based on the state's master matrix, which is the required framework for scoring such applications.
The matrix scores applications based on separation distances from residences, churches, businesses and water sources. The type of manure and how it is stored and disposed also are among the factors considered.
“They meet the requirements,” said Supervisor Jerry Tlach.
But Goll continued to ask the county board to deny the request for the neighbors “who demand a clean and safe environment,” her letter stated, but the supervisors unanimously approved the project because of the master matrix rating.
“We can (deny it), but it’ll go nowhere,” said Board Chair Sis Greiman. “We’ve done it before, Gloria.”
Greiman referenced a time when Tlach and herself denied a CAFO permit in the past but were overruled by the state, and there were more reasons to deny it.