Nordic Aquafarms release discharge estimates for indoor mega salmon farm at heated meeting

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CEO Erik Heim faced strong views from the public while outlining information the company’s Maine Pollution Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) permit. 

Representatives of Nordic Aquafarm’s on Oct. 4 gave a summary of the wastewater discharge figures the company plans to submit to the state Department of Environmental Protection in a few weeks as reported in the Republican Journal.

CEO Erik Heim is now residing in Maine PHOTO Stian Olsen

Erik Haim presented a summary of the work done to bring the project to the permitting stage, information on the permits required, written data detailing the planned residual discharge numbers, as well as the technologies used to achieve them.

0.75 percent of all discharge sources
The facility, which would the second largest of its kind in the world, raised questionable comments last Thursday, in front of a crowd of 150 people in the Troy Howard Middle School cafeteria in Belfast, Maine.

Heim described the discharge not only as clean enough to drink, but a “drop in the bucket” of the larger bay system and said that the facility would account for 0.75 percent of all discharge sources around Penobscot Bay, he said.

Jim Merkel, who recently launched a bid for City Council to derail the project, asked: “What happens if it’s smelly at the beach?”

Heim said he’d never smelled anything near any of the company’s facilities in Norway and Denmark and didn’t anticipate the problems that Merkel described.

You are guests in our country
The publication reported some slight xenophobic comments, with Ethan Hughes of Belfast telling Heim, “You are guests in our country and not the other way around,” later adding a sarcastic “so, welcome.” Ellie Daniels, another opponent to the site, criticised the use of metric measurements, saying an American permit should include “American measures, so we can understand them more.”

Several speakers asked for the ability to have independent testing of the discharge, which Heim said he was open to.

Nordic Aquafarms plan to submit the discharge permit application on Oct. 19.