research& testimony

Our research team is made up of a diverse group of experts representing the fields of  oceanography, physics, chemical engineering, public health, environmental health sciences, biology, ecology, environmental engineering and more.

Experts Sound off on Nordic Aquaufarms

Upstream Watch v. Board of Environmental Protection, et al. Docket No AP-2020

"The applicant lacks Right, Title or Interest..."

"There has been no public opportunity to discuss lowering the water quality standards for Belfast Bay"

"Whenever there was a dredging project at Mack Point In Searsport Harbor, the lobster catch In the area slowed for several years."

Demonstration that mercury could be recovered quantitatively from Penobscot Bay sediment was critical to having any confidence in the Nordic Aquafarms data but seems not to have been so recognized and carried out.

Chart from the HoltraChem case that shows the distribution of mercury in the Bay.

A major concern with this application is the lack of assurances that there is a complete understanding of all the pollutants from the NAF discharge.

Our comments to DACF/BLM regarding NAF's attempt to correct their lack of evidence of Title, Right or Interest

Nordic intentionally withheld information that the Eckrotes did not own the intertidal land on which their lot fronts... 

Nordic has failed to meet its TRI burden. Here's why.

Nordic cannot meet its TRI burden (cont.)

Three important factors exist for evaluating the discharge into the local environment: local physical oceanographic conditions, local background water quality and waste-water composition. Based on my understanding of the currently available data, these parameters have not been well enough described to make a confident risk assessment for water quality near the project site.

The applicant should be asked to determine and demonstrate what variation in percent removal of treatment can be expected and under what circumstances? As an example, if phosphorous removal is reduced by just one percent, from 99% to 98%, the amount of phosphorous in the effluent would double. The applicant should be asked how that will be managed to prevent additional pollution. Same for a reduction to 95% or 75%, variability is not uncommon in large scale manufacturing operations.

Since the location of the proposed wastewater discharge is planned at 11.5 m, and also very near to the bottom, this discharge is likely to occur in very slow mean flow and the flushing time could be much greater than suggested by RANSOM. 

It is recommended that no permit be issued until the potential adverse environmental effects from the groundwater extraction and the resulting saltwater intrusion be fully addressed by the applicant.

Fish disease is a serious problem for the aquaculture industry. There are measures that can be taken to mitigate the effect of disease, but the installation of a facility which grows salmon would have difficulty implementing and could potentially become a point source for fish diseases from their outflow pipes.

The applicant’s GHG contribution of between 0.55 and 0.76 MMTCO2e represents 4.6 – 6.4 percent of the 2030 total state GHG target, and between 12.8 and 17.6 percent of the 2050 target. To approve these new large sources of carbon emissions, while making commitments to reduce GHG, violates the intent of PL 237, §576-A. Additionally, recent data has revealed significantly higher carbon impact. 

If Best Managing Practices had been considered, the facility would have acknowledged its odor potential, estimated its potential emissions, truly explored not only the enclosure, but minimum ventilation requirement, conveyance methods, performed an odor control technology assessment, and more.

Nordic proposes to construct a power plant, wastewater & water treatment plant, a food processing plant, millions of gallons of process tanks, hundreds if not thousands of miles of utility piping, ducting, wiring, etc., millions of cubic feet of soil excavation, a major road diversion, a significant pump station and outfall project and more. Each could cause an adverse impact, and suggesting that the site is large with plenty of space for sound to dissipate is simply not a mitigation strategy. 

If Best Managing Practices were being used then the applicant would have provided a site plan of the exact areas they were proposing to have blasting occur, a schedule of the number of expected blast days, and the number of blasts per day. There are no calculations of how many cubic yards would have to be blasted, and it cannot be determined from the inconsistent submittals.

Nordic did not offer an analysis of an aquifer-water-only based design using its existing technology. Nor did they offer to use only local salmon genetics that have tested virus free and develop a less risky broodstock and eggs source, as per the Williamsburg Treaty. 

Direct, biological field surveys for virtually all of the non-wetland vertebrate and invertebrate species in uplands, intertidal, subtidal, and offshore water column were not conducted, resulting in data gaps that make it difficult to fully assess the project’s ecological/biological impacts. Rarely have we seen such a client-centric disposition and approach to a Natural Resource Report. 

This scientific review demonstrates the numerous problems with Nordic's Nitrogen Concentration in the Effluent.

Nordic Aquafarms is a corporation that has violated their permits in Norway.

Nordic has increased the energy usage for their proposed project in Belfast to 28 megawatts (MW). According to CMP’s consultant, with this demand the area’s existing grid resiliency calculations would immediately fail.

This statement does not evaluate the DMR’s comments to the DEP concerning “Fisheries and Industry Impact,” nor does it account for comments from local fishermen who have experienced dredging and other disturbances in the bay for decades. 

Litigation

Upstream Watch continues to fight Nordic on many levels including the TRI (ownership of the intertidal), eminent domain (the City of Belfast taking private land and giving it to Nordic for their pipes) and our recent second round of briefs to the Maine Supreme Court appealing the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) permitting process.