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Residents express pollution concerns over new aquaponics farm in Woodville

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 18:22:28-05

WOODVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — Environmental concerns in Woodville over a new fish and vegetable farm being built off Old Woodville Road.

Hines AquaFresh Farm is an aquaponics farm that organically farms fish and vegetables. Tuesday night, a group concerned about the farms impact on their drinking water plans to meet.

Multiple people say their main concern is pollution. During Tuesday's meeting, they're hoping to get answers on the farms environmentally impact.

"I still am hesitant to say that it's a good thing," said Jack Mapstone.

Mapstone lives in Woodville and is part of a community that is skeptical when it comes to a new 100,000 sq. ft. aquaponics farm being built in the heart of the community.

"Anything from the surface that happens to sink in or get rained on, it goes right into the water system," said Mapstone. "That is really the main concern that I have. I don't know how you would stop that pollution from getting into the water system."

The new farm, named Hines AquaFresh Farm, involves a type of farming known as aquaponics. It's a technique that grows vegetables above fish tanks.

Mapstone's says this technique could be a dangerous one for a place where it spends a lot of his time.

"Wakulla Springs is a real gem and it needs to be protected," said Mapstone.

Alvin Hines is the owner of Hines AquaFresh Farm and says he understands this community's concerns. He says he is ready to put an end to those talks of pollution.

"It's totally fake news," said Hines. "They have been given fake news."

Hines says his farm will have zero negative impact when it comes to pollution in the community. He the farm cycles its water through filters instead of releasing it into the ground.

"There's no run off into ditches or lakes and there's no water being pumped outside of the building," said Hines. "It's a controlled system."

Hines said the farm has passed all safety regulations put in place by the Florida Department of Agriculture. He will be at Tuesday night's meeting ready to answer any questions.

It's happening at the Woodville Branch Library at 7 p.m.