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06-21-06 Cooper Foods to spend $1.5 million on biosecurity

By Tim Cox

  Cooper Foods plans to build a $1.5 million biosecurity facility near Fort Recovery that would be used to wash the company's fleet of trucks in between stops at local poultry farms.

  The biosecurity facility essentially would be a structure with washing bays for the trucks and also would have shower facilities for drivers. The facility is necessary to reduce the threat of spreading bird-borne illnesses between farms.

  The Mercer County Community Development office and the village of Fort Recovery are working with the company to help provide the necessary sewer infrastructure. A pump station and two miles of force main would be needed to pipe waste from the proposed facility along state Route 49 to the village's wastewater plant. The new facility would be built on the same site where Cooper operates a feed mill in Fort Recovery.

  County, village and Ohio Department of Development officials plan to meet with Cooper officials later this week to discuss possible assistance.

  "This is quite a meeting we have put together," Stelzer said. "Everybody with any money available will be there."  Fort Recovery officials plan to expand their sewer plant to accommodate the new development. EPA officials have said they would prefer Cooper send its wastewater to a public plant rather than treat it onsite, Diller said.

  "We have the capacity, but it does put us closer to that end limit," Diller said.

  Village officials plan to add a third lagoon to its wastewater treatment to increase capacity and speed the treatment process, Diller said. Cost of the necessary sewer upgrade remains unknown.

  The United States Department of Agriculture recommends good biosecurity measures to avoid spreading bird illnesses such as exotic Newcastle disease and avian influenza. Such illnesses can easily be spread among birds through human intervention.

  Materials such as shoes and clothing also can transport bird viruses from place to place, infecting healthy flocks.


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