HARWICH — Aquacultural Research Corporation will go before the conservation commission next week seeking approval to place a shellfish upwelling system in the recently shored-up fish house on the Herring River.
ARC has been working with the owners of the fish house, Francis and Debra Zarette, for more than a year to place a shellfish nursery in the structure. The Zarettes last year filed a notice of intent with the commission to rebuild the failing building and the commission issued a positive order of conditions to do so.
Abutters Gwynne and David Dak appealed the decision to the state Department of Environmental Protection. DEP upheld the local commission's order, but the Daks appealed to the adjudicatory hearing level within DEP. A hearing was held in February but no decision has been issued.
However, the Zarettes were given an emergency certificate from the commission to shore up and repair the structure based on a report from a structural engineer that the building was shifting and in imminent danger of falling into the river. The work was done a little more than a month ago. The building now sits on large steel beams and the decks have been restored.
Last week Rob Doane, president and CEO of ARC, filed the request for determination of applicability with the commission to use the fish house for a shellfish nursery. Doane said the request is not relevant to the pending matter before DEP, which seeks approval to demolish and reconstruct a new building.
The structure is safe for occupancy, Doane said. Francis Zarette agreed, stating the structure has been reinforced in compliance with its Chapter 91 permit, within the allowed footprint.
The proposal, Doane said, is to place three tanks in the building and operate the shellfish nursery from April to January. The intake of water from the river will be performed by two five-horsepower submersible pumps suspended from the northeast corner of the deck. The pumps will provide a flow rate of up to 5,000 gallons per minute and will be submerged below the extreme low water level.
Drainage outfall from the tanks will be located on the southeast corner of the building, The outfall will be made of six-inch PVC pipe and will terminate below the extreme low water level with a tee fitting.
Doane said annual operation will begin in April. The pumps will be removed in January and restored the following in April. ARC plans to grow oysters, clams and surf clams, placing one millimeter seed in the facility and removing them when they reach between 2 and 15 millimeters.
The operation will use only fresh water from an existing spigot to clean the tanks. All waste will be disposed of at the transfer station, the project narrative states.
The conservation commission hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at town hall.