MIDWAY — A retired Kentucky State University professor and researcher wants to lease the city of Midway's former sewage-treatment plant for a fish-farming operation.
Steve Mims, owner and president of Advancing Sustainable Aquaculture Performance LLC wants to use three tanks to raise 40,000 largemouth bass fingerlings from June through October.
The fingerlings would supply "seed" stock to regional fish farmers who would raise the fish to a weight 11/2 pounds or more for regional markets. The old treatment plant on Ky. 421 closed in the late 1990s, city officials said.
Mims proposes to pay Midway $600 a year in 2015, 2016 and 2017, plus a percentage of the gross profits in 2016 and 2017, according to documents submitted to Midway City Council.
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"Profits from this operation would be used to assist in renovating additional tanks at the old plant to improve the property and demonstrate that there is another option than demolition by municipalities," according to Mims' proposal.
The city council did not take a vote Monday. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said a contract could be considered at the next meeting on June 15.
Council member Sara Hicks asked whether visitors and tourists would be able to see the operation.
"I'd be glad to show anybody what we do," Mims said.
Mims retired in June 2014 after 30 years as a professor and researcher at Kentucky State University. As principal investigator for KSU's Division of Aquaculture, his research showed that fish raised in former sewage-treatment plants were safe for human consumption.
His company has a three-year lease agreement to use a decommissioned, 30,000-gallon tank in Frankfort. The Frankfort plant was the first in Kentucky to permit the testing of food fish fed live zooplankton cultured and collected from tanks filled with ozone-treated effluent water.
Decommissioned facilities in Winchester and London also are used to raise fish.