SHARPS CHAPEL, Tenn. (WATE) — The potential environmental impacts on Norris Lake of an upcoming pharmaceutical egg farm along Sharps Chapel Road has a Union County-based nonprofit voicing concerns within the community since last year. Those concerns are expected to be aired at a town hall meeting next week.

The nonprofit, Norris Lake Protection Alliance was created in June 2022 with a goal to “Keep Norris Blue,” and bring awareness to community leaders, residents, and policymakers of an upcoming pharmaceutical egg farm at a property purchased by Mexico-based Alpes Sanfer, Inc.

This map shows an overview of the property owned by Alpes Sanfer, Inc. in Union County, Tenn. where a pharmaceutical egg company is expected to be built. (Map: Tennessee Property Viewer, State of Tennessee)

The company purchased the property, an old family farm built in 1900 at 2158 Sharps Chapel Road in October 2020 for $550,000 according to Tennessee property assessment records. The deeded parcel acreage is 110 acres.

The nonprofit says Alpes Sanfer, Inc. began excavating the property the week before Thanksgiving.

Norris Lake Protection Alliance said in an email this week that its No. 1 priority “is to increase awareness and monitor water quality of Norris Lake; presently, Sharps Chapel is our current focus due to the build and operation of a pharmaceutical vaccine egg operation.”

A pharmaceutical vaccine egg operation is part of what creates commercial, egg-based vaccines for illnesses such as influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the most common way that flu vaccines are made is using an egg-based manufacturing process that has been used for more than 70 years. The CDC also says egg-based vaccine manufacturing is used to make both inactivated (killed) vaccine (usually called the “flu shot”) and live attenuated (weakened virus) vaccine (usually called the “nasal spray flu vaccine”).

Norris Lake Protection Alliance will host a “Commissioners Town Hall meeting” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12 in the Sharps Chapel Community Center. The nonprofit says it also plans to continue to spread the word about the pharmaceutical egg operation.

“We will approach local schools to conduct a poster contest and spread the word to parents all over the lake that we want to ‘continue to protect this lake, their real estate and prevent future development of environmentally hazardous places of business,'” NLPA said.

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The nonprofit’s board will hold one of its meetings, “NLPA KeepNorris Blue,” on March 14 at 5:30 p.m. Leaders also plan to partner with marinas on Norris Lake to have a one-day KeepNorrisBlue Marina Lakefest event in May.

Additional details about the Alpes Sanfer, Inc. are in the works.