Killdeer, County agree to axe wastewater plant request

Last Tuesday (Feb. 11), the Dunn County Commission and the City of Killdeer commissioners met in a joint meeting to discuss a proposed wastewater treatment facility on county land just west of Killdeer.

A large crowd was on hand Tuesday in Manning, as the Killdeer City Commission and Dunn County Commission met jointly to discuss a proposed wastewater treatment facility just west of Killdeer. The verdict: Some place else, maybe, but not there.
A large crowd was on hand Tuesday in Manning, as the Killdeer City Commission and Dunn County Commission met jointly to discuss a proposed wastewater treatment facility just west of Killdeer. The verdict: Some place else, maybe, but not there.

Photo by Pat Ratliff/Dunn County Herald

Posted 2/14/14

By Pat Ratliff

Last Tuesday (Feb. 11), the Dunn County Commission and the City of Killdeer commissioners met in a joint meeting to discuss a proposed wastewater treatment facility on county land just west of Killdeer.

The treatment plant proposal had previously been passed by the county but also needed to be passed by the city commission.

But the city had a number of concerns about the project, mostly the location, which is near the Wellhead Protection Area of the city.

Deon Stockert, Operations Manager at AE2S, opened the discussion for the City of Killdeer.

The reason for this meeting: “The county approved the plan,” Stockert said, “the City of Killdeer didn’t.”

Stockert had a list of 24 concerns about the project the city had compiled, but said he wasn’t going to cover all of them at the meeting.

“We don’t have all the facts yet,” he said. “The are just the preliminary questions we have.”

The biggest concerns of the city, according to Stockert, were:

1. Proximity to the city. “As the city grows, expansion to the west of town will see the population move closer to the facility,” he said.

2. In discussions with the Health Department, they wondered if there would be a need to set up a wastewater district if the project was approved, as there would be two wastewater facilities close together.

3. In the past, as developers move into or close to the city, they submit very detailed plans to the city, which it didn’t receive for this project.

4. “Ambiguities” on just exactly what type of wastewater facility this would be. Stockert said the Health Department in Bismarck issued a permit for a FAST system (a type of wastewater treatment plant), but the developer submitted plans for an MBR facility (a different type of treatment plant) to the City.

 

Stockert also said there were concerns about the facility being “all automated” with no operator being present (Who will monitor the site?) What types of waste will be allowed to be tucked in (sewage?)

Stockert also noted that Spring Creek, which would receive discharges from the plant, is classified as a 1A stream by the state, which is the highest quality classification they have.

“Can the location be moved?” he asked. “How close to the population does it have to be?

Killdeer Commission President Dan Dolechek chimed in and laid out concerns also.

“The main concern of the city is the location,” he said. “Also, what will be trucked in? Will there be a smell? And what protections are there for the wellhead of the city?”

Dolechek wondered about future development to the west of the city.

“It’s low density development right now,” he said. “Not many people might want to move into an area close to that.”

“It’s a location issue,” Killdeer Commissioner Chuck Muscha said. “I’m OK with it in Dunn County, but just not there.”

Dunn County Commissioner Donna Scott the explained the process involved leading to the County originally passing the request for a treatment plant.

“This application was presented to us twice and denied,” she said. “The third time around, the issue of odor came up. When the wind blows, will it go towards Killdeer?

“But we learned the water is odorless when treated. They can even sell this water after treatment.”

Scott said the location was originally set up as one of three industrial areas close by.

“It’s morphed into industrial,” she said, “making fresh water in an industrial area.”

“We were told there wouldn’t be an odor,” Dolechek said. “I can see that on the back end, but what about what’s being trucked in?”

“With all the impact of oil, we looked at the need for water,” Scott said. “This water could be used for frakking, not all water can be used for that.”

“They haven’t said what chemicals would be used for treating the water,” Killdeer Commissioner Anita Mjolhus said. “That’s a main concern of mine.”

The applicant has also applied for a permit to put multi-family housing on this site also,” Scott said. “I’m opposed to that.”

The health department requires 180 days of storage capacity for the water, meaning there would probably be just two discharges a year, in early spring and late fall.

Another issue is that the site for the proposed treatment plant is in a flood plain. With two discharges a year there, they aren’t much concern, but Killdeer officials had questions about other discharges.

“The water table is only a few feet down there,” Dolechek said. “What if a contamination occurred?

“This is a big concern for us. A lot of people would be affected if something happened there.”

“If you had to pick one thing out of the 24 concerns you have listed, is location the one thing?” Dunn County Commissioner Glenn Eckelberg asked Dolechek.

“Yes, that would be it,” Dolechek said. “We’d be open for a different location.”

“I feel we have a great working relationship with the City,” Scott said. “I want to come to a good conclusion with the city.”

“Do you see our concerns?” Mjolhus asked.

“Yes, I do,” Scott said. “I want to be sympathetic to your concerns.”

Scott then made a motion to deny the application for the new wastewater treatment plant.

The Dunn County Commission then voted unanimously to deny.

Discussions during the meeting also revealed the two commissions are not always aware of what the other is doing, or why they are doing things. They agreed to have their respective zoning boards attend meeting of the other commissions zoning boards to keep up with what is happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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