News

Concern Over Contaminated Soil Being Disposed At Dickinson Co. Landfill Now Headed To The Political Arena

Tue 7-24-2018

(Spirit Lake)-- The issue over soil contaminated by oil that was spilled in that BNSF train derailment near Doon last month being disposed of at the Dickinson County Landfill east of Arnolds Park is headed for the political arena.

The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors this (Tues.) morning voted unanimously to send a letter to Governor Kim Reynolds, the head of the Iowa Department of Resources and federal and state elected officials voicing concern over the matter and requesting it be stopped atleast temporarily until more information can be obtained.

Lakes area resident David Thoreson, a renown world traveler and proponent of the environment recommended the county attempt to get the materials tested...Landfill discussion01 

"We have a 230,000 gallon oil spill over there with chemical compounds within the oil that we don't even understand what they are. So I would advise the Dickinson county supervisors to get it on record if possible, what is in this contaminated soil besides the oil itself so that this can be on record. Because if the county is going to take over the landfill for instance in the future, this could end up becoming an EPA Super Fund Site. This could be a billion dollar problem in the future that we could be dealing with here in Dickinson county and the compounds at the bottom of the landfill that may settle out could be some of the most carcinogenic compounds on the face of the earth."

There was some discussion about the county possibly buying the landfill, but several supervisors said they are deeply concerned over possible liability from what already may be there. Seeking a legal injunction through the courts was also briefly discussed, but Assistant County Attorney Lonnie Saunders told the supervisors doing that would require the county putting up a bond that could be in the millions of dollars.

Terry Wilts of the East Lake Okoboji Improvement Corporation questioned why a landfill was even allowed to be located where it's at right from the beginning...Landfill discussion02 

"I think about when I look at Google Maps and I look at the watershed here, I can't imagine a worse spot for this in the state of Iowa. Not one spot, that where you could make a bigger mistake than what's going on right now."

The letter to the Governor, state and federal elected officials as well as the DNR will be drafted and sent as soon as possible.

Alex Moon, Land Quality Bureau Chief for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told KUOO news last week Waste Management, which owns and operates the landfill, has the proper permits and procedures in place to accept the material.

(Photo courtesy news partner KTIV in Sioux City)