Dickinson Supervisors Meet With Reps. Of DNR, BNSF And Waste Management

Mon 8-27-2018

(Spirit Lake)-- A meeting involving the disposal of items contaminated in a June 22nd derailment of a BNSF train hauling canadian tar sand crude oil near Doon was held this (Monday) morning at the Dickinson County Courthouse. In addition to the supervisors, representatives of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, BNSF Railroad and Waste Managment, which owns and operates the landfill east of Arnolds Park where the contaminated materials are being deposited, were also on hand.

BNSF officials confirmed the vast majority of the vegetation and other items contaminated in the spill are being disposed of at the local landfill. Alan Stegman of BNSF said nearly 4,226 tons that have been deposited so far, adding that testing of the material has been done and that none of it is classified as hazardous, adding it's appropriate for disposal in the Dickinson County Landfill. DNR officials and representatives of Waste Management outlined the various requirements, procedures and operational guidelines for disposal.

There was still one question for which officials could not give an answer to this morning. Supervisor Paul Johnson made the inquiry...Oil Meeting01 

"It's disturbing that a truckload of material would leave on the 11th of July for the Dickinson County Landfill, but no testing results from Test America began until the 14th of July. And the test results of that was issued in their report on the 18th of July. So the trucks were rolling down the road and the assumption was made that it's safe. But when you study the report, that Test America report, we got that 47 days after the spill, that's when we got the report here at the Board of Supervisors."

David Thoreson, a lakes area resident and environmental proponent, was on hand at today's meeting. He while it was good to have the various officials present for the meeting, that there was one entity that was missing...Oil Meeting02 

"I wish Connoco Phillips would have had a representative here, too, because that remains a question is what is the composition of these proprietary chemicals that were in with the tar sands oil. I guess the other question that was answered that I was very surprised by was BNSF has now admitted that we have the entire tar sands oil spill from Doon deposited in our landfill. To me that was kind of a bomb that was dropped here today and I think the 230, I think truck loads, and 4,200 tons of waste that are coming in here that will continue through October are also some pretty big news items."

Supervisor Chairman Bill Leopold had this response to today's meeting, referring specifically to comments from Waste Management officials regarding monitoring procedures at the local landfill...Oil Meeting03 

"They seemed very open, very transparent. I was glad to hear that they do collect the groundwater in one spot and move it on. I was worried that perhaps the groundwater could flow into Lower Gar Lake or anywhere else should we have a leak. I was also gratified to hear that the liner they've got will last for 500 years."

In a related development, the board of supervisors at their meeting tomorrow (Tues.) will consider hiring an environmental consultant on the matter.