Report Of Test Results On Oil Contaminated Material Draws Even More Questions At Dickinson Co. Supervisors Meeting

Wed 8-15-2018

(Spirit Lake)-- Some test results of material contaminated by oil spilled in a June derailment of a BNSF train near Dune have been obtained by the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors. The contaminated materials are being disposed of at the Dickinson County Landfill.

The findings are raising even more questions among county officials. Supervisor Paul Johnson commented on the report at Tuesday's board meeting. It concludes that based on test results, the items are suitable for disposal at the landfill east of Arnolds Park. But Johnson told fellow board members he's skeptical. Johnson questioned some gaps in a timeline of the events that have taken place since the June 22nd incident. He says it indicates the materials weren't tested until after they had already been disposed of at the landfill...Paul Johnson01 

"They completed their test report on July 18th. Keep in mind July 3rd it's okay to ship, July 11th the trucks rolled, the test report is released on July 18th. It was sent to the petroleum company. I presume a copy, I don't know, was sent to DNR. I don't know who else got it. We didn't get one here at BOS."

Johnson also questioned the process that was used in testing the material...Paul Johnson02 

"The test samples when they arrived at Test America were reported as being in four, four ounce jars. The samples were dry, they had no oil liquid on the surface of the samples. That tells me that the samples were taken off the surface not down below in the soil or anything. They were up on top and they apparently had been dried. Was that an instruction, don't take anything that has liquid oil on it, only take samples that are dry and have no smell? And the size of the samples. Four ounces for a  230,000 gallon spill from four different locations presumably. It just doesn't add up to me but that was the procedure that was followed."

Johnson said he's also questioning why the report has no summary of findings included in it.

The supervisors plan to ask those and other questions surrounding the matter at a meeting they've requested with representatives of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and others involved. The county has requested the Governor's Office coordinate such a meeting to be held in the Iowa Great Lakes. A date hasn't been set yet.

The supervisors again expressed frustration that there's nothing they can do locally about the matter.