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Southwest ND cities, businesses fail to meet water standards

Cities and businesses in five southwestern North Dakota counties accumulated more than 20 violations for not meeting drinking water standards. The water is safe but they failed to report results in time.

Billings, Dunn, Hettinger, McKenzie and Slope counties were cited at least once for 2010 Safe Drinking Water Act and North Dakota Annual Drinking Water Compliance Report violations.

The report was released earlier this month.

"Once a violation occurs the entities are notified and tracked to make sure they return to compliance," North Dakota Department of Health Environmental Scientist LeeAnn Tillotson said from her Bismarck office. "Most if not all of these entities have returned to compliance."

Regent was cited once because it didn't tell the Department of Health whether it provided results to a consumer, according to the report.

The requirement applies to each sample result regardless of whether lead was found in the water, according to the report.

"Normally we get it sent in," Regent City Auditor Karen Kouba said. "We missed the deadline once by one day. Our public works director had quit and I thought he sent it in but he did not so I tried to get it in but it was too late, we sure tried though."

Badlands Power Fuels in McKenzie County was cited four times for notification violations, according to the report.

Medora Campground I and II and PJ Crossroads Café in Dunn County were also cited for notification violations, Tillotson said.

PJ Crossroads Café had two violations under this category, Tillotson said, adding it is no longer in business.

The other 14 violations fall under monitoring rule.

Under this rule, the Environmental Protection Agency specifies which water testing methods the water systems must use, and sets schedules for the frequency of testing, according to the report.

In these cases the violations may mean they didn't take the sample, the sample didn't arrive in a timely manner or they didn't report results on time, Tillotson said.

The violations under this rule, according to the report include:

Dunn Center, Dodge, Hebron, Marmarth and New Hradec Waterworks, Burning Hills Amphitheater, Medora Campground I and II, PJ Crossroads Café (inactive), Badlands Power Fuels, TC and Badlands Power Fuels in McKenzie County were all cited for failure to monitor major and follow up violations.

Marmarth Mayor Patty Perry said Marmarth has never had a problem with the drinking water itself just the timing of getting the sample sent in.

"Sometimes it takes too long for the sample to reach Bismarck," Perry said. "One time the sample got sent in but somehow got lost."

Perry added when things are on track and the sample is taken and sent in and reaches its destination on time there isn't a problem.

Dunn Center City Auditor Lynnette Nodland said both of Dunn Center's violations were because the city being in between hirings.

"Once was because we were in between public works directors and a sample didn't get submitted, Nodland said. "And the second was because I had missed a quarterly report I didn't know I had to do."

Hebron City Supervisor Jim Raaf attributes Hebron's violations to the same situation.

"I was new and forgot to submit it one month and then it showed up again in the quarterly report so we got cited twice," Raaf said. "I immediately called the Department of Health about it."

Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Chief Operation Officer John Motley said the person in charge of the water was two days late getting the normal samples turned in for the campground and amphitheater, due to the July 4 holiday in 2010.

Dodge, New Hradec Waterworks and PJ Crossroads Café could not be reached. Calls to Terry Moe Health, Safety and Environment Director for Badlands Power Fuels were not returned.