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Killdeer, Dunn County at odds over wastewater treatment plant

MANNING — Dunn County and its largest city are in dispute over an application for a wastewater treatment facility.

The county approved the conditional use permit last year for a wastewater treatment plant proposed for just west of Killdeer off Highway 200 on land owned by BG Assets LLC.

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But the Killdeer City Commission on Jan. 6 denied the application for several reasons, mainly centered on the proposed site’s proximity to the city.

The two parties will meet Tuesday evening at the county courthouse in Manning to share information and try to resolve the dispute. Both have jurisdiction because the facility would sit partly on a half-mile wide stretch of land around the city of Killdeer that is under “joint jurisdiction.”

Killdeer City Commission President Dan Dolechek said he’d be open to attaching stipulations to the permit to mitigate the commission’s fears, and then reassessing the application.

Dunn County commissioners said at their meeting Wednesday that they hope to share information at the joint meeting because, to them, the application and related materials were enough for them to feel comfortable approving the facility.

“I think the city is kinda mixed up on just exactly what this is,” Commissioner Donna Scott said, “and so we still feel that we made the right decision.”

If the city and county don’t come to an agreement, the governor’s office will get involved in the decision, said Ross Sundeen, state’s attorney for Dunn County.

“Hopefully you guys arrive at the same decision,” he said.

Larry Frei, of Dunn County zoning, said he’s interested to see what the city has to say — maybe the city engineers saw something different, he said.

Dolechek said in an interview that the proposed site is very close to city limits, and he’s concerned about discharging wastewater “after it’s so-called treated” into Spring Creek, which runs through Killdeer.

He said the application left questions, like what’s considered wastewater.

In a Jan. 14 letter informing the county of the city’s diverging decision, Killdeer City Administrator Dawn Marquardt wrote that the application didn’t provide enough information and that the city is “uncomfortable with a second wastewater treatment facility ultimately discharging into Spring Creek.”

City commissioners also raised concerns about downstream impacts due to filling in the floodplain, fire protection and the industrial wastes that could be accepted into the facility, according to meeting minutes.

In an interview, Marquardt said a big concern is growth — the treatment plant would be straight west of the city and could hinder growth if the city goes that way in the future.

As for the Tuesday meeting, Dolechek said he hopes the county sees the city’s point of view, “as far as having something like that right in our backyard.” The meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Dunn County Courthouse in Manning.

“I don’t expect it to be a good fight or anything,” Dolechek said, “but you never know.”