Dunn County wants dust control study to continueDunn County is interested in continuing a study to look for better, more cost-effective ways to tame dust on unpaved roads.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
Dunn County is interested in continuing a study to look for better, more cost-effective ways to tame dust on unpaved roads.
Francis Schwindt, a former state chief of environmental health and principal investigator for the study, will bring a proposal and costs for a new study back in February, per the commission’s request.
Dunn and McKenzie counties applied in April 2011 for $220,000 each through the North Dakota Industrial Commission Oil and Gas Research Program to conduct a study on dust control methods on unpaved roads with heavy traffic from September 2011 to this month.
In addition to magnesium chloride, the grant request states that other test substances selected by county personnel included flake calcium chloride enzymatic soil stabilizers and geotextiles.
The substances in the test were evaluated for effectiveness, application, costs and longevity in controlling dust levels, according to the request. The findings could also be used in other areas of the state or locations near the oil fields.
“Seems like the magnesium chloride is the chemical of choice (from the results of the study), and that seems to be the chemical you guys are already using,” Schwindt said. “The quality of the aggregate is something to really think about. I know you guys are looking at tremendous demands on the aggregate that you are using. Just in McKenzie County, I know they are looking at tens of millions of tons of aggregate they’re going to need over the next several years for highway construction and just the routine maintenance of county roads.”
Schwindt said he met with representatives from the North Dakota Department of Transportation, who expressed an interest in providing assistance for road maintenance and dust control, like locating an ample gravel supply.
“We talked about maybe trying a regional approach to securing aggregate as a way to alleviate some of the shortages you guys see,” he said.
Schwindt said he wasn’t sure if McKenzie County would proceed with the study, but Dunn County commissioners had additional questions they hoped further analysis could answer.
Commissioner Bob Kleeman was interested in how crude oil applications worked in dust control, and Schwindt said not as well as he’d hoped.
“It was really disappointing,” Schwindt said about the crude oil application. “We don’t know whether it was the type of crude oil we had, which was a very waxy crude, but it seemed like when we put it down fairly heavy, I was disappointed in the way it looked. There may be other types of crude oil we could use, if you want to try it.”
But Commissioner Daryl Dukart wondered if continued application of magnesium chloride on the roads would prevent the county from applying asphalt to the roads because it “could create a moisture barrier.”
“I would be interested to see if the DOT and the Oil and Gas Division would be interested in doing a little study on what levels of magnesium chloride we have in these periods at this point in time, and what are the impacts on future construction projects if we keep putting on this magnesium chloride over a period of time?” he said.
“I guess my personal opinion would be that we’re going to start looking at paving two or three more roads down the road in the next four or five years, and we’re going to need an aggregate source to do it. Whoever would bid those projects would have to have an aggregate source available. It’s an effort, spearheaded by the state that should benefit multiple organizations.”