Petrocomp permit approved

State health officials approved a permit for an oil waste facility in Bowman County, but voters will decide the site's fate on Tuesday after a special meeting Monday.

State health officials approved a permit for an oil waste facility in Bowman County, but voters will decide the site's fate on Tuesday after a special meeting Monday.

Located about 14 miles south of Marmarth, the facility would serve as a compost disposal cell for a solid byproduct of centrifuging oil production and exploration waste.

The site would include two disposal cells, each with a maximum capacity of 10,000 tons per year.

Dale Leivestad, owner of Petrocomp of Baker, Mont., owned a similar site in Montana but was shut down due to spillage, leakage and testing failure.

After working with the North Dakota Department of Health for three years in drafting a permit, waste management division Director Scott Radig said he intended to sign it by Thursday.


"I think obviously that was a concern expressed by several people, that previous operations weren't what they should have been," said Dave Glatt, the health department's environmental health section chief. "With the level of oversight and length of permit, I think that should address some of their concerns. I took a look at the public comments, I looked at the response to the comments and I looked at the permit and I feel that it's adequate.

"It addresses the state law and rule as associated with the operation of landfills."

During a March 4 public comment meeting in Bowman, concerns were raised with the site due to possible water contamination and erosion.

After public comments were taken, an additional condition was placed on the permit, requiring a minimum of 75 feet from high-erosion areas.

Concerns were also raised with sampling and oversight inspections.

An additional condition now requires Petrocomp to pay for monthly inspections by the Southwest District Health Unit as long as the three-year permit is active.

"We'll re-evaluate the need to do that, but if it looks like we need to continue on with that level of inspections and oversight, we will continue to have them pay the cost of those inspections," Glatt said.

The health department will be conducting quarterly inspections and independent samples and tests will be required of Petrocomp each month.


"The facility should be screening each load that comes so they know what they're receiving," said Scott Radig, director of the state's waste management division. "We will be collecting samples at least every quarter and possibly more often."

However, the permit cannot be implemented unless it is approved in Tuesday's Bowman County election, Radig said.

"It's a two-step process, one can't go forward without the other," Glatt said.

Bowman County Commissioners have scheduled a special meeting to be held Monday at 9 a.m. in the commissioner's room in the lower level of the Bowman County Courthouse, according to an e-mail from Bowman County Auditor Sandi Tivis.

The state health department's final decision on the permit application will be discussed, but exactly what will be covered is unclear.

"Our state's attorney has asked to meet with the commissioners and that's when it was decided to do," Tivis said.

Bowman County State's Attorney Nici Meyer Clarkson was unavailable for comment.

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