Dickinson addresses volume concerns at landfill; serious environmental concerns

During this week’s Dickinson City Commission meeting, the city discussed landfill modifications and vertical expansion.

The Dickinson City Landfill, (pictured above) located south east of Dickinson on Lehigh Road, has surpassed its life expectancy. Though the landfill is not overflown yet, the city is looking at making some modifications to the site. (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson City Landfill, located south east of Dickinson on Lehigh Road, has surpassed its life expectancy. Though the landfill is not overflown yet, the city is looking at making some modifications to the site.

During the Dickinson City Commission meeting Tuesday, June 1, Public Works Director Gary Zuroff and representatives from Houston Engineering Inc., presented solutions to the current landfill issues in a public hearing.

According to city documents, “The major permit modification includes review, optimization and expansion of facility operations inside and outside of current waste limits. HEI will prepare the major permit modification documentation necessary to complete the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) Permit Application. Documentation for the permit modification includes a comprehensive Engineers Report detailing changes to facility design including but not limited to revised base line configurations to support both vertical and horizontal expansion of the facility, revised and updated leachate and stormwater management plans, and updated hydrogeologic characterization of the proposed expansion area.”

In 2019, Dickinson Public Works hired HEI, as the city’s consultant to develop options that would allow for Dickinson to continue using the current site for years to come.

“Our current landfill site was deeded over to the city in 1990, and it was originally the Husky Industries then the Royal Oak Charcoal Briquette Co. the site that we’re at now, that’s when they terminated production and deeded the land to us. Before we started landfilling, they did install a 15-foot compacted clay liner at that time that met the requirements for us to start landfilling,” Zuroff said. “... With the current volumes coming in, the life expectancy of the landfill was looked at to be about 20 years, which isn’t a long life for a landfill. So we started looking at alternatives and what we were going to do. One of the first things we looked at was the different sites that are (of) possibility of citing the landfill at different locations. It was kind of a high-level study, but because of the hydrology (and) geology of a landfill site and the importance of that and nobody wanting it in their backyard, there were limited sites that we identified,” Zuroff said, noting that three sites were of possibility.”


In order to move the landfill to another location, estimated costs were more than $10 million at each site. The city has also looked at the expansion to the north of the current landfill site. However, Zuroff noted that particular solution has presented several challenges such as having an unwilling landowner and multiple appraisals on the property.

Zuroff also noted to the commission that they have looked at files of the old Lehigh Briquetting Plant, which was located on the north property, and conducted some soil borings at the site. The discoveries of those borings revealed serious environmental concerns including phenol ponds and contamination. Zuroff said that they found coal tars were disposed of on the property and there are also multiple landfills previously on the site.

Following a presentation from the consultants, the commission unanimously approved the task order.

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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