Residents upset over potential landfill site

MANNING, N.D. -- The view from the west-facing window in the Dukarts' dining room faces lovely winter-brown hills that, as it turns out, are geologically a perfect location for a specialized waste landfill.

MANNING, N.D. -- The view from the west-facing window in the Dukarts' dining room faces lovely winter-brown hills that, as it turns out, are geologically a perfect location for a specialized waste landfill.

Nick and Jessica Dukart built their home on family land 6 miles southeast of Manning and find it hard to believe their dream lifestyle may one day be a little more than a mile from a lined pit for oil and gas production waste.

Tuesday night, they and others who live nearby will ask the Dunn County Planning and Zoning Board to let neighbors decide whether a landfill is the right fit for the land.

Zoning administrator Sandy Rohde said the county has not yet received an application from Secure Energy Services, but the company’s special waste landfill pre-application has been vetted by the State Health Department’s Waste Management Division.

Dunn County’s zoning rules at one time gave residents living within a half-mile of the location the discretion they will seek to have reinstated at the meeting. The rules were changed last year and now that authority rests with the planning board, which will make a recommendation to the county commission for final action.


The Dukarts think their voices should count.

“We should have a say. We’ll be the ones who will be around it,” said Nick Dukart, who is worried about the value of the home and whether the banker would call the note, if the appraised value sinks because of a landfill down the road.

More than that, the Dukarts worry about their health and safety. They worry about the possibility that, if proposed new state rules come into play, the landfill will become a disposal site for radioactive waste.

The state Health Department is reviewing hundreds of pages of public comment on its plan to allow up to 50 picocuries of radioactive waste generated in oil production in certain special waste landfills.

That review and approval process will take until October or longer.

Currently, all such waste is banned from North Dakota and hauled out of state.

“I’m pretty sure that once it (landfill) gets in there, they’ll do what they want,” Nick Dukart said.

“The view we have is not the biggest thing," Jessica Dukart said. "It involves the kids. We don’t know if there’ll be an onsite person testing every load that goes in there.”


Secure Energy Services operates a special waste landfill north of Williston, plus several oil waste treatment sites. The one it’s proposing near the Dukarts' property would be the first special waste landfill for Dunn County, which has about 1,500 producing oil wells and 15 rigs drilling.

Secure Energy general manager Kurt Rhea said his company’s been searching for a Dunn County/southern Bakken location for three years and it isn’t a simple matter to find a site that has the right clay soils and geology and doesn’t impact underground water sources.

“What we’re exploring is a facility for oil field waste generated in Dunn County. We would expect about 15 to 25 trucks per day,” said Rhea, adding it would benefit everyone if waste could be disposed locally instead of trucked to other special waste landfills around the oil patch.

Rhea said his company has no plans to request -- if state rules change -- an amended permit to bury radioactive waste in the Dunn County landfill.

“We are still thinking that there are big obstacles with the department’s proposed rules. We don’t think they provide enough clarity on how the (radioactive) measurements will be done. If they can’t tell me exactly what’s acceptable, we’re not going to go ahead,” Rhea said.

Dunn County Commissioner Daryl Dukart (no relation) toured the Secure Energy landfill at Williston and said he saw an impressively well-managed facility.

“The worst thing is if these things happen under the radar with no opposition. We need a lot of questions answered,” said Daryl Dukart, adding that he welcomes the concerns that Nick and Jessica Dukart and others have.

Nick and Jessica Dukart say there are nine farmsteads within 2 miles of the proposed location.


“When I first heard about it, I thought, `Why here?’ There are so many people so close,” Nick Dukart said.

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