UPDATE: Dickinson County Not Happy About Receiving Oil-Contaminated Soil, Vegetation From Doon

Arnolds Park, Iowa — Dickinson County leaders and representatives of the BNSF railway met last week to discuss the waste from the June 22nd derailment near Doon, that dumped more than 100-thousand gallons of crude oil. The waste from the cleanup of that derailment has been tranported from Lyon County to a Dickinson County landfill. Dickinson County officials weren’t happy when they found out that the contaminated soil and vegetation was being brought to their landfill. 

Now, Dickinson County Supervisors Chair Bill Leupold says he’s feeling better about the situation since last week’s meeting with railroad officials.

Landfill operator Waste Management says it does not accept waste containing any liquid at the landfill. A Waste Management spokesperson says they’ve been receiving more than six truckloads of derailment site waste a day.

Dickinson County officials want a public meeting with environmental officials and the parties involved in the cleanup.

BNSF expects to finish cleanup this fall.



Original post 1:56pm, 7/27/2018

Arnolds Park, Iowa — Cleanup of the crude oil spill caused by the derailment of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train on June 22nd near Doon continues. But people on the other end of the KIWA listening area are not exactly thrilled that some of the contaminated soil and vegetation has been headed for a landfill near them.

After hearing that the soil and vegetation were going to a landfill in their county, east of Arnolds Park, the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors drafted a letter to Governor Kim Reynolds, asking her to halt the action. A copy of the letter written this past week, obtained by KIWA says, “There is a public outcry and genuine fear of the long-term effects on water quality of this material coming to the landfill. We implore you to take action to halt the movement of this contaminated soil to the [Dickinson County] landfill.” The letter asks for Governor Reynolds’ help to facilitate a meeting of experts regarding the potential ramifications of any contamination or seepage into the waterways of the Iowa Great Lakes. Copies of the letter were also to go to Senator Chuck Grassley, Congressman Steve King, Senator Joni Ernst, State Representative John Wills and State Senator David Johnson.

We talked to Ken Hessenius, the Environmental Program Supervisor at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Spencer Field Office. He says that normally waste from that area would have come to the Northwest Iowa Solid Waste Landfill between Hospers and Sheldon. But he says that’s not what happened, for the most part.

He tells us why.

Hessenius tells us that it’s been said that another factor is that the BNSF Railroad has a contract with national company Waste Management, who owns the landfill near Arnolds Park.

The concern among Dickinson County citizens appears to be connected with the fact that the Arnolds Park landfill is a mile and a half or less from some of the Iowa Great Lakes, such as East Okoboji, Minnewashta, and Upper and Lower Gar Lakes, and only two miles from West Lake Okoboji. But Hessenius tells us that the risk of contaminating the lakes is low.

He says no liquid oil will be disposed of at the Arnolds Park site.

Hessenius tells us that the DNR has been talking to the Governor’s office to see what action should be taken. He says it’s possible some of the material could go somewhere else. But he said again that the Northwest Iowa Solid Waste Landfill near Sheldon is probably not a viable alternative because of the size of the landfill and because they are not equipped to handle the volume.

The estimate of how much oil was spilled was revised downward a few days after the incident. The BNSF railroad says it appears ten cars leaked oil for a total of 160-thousand gallons. The original estimate was 14 cars and 230-thousand gallons.

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