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Dumping bothers Divide County

Divide County Emergency Manager and Land Use Administrator Jody Gunlock is worried about illegal dumping on rural roadways.

“This can happen at any time,” Gunlock said. “These guys are trying to make a quick buck. They open their valves, dump, then go back and get paid for another load.”

The reason Gunlock loses sleep over dumping has to do with incidents in the area last summer where the dumper got away with it.

The damage wrought by dumping costs counties time and money. It costs the farmers chunks of their crops and it can foul their drinking water, or destroy natural areas and wildlife.

Last August, Gunlock said, an oil field tanker truck driver opened his truck’s tank valves, then drove up the road, releasing unknown gallons of “flow back” fluid. Flow back can be a mixture of oil, brine and fracking fluid, the result of well maintenance or cleanup treatments.

The incident took place near U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land with wetlands, threatening local aquifers.

A similar incident took place a few weeks earlier, when the driver of a tanker truck loaded with oil field waste did the same thing about four miles south of Crosby.

— The Journal, Crosby

New Town getting strip mall

In about 60 days, New Town might be seeing an uptick in retail sales. That’s when developer Frank Silletti thinks his new strip mall on Main Street will be open for business.

It might take a little longer for one of the more highly anticipated stores to move in.

Silletti said he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to open his doors last summer, like the sign in front of the nearly completed building promises. He said the contractors he hired last spring got better offers from the oil industry and abandoned the project for greener pastures in the oil patch.

“I left it (the summer opening sign) out there as kind of motivator,” Silletti said. “It says where we should be and we’re not there yet. Our contractor had an opportunity to go to the oil patch so he completely ditched commercial buildings for that.”

Silletti wound up using his own oil company to do most of the work.

“We’re coming along,” he said. “We’ve got the framing started and we are doing the sheetrocking now. We have to do some of the electrical and mechanical but the rentable part of the space will probably be available in 60 days.”

— New Town News

McKenzie County upgrades landfill

Last year, the crew at the McKenzie County Landfill caught 1,081 filter socks in the waste stream.

That’s an average of 90 a month.

This year, Landfill Director Rick Schreiber believes he got the upper hand with the addition of a new scale house, a video surveillance system and a radiation detection monitor.

“It is a business decision,” Schreiber said. “If they can sneak it by me, they just saved themselves a lot of money. So they try.”

When caught, however, the people trying to dump filter socks are fined $1,000 per filter sock and the landfill documents each incident with paperwork and photographs that are sent to the state.

Filter socks are materials used in fracking and are almost always radioactive. It is their radioactive nature that makes it illegal to dump them at landfills like McKenzie County’s.

Schreiber said companies have gone out of their way to slip them through, undetected. But now with the landfill’s new radiation monitor, he feels it will be virtually impossible.

— McKenzie County Farmer, Watford City

Fixing the ‘disconnect’ in Tioga

Melissa Koch, Tioga’s newly-hired community development coordinator, wants to bridge the gap between people who have grown up in Tioga, and those who have arrived more recently.

Koch, just a few days into her new job last week, said she’s interested in learning more about Tioga’s history and expanding coordination among the town’s many public-minded boards.

“There has to be a huge disconnect between the people who have grown up here and the people who have moved in,” said Koch. It’s a communication gap she hopes to fill.

“A lot of the new people have fresh eyes on this town,” and that includes her own, he said.

The Portland, Ore., native recently relocated to Tioga from Billings, Mont. Newcomers, she said, are either bringing families or starting families in Tioga and they have ideas about the kind of town they’d like to live in.

“It’s important to me to try to use that,” said Koch, while also understanding the Tioga of the past.

— The Tioga Tribune

(Compiled by Steve Andrist, former publisher of newspapers in Crosby and Tioga.}

Copyright 2014 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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