August 31, 2018 - 12:20 pm - Posted in News

Spirit Lake, Iowa — More information is being gathered regarding the disposal of waste from the area of the Doon derailment and oil spill at the Dickinson County Landfill near Arnolds Park.

Iowa State Representative John Wills serves both ends of the area — Doon, where the accident happened; and Arnolds Park, where the waste is going. He says that the Governor’s Office and the Iowa DNR were able to organize a meeting at the request of the Governor this past week with Waste Management, who owns the Dickinson County Landfill and BNSF Railroad to explain what is being brought to the landfill and why. Wills says the clear message at the meeting was that Iowa does not allow hazardous materials or liquid waste to be disposed of in any of its landfills. He says they were told that the waste material being brought to the Dickinson County Landfill is primarily dry material and it has been determined through testing to be non-hazardous.

Wills says, “To put things in perspective, the actual oil spill at the Doon site was around 140,000 gallons of tar sands oil. Of that, around 71% has been recovered in and around the ‘triangle area’ where the spill occurred. In addition, a certain amount of the spill volatilized and simply evaporated. That means as much whatever was left has not been recovered and is in the soil, on debris, and on vegetation that is being brought to the Dickinson County Landfill or simply washed down the river and is someplace else.”

He says that a DNR official explained a lot of the material is like dried paint where the liquids have evaporated and all you have left is a chalky covering, as well as some soil. Everything that is being done is legal and above board. In fact, he says one official stated that this type of waste material is a common occurrence in the United States.

Wills tells us that the Iowa DNR is closely monitoring the waste material at the Doon site and the Dickinson County Landfill. The U.S. EPA is monitoring as well. BNSF is testing the material that is being stockpiled at the Doon site by using a neutral third party.

At last report, the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors was considering hiring an environmental consultant.

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