Resource Wars

Thank you for your service in the many years which  lead up to the recent Mandan Hearing on what next to do or not to do relative to the unrecovered diesel remaining oil under the City of Mandan.  We begin noting that the  BNSF Rail Yards of concern are entirely within the City of Mandan.


In your answers, please distinguish between data and facts that apply to the Mandan Rail Yards from data and facts applicable to any other portions of the City of Mandan . Related thereto , tell what data, conclusions or research you have from BNSF or their agents . 


Fidelity and Political Pressure : The Salted Land and Water Council is concerned that former vigilance for the waters the State of  ND Health Department has been diminished.


Bluntly now , our council deems the DEQ’s candor and enforcement of rules and statutes in matters of brine spills a purposeful failure. Typical excuses? The spills have occurred on site.  The seepage of brines  is a long term Phenomena. Look at the paper entitled Leachate by Ed Murphy.  Hundreds if not thousands of Wells have had spills on site and the state has done nothing to detect and nothing to compel cleanup of leachate offsitehundreds if not thousands of wells have head spills on site and the state has done nothing to detect and nothing to compel cleanup of leachate now , And what time increasingly offsite , by under the site movement to offsite soils. Soon as the leachate has gone off site it is inevitably within the waters of the state of North Dakota. We believe you have reached your duty to protect the waters of the state of North Dakota.


We also reference you to how your staff failed tp protect the people of our state from

radio active cuttings in filter sox stashed in abandoned gas stations in Northwest North Dakota. The state citizens do not trust your management The state citizens do not trust your proposal for management of Tenorum


We also recall your shielding of OneOK from embarrassment in the matter of the 11 gallons or 11 million gallons spill of light fuels.


The duty to the public in response to  unresolved brine spills prompts these questions:


1. Soil Coring


In the run-up to your decision to plug functional cleanup and monitoring wells in Mandan, what soil coring been done to determine concentration and composition of residual hydrocarbons in the vadose zone and saturated zones in the affected areas under the entire city,


If not, why not? 


If you don’t measure vadose zone and saturated zones is it not true your decision is based upon policy preferences rather than data? 


2. Conceptual Site Model 


Have you developed  a conceptual site model for the as-is site that can be used to guide a risk analysis and/or inform a science based decision on further treatment?


3. Risk Analysis


Has there been a risk analysis conducted to determine if current risks to human health and other environmental receptors have been reduced?


If so, did the risk analysis inform the site closure decision? 


If a risk analysis has not been done, why not? 


If risks are not estimated from reliable data, again is it not true you are only guessing? 


What specifically do you deem acceptable risks?


4. Intrinsic Biodegradation


If intrinsic biodegradation is assumed for destruction of residual hydrocarbons at the site, please describe what supports your determination that sufficient soil sampling been completed to assure you that biodegradation is occurring?


What data do you rely upon to conclude sufficient oxygen or nutrients are available to support the  continued biological degradation of residual hydrocarbons?


If a risk analysis has not been completed and if protection of public health and exposed receptors is not assured,  then why plug wells test well , expend funds , destroy or remove existing infrastructure ?


5. What Savings


What saving if any attend or justifies the destruction of the system of wells which have thus far protected the public?


Is it not true that for minimal cost the facilities you propose to plug and effectively destroy could be used for future treatment if ever needed?  




The Salt Contaminated Land and Water Council concludes that  risks to human health in Mandan do not go away just because the public has been urged to trust or  your failures t curb preventable refilling  spills.


More importantly you  will soon destroy facilities which provide an at least an opportunity to recover diesel fuel not yet recovered




Fintan L. Dooley ND Bar 03270

Coordinator Salted Land Council