State Closes Waste Pit near Ross - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

State Closes Waste Pit near Ross

State Closes Waste Pit near Ross

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An oil drilling waste pit will be shut down and cleaned out under a decision announced this week by the State Industrial Commission.

The pit was designed to dispose of what are called "dry cuttings," the material brought up from wells when they are being drilled.

The problem is, the pit was located within a half-mile of the city water well that serves Ross.

Officially, the pit was on what's known as the "wellhead protection area," where ground water is likely to seep into the well.

Mountrail County State's Attorney Wade Enget says it was good to hear at yesterday's county commission meeting that the pit would be removed.

(Wade Enget, Mountrail County State's Attorney) "I think everybody in the room was happy to hear the decision that it was not going to be used any further, that it was going to be reclaimed and the waste material was going to be removed basically off-site."

Enget says he is still concerned about the situation regarding the reporting of the locations of these waste pits.

He says the county recorder has records of only a few in Mountrail County, when it's clear there are many more.

Their location is supposed to be reported to the county by the oil companies.

And Enget worries about the environment being left to generations to come.

(Wade Enget, Mountrail County State's Attorney) "As you and I are living here today that's one thing but I worry about our children and grandchildren, where will they be at 30, 60, 80 years from now as far as what's down there and if something isn't done at this point in time then what are we leaving the next generation with?"

As for how the pit came to be located so close to a municipal water well, Lynn Helms of the Industrial Commission said it was an oversight that he intends to make sure is not repeated.

He told county officials his office would make sure that field inspectors who investigate potential sites have all of the map information needed to identify dangers such as wellhead protection areas.

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