Contaminated Soil Is Being Dumped At Sawyer Landfill

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Truckloads of contaminated soil are moving from South Dakota to a landfill in our region.

The Keystone Pipeline had a leak in South Dakota. The 5,000 barrel crude oil leak contaminated a large area of soil. Crews are working to remove that earth and are hauling here to the landfill south of Sawyer.

“The landfill we have here is one of the best landfills,” said Sharon Melland, Sawyer Resident.

The 15-hundred acre Sawyer landfill is licensed to handle the kind of waste generated by the Keystone pipeline leak. It’s been approved for industrial waste and has the capacity to hold tons of materials.

“They have approximately 40,000 tons material that’s gotten to the site already and that’s about half of the total amount,” said Chuck Hyatt, Department of Health Waste Management Director.

The Keystone Pipeline leak was discovered in mid-November. Since December, the contaminated material has been coming here.

“There’s a number of trucks that are going to Sawyer landfill currently,” said Hyatt.

“We’ll take those learnings as we do with any type of incident that happens like this and apply to what we do, when we build facilities, when we build pipelines in the future,” said Matthew John, TransCanada Communication Representatives.

“They’ve received up to this point 19,900 tons in December and 22,000 tons in January,” said Hyatt.

The Department of Health is taking precautions to make sure that there won’t be any problems with the soil coming to the spill site.

“Each amount of waste that comes in is randomly tested,” said Hyatt.

Along with that, they have a full time inspector there to make sure things run smoothly.

“So far, it’s met the standard to the dispose of the landfill,” said Hyatt.

“I know we have one of the best landfills and once they put it in here it’ll be covered and it won’t leak out anywhere,” said Melland.

A TransCanada communications representative says the national transportation safety board is investigating what happened, and the company hopes to use the findings to prevent any leaks in the future.

“We do believe that incidents on pipelines are avoidable and our goal is to have zero incidents,” said John.

Meanwhile, TransCanada said that the Keystone pipeline is back in operation and the cause remains under investigation.

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