Minn-Dak identifies pond as source of recent odors

Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative identified its wastewater Pond Three, which is undergoing conversion to a covered low rate anaerobic reactor, as the source for a recent odor in the Twin Towns Area.

One local industry is taking responsibility for recent odors in the Twin Towns Area.

Wahpeton Mayor Steve Dale read an update from Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative when the Wahpeton City Council met Monday, Aug. 3. The cooperative identified the odor source as its wastewater Pond Three, which is undergoing conversion to a covered low rate anaerobic reactor.

“This new design features a pond cover which would greatly decrease and mitigate any odors generated from the wastewater pond,” Minn-Dak stated. “(We have) been working with the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) to ensure that a pond cover is installed.”

In 2019, Minn-Dak continued, the cooperative completed dewatering of the then-damaged Pond Three to begin the linear repair process. The pond’s liner was finished last year, with state approval occurring on Nov. 27, 2019.

“Due to freezing temperature conditions, it was impossible to finish the final cover portion of the project in 2019,” Mayor Dale read. “The NDDEQ agreed with an updated plan to then finish the cover in the summer of 2020.”

The final cover phase was on track to be finished in the summer of 2020, Minn-Dak stated. However, on June 9, 2020, a 50-mph wind event damaged significant portions of the liner.

“This event prompted Minn-Dak to come up with a plan to ensure that the cover could still be completed this year,” the cooperative stated.

For the project to be completed in 2020, Dale read, Minn-Dak contacted NDDEQ to request temporary wastewater storage in other ponds at its facility. Doing so will allow all contractors involved to expose the liner, assess the damage and complete all repairs needed in a timely fashion, Minn-Dak stated. Approval was granted on July 8, 2020.

“This phase of the project is expected to generate some odors as the wastewater and sludge that is being moved is high strength,” Minn-Dak stated. “Odors will be temporary until the cover is completed. Currently, (we are) on track to move the wastewater back to Pond Three in a couple of weeks.”

Minn-Dak has been having weekly meetings with NDDEQ to ensure the project’s completion, Dale said. Additionally, the cooperative will be providing weekly updates to Dale on the the project’s progress, to keep both him and the city of Wahpeton informed.

As well, Minn-Dak is conducting erosion repair on an inert lime pile.

“The lime pile is currently being covered with a 2-foot layer of dirt which will then be vegetated to complete the intermediate cover,” the cooperative stated. “This will be completed by Sept. 1, 2020 at the latest.”

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