No update yet on odor source

Strong odors from northern Wahpeton were not noticeable Tuesday, Nov. 12. Processing continued at Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative. Earlier in November, the company stated it was generating atypical odors and investigating potential sources.

More than a week after they’ve been identified, strong odors from northern Wahpeton have not yet been traced to an exact source.

The odors, reportedly similar to natural gas, were identified by citizens prior to Monday, Nov. 4. Two days later, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative stated it was generating odors and investigating two potential sources.

“The odors are not typical of odors that may be generated during the processing campaign,” Minn-Dak said.

Additional information has not been given since the investigation began. A Minn-Dak spokesperson they have not been informed of any exact odor source as of Monday, Nov. 11.

Minn-Dak Vice President of Operations Paul Fry was not available for comment. Wahpeton Public Works Director Dennis Miranowski said Fry has been in contact with the city regarding the situation.

“As soon as the root cause is determined, we will take immediate steps to resolve the situation to the best of our ability,” Minn-Dak stated Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Wahpeton’s weather on Tuesday, Nov. 12 included clouds, below freezing temperatures and winds blowing from the south to north. Processing continued at Minn-Dak, while strong odors were not noticeable.

“City Hall and council members had been getting complaints (in early November), with people wondering, ‘Hey, what’s happening?’” Miranowski said.

In its initial announcement, Minn-Dak apologized for all odors being generated.

“(We) will provide another update as more is known about root cause and what can be done to resolve the situation,” the company stated.

In October, the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Odors held its first meeting in Wahpeton. A 17-member organization, the committee includes Mayor Steve Dale, Wahpeton, Mayor Russ Wilson, Breckenridge, Minnesota, and other community figures. Minn-Dak is represented by Dr. Richard Ames and Troy Koltes.

“(We want) to pursue workable solutions to lessen the number of days the city of Wahpeton experiences poor air quality,” Mayor Dale said previously.

The committee’s next meeting has not been scheduled as of Tuesday, Nov. 12. Mayor Dale was unavailable for additional comment.

Wahpeton’s wastewater ponds, meanwhile, are on Miranowski’s agenda. A facility and feasibility study, to be performed by Interstate Engineering, is in the works.

“We’ve sat down, talked and identified all that needs to be looked at,” Miranowski said. “It will take most of 2020 to complete. There’s a lot of data to gather, which will create recommendations to city council and indicate what we need to do to correct operations.”

Daily News will continue to follow this story.

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