State environmental quality workers part of odor investigation

Workers walk across the pond area at Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op.

New information is available in the investigation of strong odors from northern Wahpeton.

An outside third party was at Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative beginning Friday, Nov. 8, the company stated Wednesday, Nov. 13. That same day, an official with the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality confirmed the department’s work with Minn-Dak.

“We’ve been looking at the direction of the wind and seeing if there are noticeable odors, seeing where the odors are coming from,” said Diana Trussell, a waste program manager with the environmental department.

The work was to ascertain the source of non-routine odor, Minn-Dak continued.

“No specific source was identified and the non-routine odor levels were not detectable,” Communications Specialist Nancy Wulfekuhle stated. “This could be due to the fact that the source emits during intermittent periods.”

A first set of environmental quality workers were on-site from Nov. 8-11, Trussell said. Additional workers stopped by on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and Wednesday, Nov. 13. Minn-Dak, in its statement, said a different third party was on-site Wednesday to again assist in determining the source of the non-routine odor.

“While we may have identified what the source is and have taken corrective measures that are working, we want to confirm the source and effectiveness of measures taken, hence working with third parties,” Wulfekuhle continued.

According to Trussell, two distinct odors were identified. One, described as having a “rotten egg” smell, appeared to be coming from hydrogen sulfide. The other, described as having a “poop” smell appeared to be coming from Minn-Dak’s ponds.

“Minn-Dak has looked at covering one of the ponds,” Trussell said. “That has been talked about. It is uncertain if that’s still in the works for next year.”

Daily News asked Minn-Dak about covering any or all of its ponds, when that would occur and if there is an alternative plan

“We are not prepared to comment at this time, but expect to address this topic in the next few months,” Wulfekuhle said.

Her department will continue to work with Minn-Dak, Trussell said.

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, located in Bismarck, seeks to conserve and protect the quality of state air, land and water resources.

“In cooperation with the general public, industry and government at all levels, (we implement) protective programs and standards to help maintain and improve environmental quality,” the department stated.

Daily News will continue to follow this story.

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