Mandan News

Spill cleanup wells might halt in Mandan

A state Health Department official said Tuesday that Mandan can plan to shut down a 285-unit well system used to retrieve a diesel spill there.

Scott Radig said it could be two to three years before nearly all of it is discontinued. A color-coded map he presented showed how the diesel spill’s presence has shrunk to a small dot of the several block area it covered in 2006.

Radig said nearly 1 million gallons of product have been collected in vapor, gasoline vapor, diesel vapor, free-phase liquid fuel and other forms from the original spill contamination in 2006.

City Administrator Jim Neubauer said the Mandan Remediation Trust could deactivate as many as 75 percent of the extraction wells in the near future. Its consultant Leggette Brashears & Graham, the Health Department and a contractor will help in the shutdown plan. He is also a member of the MRT board.

“We haven’t seen much free product to the north side of Main Street,” he said.

Neubauer said in the long term, monitoring wells would be kept in place near the railroad south of Main Street to gauge any future diesel risk.

“The wells on the Collins Avenue and Main Street building site have been plugged,” he said. “Wells on the east and west side of the Iverson building have been taken out. Now, we’ll start moving north and decommissioning wells. We have probably decommissioned 20. There are several on the north side of Main Street we haven’t been operating for a while.”

The MRT secured about a $24 million settlement with the BNSF Railroad for causing the diesel spill and allocated funds for diesel cleanup.

A large amount of that funding has been used to set up the well extraction system in downtown Mandan – First through Third avenues – and from the railroad tracks to the Law Enforcement Center. The basement of the Law Enforcement Center also used some of the settlement money to abate diesel spill risks caused by high groundwater levels.

About $7.4 million of that fund remains, Neubauer said.

“We’ll work with LBG to see what a decommissioning plan will cost. It should be minimal because we won’t be tearing streets apart or taking pipe out of the ground. With the pipe, you cut it off below grade, plug and cap it.”

By LeAnn Eckroth, Lee News