Targa Resources has a pilot project in
“When you spill hydrocarbon, there are naturally occurring microbes – bugs – that immediately start to eat it,” said
The company successfully completed a landfarming project on the
The regulatory process to do a similar project in
“Let’s reuse this instead of just wasting it,” McQuade said in an interview. “You can’t get it back out of the landfill once it’s there.”
The microorganisms added during the bioremediation process degrade contaminants in the soil. To accelerate the process, the contaminated soil is spread about 8 inches thick and crews work the soil periodically to make sure the microbes have enough oxygen, McQuade said.
The bugs digest the hydrocarbons and convert them to carbon dioxide, water and organic matter.
“Naturally, the soil at end of process becomes a very, very fertile material, sometimes more fertile than it was before the spill,” McQuade said.
The bioremediation process only works for hydrocarbon spills and cannot be used to remove produced water, also known as brine, he said.
With the Fort Berthold project, Targa was able to reduce the concentration of hydrocarbons to a level that is below the
Now the company is doing its first landfarming project off the reservation and under the jurisdiction of state health regulators.
The landfarming site is constructed with soil berms and silt fencing to prevent stormwater from running on or off the location, McQuade said.
Targa will be required to submit monitoring reports to the health department, and inspectors will periodically visit the site, said
“Since this is somewhat of a new type of facility, we want to keep an eye on it,” Hyatt said.
Baseline testing was conducted in July on the soil beneath the treatment area, Hyatt said. The health department will be involved with making sure the contaminated soil is cleaned up to the state standard and also testing the ground underneath after the treated soil is removed.
“We’re very interested to see what the outcomes of this are,” Hyatt said.
Because the microorganisms hibernate in the winter, the project is expected to continue into next year.
The permit expires on
McQuade, who applied for the health department permit in
McQuade said he’s meeting with policymakers and leaders of the
Hyatt said there are several factors for regulators to evaluate, including making sure the location is acceptable for a landfarm and preventing the risk of contaminating a new site.
“The key for everyone is they don’t want to be left with the contaminant or the nonproductive soil,” Coons said.
(c)2018 The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.)
Visit The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.) at www.bismarcktribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.