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Top oil county wants state inspectors on the home front

WATFORD CITY – Leaders in North Dakota’s top oil producing county pushed state health officials Wednesday to consider stationing inspectors in Watford City to more closely monitor the oil and gas industry.

The issue came up Wednesday during a presentation by the North Dakota Department of Health about radioactive material that is a byproduct of oil production. A landfill in McKenzie County is the first to apply to the state to accept waste with radioactivity levels up to 50 picocuries per gram.

McKenzie County leaders questioned how much state oversight there would be if the landfill gets approved for accepting the higher level of radioactivity.

Scott Radig, director of the health department’s Division of Waste Management, said the health department requires dust control in all landfills, but county leaders said the photo told a different story.

The health department inspects special waste landfills at least once a month, Radig said. In addition, the department has a spill response team that’s on the road Monday through Friday, with one person stationed south of Lake Sakakawea and one person stationed north.

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