CRARY, N.D. -- The Ramsey County Commission wants the North Dakota Health Department to conduct unannounced inspections of Dakota Dry Bean’s pea processing facility in Crary after residents complained about residue they claim is coming from pea flour production.
Residents said the pea dust is coating cars, lawns and houses, -- inside and out -- which is creating a health hazard.
In a letter this week to Dave Glatt, the department’s environmental health section chief, the commission seeks to determine whether air quality standards are being violated. It also wants the company to mitigate the damage.
“Ramsey County further requests that the State Health Department recommend that the company remove all pea dust and particulates that are already all over the residents’ property,” Commission Chair Myrna Heisler said in the letter.
Dakota Dry Bean, based in Grand Forks, demolished the community’s old grain elevator last summer and built a pea processing facility, which has been operating since this past fall, according to Crary Mayor Josh Haugen.
“We’ve got houses that are painted white,” Haugen said at a recent County Commission meeting. “We have big concerns about what this is doing to the shingles on houses. There are people that are literally living with plastic on their furniture inside their houses.”
He said the company has been making equipment modifications to deal with issues, and company CEO Chuck Carlson has attended City Council meetings to address the concerns.
“They’ve done a pretty good job with that. Noise has been reduced greatly,” Haugen said. “However, they’re still producing pea flour and it’s making a mess around the city.”
Carlson was not immediately available for comment.
Inspectors from the Health Department visited Crary in February but said the facility was not in violation of any codes at the time. Officials did note they observed “fugitive dust,” described by the Environmental Protection Agency as particulate matter that is generated from open air sources, around the plant but said they didn’t notice anything different about the air in Crary.
Health Department officials told WDAZ in February they would follow up with surprise inspections in the future.
“The problem was supposed to be resolved in December,” Haugen said. “Here we are in April and we’re still dealing with it. It should have never gotten to this level.”
WDAZ is owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns the Herald.