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Consultant declares site suitable for city landfill

A consultant for the city of Grand Forks said the site the city picked in Rye Township for its landfill is very suitable. The groundwater near the surface isn't drinkable, and the soil is full of clay, limiting how much pollutants would penetrate...

A consultant for the city of Grand Forks said the site the city picked in Rye Township for its landfill is very suitable.

The groundwater near the surface isn't drinkable, and the soil is full of clay, limiting how much pollutants would penetrate into the ground should the landfill liner break, according to William T. Shefchik, a geologist with the firm Burns & McDonnell.

Sensors placed at 55 locations in the township found no surprises, he told the City Council's service committee.

After the firm gathers more data, the city could use it in an application for a landfill license from the state health department.

A Rye Township resident complained that he has a 211-foot-deep well and the water is perfectly drinkable.

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Shefchik said his firm drilled down to only about 100 feet because that's as much data needed to design a safe landfill.

Soil samples indicate that the soil in the township consists of various kinds of clay all the way down. Liquids travel 0.2 to 2.5 feet each year through that kind of soil, Shefchik said.

Sandy soil that's more porous, he said, is found farther west.

Within the zone surveyed, groundwater is brackish and full of minerals, Shefchik said. Samples indicate the presence of chloride and sulfates, he said, and surveyors found chunks of gypsum crystals, which form from dissolved minerals.

Ironically, Shefchik said the geology of Rye Township is quite a bit like the geology in Turtle River Township, where the city had wanted to build the landfill but was rebuffed.

Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send e-mail to ttran@gfherald.com .

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