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Letter: Proposed facility is too near a cemetery

To the editor,

On Aug. 13, the North Dakota Department of Health gave its stamp of approval to the Grand Prairie Agriculture, LLP, draft permit to build a hog facility near Devils Lake. The next step will be public hearings Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. at Spirit Lake Casino and at 5:30 p.m. at Lake Region State College. Written comments are accepted until Sept. 28, after which the NDDH will decide to 1) accept the permit as written, 2) modify the permit, or 3) deny the permit.

The permit is written for 420 farrowing sows with litter and 2,079 gestation sows. This facility will

produce over 49,000 piglets a year, none of which are counted in the permit, which gives an artificially low total in determining amounts of manure produced, mortality numbers and setback distances.

The proposed facility overlies the Spiritwood aquifer. The city of Devils Lake, Spirit Lake Nation, Greater Ramsey Water District and other communities obtain water from the Spiritwood aquifer.

Manure will be applied to fields on both sides of Six Mile Bay and north of Penn to the southern edge of Lake Alice Refuge in Pelican, Grand Harbor, Dry Lake, Chain Lakes, and Coulee Townships. Many of the fields are carved out around wetlands and the lake. The topography of the land is hilly, which then drains down into the wetlands/lake.

Dead animals and placentas will be composted in a three-sided building on site. It is estimated that there will be 236.7 pounds of dead pig to compost daily.

NDDH requires no bond to clean up any contamination.

The Norway Lutheran Church Cemetery lies within a few hundred feet of the barns. It is an active cemetery with 237 graves. It is a beautiful, calm, spiritual place where people go to mourn, remember and pray.

This hog facility should not be sited here. The risk of contamination to ground and surface water is too great. The lack of dignity shown to the neighboring cemetery is outrageous.

Please attend one or both of the hearing sessions and make your concerns heard. If you are unable to attend send comments to Department of Health, Division of Water Quality, 918

E. Divide Avenue, Bismarck, N.D., 58501, or email to

Lois Steinhaus

Devils Lake