Williams County may be joining other North Dakota counties that use brine to control dust and de-ice roads in the winter.
Commissioners had some youthful shadows for the day on Tuesday for the annual Elks Youth Day. Through them they unanimously approved an agreement with Continental during regular session for produced water that the oilfield company will donate for use on gravel roads for dust control.
“When it’s in their custody, they are responsible for it, and when it is in ours, it’s our responsibility,” said Karen Prout. She is the county’s attorney.
“Is there any discussion whether any of the water will work?” Kemp asked.
The water is being tested, Williams County Highway Superintendent Dennis Nelson said, to determine if it will meet the correct parameters for safe use.
The produced water that the county would be using is 9-pound weight, Nelson added.
Fresh, meanwhile is 8.3-pound weight, and “mag” water, or a magnesium chloride/calcium chloride mixture, is 13-pound weight.
“The North Dakota Department of Health has guidelines for using produced water,” Prout said.
Any water that the county uses for de-icing or dust control would have to first meet the Health Department standards. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality would also have to sign off on the proposed use.
Nelson said the amount of produced water the county will use for dust control and de-icing is a drop in the bucket compared to what is being produced each day.
“I’m not sure that it is a big thing for the industry,” he said.
Oilfield companies have been helping with dust control all along, Nelson told the Williston Herald after the meeting, and will continue to do so.
The donated water will be in addition to those efforts. It will be spread by county workers using county equipment. That should help increase the area where dust is being controlled, but it will be limited by the availability of county workers and equipment.
“We’ll follow a route, spreading out from around the wells that meet the standards the Health Department requires,” Nelson said.
On other matters Commissioners and their counterparts:
• Approved a bid from Mayo in the amount of $3.633 million for County Road 21 from U.S. Highway 2 north to Tioga School. They also directed Chairman David Montgomery to sign contracts for several other road projects and approved equipment rates for work done using county equipment for townships or entities.
• Approved sending grant applications to each township for Frost Law money, and set a deadline of June 4 to return them. About $881,000 has been collected so far this year.
• Approved the 2020 budget calendar, which shows a budget hearings in July. A preliminary budget would be ready by Aug. 6 and preliminary statements Aug. 31. The final budget would be Sept. 17.
• Approved two variances requested by Jon Aisenbrey for lots less than 40 acres in an agricultural district, one for a 39-acre lot in Dry Fork Township and the other for a 96-acre lot in Hofflund Township. An XTO spokesman was present to answer questions about the request.
• Delayed a request from Ed Rintamaki for a waiver on required setbacks until staff have had a chance to review the matter.
• Approved the sale by sealed bid of a mobile home in Ray that had been used as law enforcement housing during the boom.
• Accepted the retirement of Roger Bearce from the annexation board. Bearce served on the board for almost 30 years.
• Approved filling seven positions, one of them a new position for equipment/truck driver, in anticipation of retirements from the highway department. The remaining positions are all for replacement of existing personnel in various departments.
• Ratified all the decisions made by their Elks Youth Day counterparts for the day. These included Erick Bickler, Jaydon Kvande, LJ Smith, Samantha Barrett and Caden Innis. The event is organized annually by Chris Mack.