Stockpile permit deniedTru Shine Wash must find alternate site for material
WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Planning Commission denied a request from Tru Shine Truck Wash, Worthington, to continue to operate a waste disposal site in the northeast quarter of Section 1, Ransom Township, during its meeting Wednesday night.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Planning Commission denied a request from Tru Shine Truck Wash, Worthington, to continue to operate a waste disposal site in the northeast quarter of Section 1, Ransom Township, during its meeting Wednesday night. The permit denial came after concerns were raised by neighbors about the potential spread of disease and the close proximity of the stockpile to an encapsulated well on the property.
Truck wash owner Mark Thier first showed commissioners and the public a series of videos recorded at Tru Shine, showing how sawdust and manure are washed from livestock trucks (approximately 90 percent of the trucks haul hogs) and how the material is separated. The wastewater goes to Worthington’s wastewater treatment plant, while the solids are dried and hauled to farm land.
Unfortunately, because of recent harsh winters, the business had to stockpile more of the solids than usual. On this particular site in Ransom Township, Nobles County Environmental Officer Wayne Smith said the stockpile was higher than the top of the barn roof and larger in area than the barn, house and building site combined when he was notified of concerns about the stockpile late last winter.
“When I went out and looked at it, I was shocked by the amount of volume that was there,” Smith said, adding that the pile disappeared in a hurry when they were finally able to begin hauling it out to farm fields.
Smith said he initially looked at the pile as manure, but because of the large sawdust content in the material, he said it should be categorized as business or industrial waste.
Nobles County Feedlot Officer Alan Langseth said the material was analyzed several years ago and had very low nitrogen content, with the phosphorus and potassium levels coming from the organic material in sawdust.
Up to a dozen truckloads of the material was dumped at the site daily, Monday through Friday, during the winter months. Thier said more sawdust is used in the trucks during the winter, and he rents ground from several different people to stockpile the material.
Doug and Kris Fransen, who reside directly across the road from the stockpile in Ransom Township, aired their concerns Wednesday night about pigs continually getting sick on their site.
While they can’t prove disease spread from the stockpile, Doug Fransen said he’d like to experience a couple of winters without the stockpile in such close proximity. He also said he has to deal with rats every time they clean the stockpile is cleaned up in the spring.
“I was hoping they could find another place to haul it for a while,” Fransen told the commission, adding that Thier has hauled the material to the site for the past four years.
Mike Johnson, another neighbor, said he was concerned about the potential impact on the well, and the general traffic safety in the area.
“There’s got to be a better place to dump this stuff,” Johnson said. “The dust flies (everywhere).”
Smith said perhaps Thier needed to find a site on a paved road, and not near a home or hog confinement operation.
“You’ve got a very good business, a very important business, but I also feel you need to be looking somewhere else,” said planning commissioner Paul Schilling.
Larry Hyink, another commissioner, suggested Thier put a disinfectant around the building site where the stockpile was to eradicate any potential for lingering health threats.
Planning commission chair Jim Gruye said he was bothered by the fact that Thier wasn’t required to test the material in the stockpile for diseases.
“I do believe that there is a (cause for concern) here,” Gruye said. “I can’t believe that you’re right across the road from a hog operation. I agree with the others that you need to find a better site.”
A nearly unanimous vote was cast to deny Tru Shine Truck Wash a conditional use permit to continue to use the Ransom Township site as a dump site. Planning commissioner Brent Feikema cast the lone vote against the decision.
“I don’t see it as a hazardous waste,” Feikema said. “I really don’t have a problem myself. I think you should do a little better job of cleaning it up. I think you’re doing a good job.”
Tru Shine opened in 2000 in Worthington and is licensed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.