Residents frustrated over city’s lack of RV dump station

With relatively little on the agenda at the Glendive City Council Meeting Tuesday evening, discussion focused on a dollars and scents debate over the possibility of connecting an RV waste dump to the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

“It’s really sad when you have all these people coming to Makoshika and you have nothing for them,” local resident Sue Schwindt told the council. “A lot of people don’t mind dry camping, but they don’t want to drive hundreds of miles with their nasty stuff.”

Schwindt, who has written several letters to the editor urging action on the subject, was joined by county residents Warren Pierce and Daryl DeKaye in voicing frustration about the lack of an RV dump in or near Glendive.

The root of the problem is the new wastewater treatment facility and the risk that dumping of substances other than sewage could have significant repercussions for the new system.

“At the height of the oil boom in North Dakota you had trucks dumping fracing fluids into RV dumps,” Councilman Gerald Reichert said. “Twenty million dollars was a huge investment and we can’t ask the citizens of the city to take the risk.”

Reichert added the concern isn’t with the vast majority of campers and good people, rather it is with one bad actor who could do serious harm.

Councilman Rhett Coon noted that the sensitivity of the system is based largely on its outflow to the Yellowstone River.

“DEQ and EPA could fine us tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.

Schwindt accused the city of failing to properly consider the problem of RV dumping when the wastewater facility was designed and built.

“There are probably ways around this,” Reichert said. “But they get very, very expensive. It’s not an easy question of saying we didn’t want to do it.”

Eventually the discussion turned toward private sector solutions.

“It is an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone in the community,” Coon said.

Mayor Jerry Jimison noted anyone could start an RV dump business and if they want to connect to the Glendive wastewater facility, they simply have to follow the pre-treatment requirements available from the Public Works Department.

Public Works Director Jack Rice explained at the simplest level a pre-treatment protocol would require a holding tank that had controlled access to monitor who was dumping. The tank could then be tested to confirm there are no harmful substances and the input could be slowly introduced to the sewer system.

Coon cited Town Pump as a local business that opted not to put in an RV dump because they didn’t want to deal with the pre-treatment requirements. He suggested perhaps a private septic system is more appropriate because it removes the sensitive Yellowstone from the equation.

“A private septic system with a private RV dump is very doable,” he said.

Whether or not anyone jumps on the idea, Schwindt said she’ll keep pushing.

“It isn’t going to go away. I’m not going to go away. That’s for sure,” she said.

Reach Chad Knudson at rrpub@rangerreview.com.

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