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Company says environmental fine in ND 'exorbitant'

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- A Montana company fined $500,000 for improper septic tank wastewater disposal in the western North Dakota oil patch is abandoning the practice of applying the waste to farmland because the company says it's impractical.

Hurley Enterprises spokesman Dave Gorham says it's too difficult to comply with regulations, and the company is turning to wastewater lagoons as more of them come online. The disposal violations occurred in 2011 and 2012, when Gorham says there were fewer lagoon options.

Hurley isn't contesting the fine and Gorham says the company wants to work with the state to come up with better disposal methods. But he also says the company believes the fine amount is "exorbitant."

The Health Department says Hurley and another company didn't follow correct procedures for applying the wastewater to fields.