The ND Department of Environmental Quality this week issued a Radioactive Materials License to Secure Energy that will allow the company to accept TENORM waste at its disposal facility 13 miles north of Williston.
TENORM (Technologically-Enhanced, Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Material) is a byproduct of oil and gas production. It is typically found in pipe scale and tank bottoms, and at filter socks used in saltwater disposal facilities.
Chuck Hyatt, director of the DEQ's Division of Waste Management, said the agency determined that Secure's application demonstrated that it met all state environmental quality regulations. He said the department received "a mixed bag" of comments on the proposed operation, but nothing that would suggest Secure could not meet all state regulations.
"Typically, what we're asking for is something that will inform our decision based on those regulations, some new information that may not have been considered, and we didn't receive any comments of that nature," Hyatt said. "So nothing came through that would have suggested that there was something there that didn't meet those requirements."
The radioactive materials license compels Secure to comply with requirements outlined in the state's radiological health rules. Hyatt said Secure has not yet met the requirement for air monitoring, and cannot accept TENORM until equipment is in place.
"For the air monitoring, you have to put monitors at the fenceline, and they aren't allowed to accept any TENORM waste until that's done," Hyatt said. "They need to collect baseline readings and they haven't notified us that they've done that, so that's one more step. They have the license, but before they can accept any waste, they need to install those air monitors."
The license requires inspection of all incoming loads, leachate sampling, groundwater monitoring, continuous air sampling, and all employees of the facility are required to wear docimeters that measure their cumulative exposure to radiation. The facility is limited to disposal of 25,000 tons of TENORM per year, and no more than 3,000 tons in any single month. Radioactivity levels in the material accepted at the landfill cannot exceed 50 picocuries per gram.
Secure previously sought and was granted a conditional use permit by Williams County for operation of the facility (see July 2, 2021 newsletter article).
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