On August 9, 2016, the Advisory Council to the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) voted unanimously to ratify new rules allowing the disposal of up to 50 picocuries of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) waste from oil and gas production in specially permitted landfills.
The rules were scheduled to go into effect in January 2016. However, after two environmental watchdog groups sued the NDDH, a district court held that proper notice was not provided for an August 2015 public meeting. Thereafter, the NDDH scheduled the new hearing for August 9, 2016, at which the rules were unanimously ratified.
Background In late 2013, NDDH promulgated a draft rule based on suggested state regulations developed by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD). The draft rule, among other things, allowed for the disposal of up to 50 picocuries of TENORM waste from oil and gas production in specially permitted landfills. In addition, the draft rule established requirements for waste hauler licensing, applicant background and criminal history checks, specific record keeping requirements, and RSO training requirements for certain license types.
North Dakota rules require that at least one public hearing be held for the draft rules, including a 30-day notice before the hearing and a 30-day comment period. NDDH held three public hearings on the draft rule and extended the comment period to 80 days.
At a public meeting on August 12 2015, the NDDH approved new rules allowing the disposal of up to 50 picocuries of TENORM waste from oil and gas production in specially permitted landfills. The Dakota Resource Council and the North Dakota Energy Industry Waste Coalition, however, sued NDDH over the new rules. A district court ruled that proper notice was not provided for the August 2015 meeting.
The NDDH currently has two applications pending for the licensing of radioactive disposal facilities in the state, with a third application having been shelved.
TENORM Study In November 2014, the Environmental Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) released a report titled, “Radiological Dose and Risk Assessment of Landfill Disposal of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) in North Dakota.” (See LLW Notes, January/February 2015, pp. 1, 19-23.)
The report documents the results of a radiological dose and risk assessment of the disposal of TENORM wastes in permitted industrial waste and special waste landfills in North Dakota. The NDDH requested that Argonne conduct the assessment to ensure that any possible rule changes regarding the handling and disposal of TENORM are protective of human health and the environment.
For additional information, please contact Dale Patrick of the NDDH at (701) 328-5188 or at firstname.lastname@example.org