Description: Petroleum production activities sometimes result in the accumulation of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at elevated concentrations in by-product waste streams, such as scale and sludge. In the past, the petroleum industry commonly disposed of these wastes via landspreading, a practice consisting of spreading the waste over the soil surface and, sometimes, mixing it into the top layer of soil. Potential radiological doses to workers and the general public from landspreading of NORM waste have been assessed for a variety of scenarios, including the landspreading worker scenario and future residential, industrial, recreational, and agricultural scenarios. The exposure pathways evaluated include external radiation, inhalation of resuspended dust and radon, ingestion of soil and groundwater, and ingestion of contaminated foodstuff grown on the property. In general, potential doses to landspreading workers and members of the general public exposed through future recreational or agricultural use of the property are negligible. Potential doses to future residential or industrial users can vary greatly, depending on such factors as type of building construction, presence or absence of clean cover material, and on-site erosion rates. On the basis of the results presented in this paper, it is recommended that (a) any landspreading activity that would result in radium-226 concentrations in soil above 10 pCi/g be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to estimate potential future risk to the public and (b) states should consider policies to restrict future land use or advise future land owners where landspreading of NORM wastes has occurred.
Date: December 18, 1998
Creator: Smith, K. P.
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