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Radiological dose assessment of the disposal of NORM wastes via landspreading.

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An overview of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in the petroleum industry

Description: Oil and gas extraction and processing operations sometimes accumulate naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at concentrations above normal in by-product waste streams. Results from NORM surveys indicate that radionuclide concentrations can be quite variable, ranging from undetectable to extremely high levels. To date, efforts to characterize the geographic distribution of NORM have been limited by poor statistical representation. In addition, the fate of NORM in the environment has not been fully defined, and few human health risk assessment have been conducted. Both the petroleum industry and regulators are becoming increasingly concerned about the presence of NORM. At present, most existing federal environmental regulations do not address oil and gas NORM, and only a few states have developed regulatory programs. Available data suggest that the occurrence of NORM (and associated health risks) is significant enough to warrant increased regulatory control. However, before these regulations can be developed, additional research is needed to (1) better characterize the occurrence and distribution of NORM throughout the industry, (2) quantify hazards posed by NORM to industry workers and the general public, and (3) develop effective waste treatment and minimization technologies that will lower the risk associated with NORM and reduce disposal costs.
Date: December 1, 1992
Creator: Smith, K.P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Dose assessment for management alternatives for NORM-contaminated equipment within the petroleum industry

Description: The contamination of drilling and production equipment by naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is a growing concern for the petroleum industry and regulators. Large volumes of NORM-contaminated scrap metal are generated by the industry each year. The contamination generally occurs as surface contamination on the interior of water-handling equipment. The source of this contamination is accumulation of by-product wastes, in the form of scale and sludge contaminated with NORM that are generated by extraction processes. The primary radionuclides of concern in petroleum industry NORM-wastes are radium-226 (Ra-226), and radium-228 (Ra-228). These isotopes are members of the uranium-238 and thorium-232 decay series, respectively. The uranium and thorium isotopes, which are naturally present in the subsurface formations from which hydrocarbons are extracted, are largely immobile and remain in the subsurface. The more soluble radium can become mobilized in the formation water and be transported to the surface in the produced water waste stream. The radium either remains in solution or precipitates in scale or sludge deposits, depending on water salinity and on temperature and pressure phase changes. NORM-containing scale consists of radium that has coprecipitated with barium, calcium, or strontium sulfates, and sludge typically consists of radium-containing silicates and carbonates. This assessment is limited to the evaluation of potential radiological doses from management options that specifically involve recycle and reuse of contaminated metal. Doses from disposal of contaminated equipment are not addressed. Radiological doses were estimated for workers and the general public for equipment decontamination and smelting. Results of this assessment can be used to examine policy issues concerning the regulation and management of NORM-contaminated wastes generated by the petroleum industry.
Date: August 1995
Creator: Blunt, D. L. & Smith, K. P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Feasibility of re-melting NORM-contaminated scrap metal

Description: Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) sometimes accumulate inside pieces of equipment associated with oil and gas production and processing activities. Typically, the NORM accumulates when radium that is present in solution in produced water precipitates out in scale and sludge deposits. Scrap equipment containing residual quantities of these NORM-bearing scales and sludges can present a waste management problem if the radium concentrations exceed regulatory limits or activate the alarms on radiation screening devices installed at most scrap metal recycling facilities. Although NORM-contaminated scrap metal currently is not disposed of by re-melting, this form of recycling could present a viable disposition option for this waste stream. Studies indicate that re-melting NORM-contaminated scrap metal is a viable recycling option from a risk-based perspective. However, a myriad of economic, regulatory, and policy issues have caused the recyclers to turn away virtually all radioactive scrap metal. Until these issues can be resolved, re-melting of the petroleum industry's NORM-impacted scrap metal is unlikely to be a widespread practice. This paper summarizes the issues associated with re-melting radioactive scrap so that the petroleum industry and its regulators will understand the obstacles. This paper was prepared as part of a report being prepared by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission's NORM Subcommittee.
Date: October 26, 1999
Creator: Winters, S. J. & Smith, K. P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Scrap metal management issues associated with naturally occurring radioactive material

Description: Certain industrial processes sometimes generate waste by-products that contain naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) at elevated concentrations. Some industries, including the water treatment, geothermal energy, and petroleum industries, generate scrap metal that may be contaminated with NORM wastes. Of these three industries, the petroleum industry probably generates the largest quantity of NORM-contaminated equipment, conservatively estimated at 170,000 tons per year. Equipment may become contaminated when NORM-containing scale or sludge accumulates inside water-handling equipment. The primary radionuclides of concern in these NORM wastes are radium-226 and radium-228. NORM-contaminated equipment generated by the petroleum industry currently is managed several ways. Some equipment is routinely decontaminated for reuse; other equipment becomes scrap metal and may be disposed of by burial at a licensed landfill, encapsulation inside the wellbore of an abandoned well, or shipment overseas for smelting. In view of the increased regulatory activities addressing NORM, the economic burden of managing NORM-contaminated wastes, including radioactive scrap metal, is likely to continue to grow. Efforts to develop a cost-effective strategy for managing radioactive scrap metal should focus on identifying the least expensive disposition options that provide adequate protection of human health and the environment. Specifically, efforts should focus on better characterizing the quantity of radioactive scrap available for recycle or reuse, the radioactivity concentration levels, and the potential risks associated with different disposal options.
Date: August 1, 1995
Creator: Smith, K.P. & Blunt, D.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An overview of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in the petroleum industry

Description: Oil and gas extraction and processing operations sometimes accumulate naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at concentrations above normal in by-product waste streams. Results from NORM surveys indicate that radionuclide concentrations can be quite variable, ranging from undetectable to extremely high levels. To date, efforts to characterize the geographic distribution of NORM have been limited by poor statistical representation. In addition, the fate of NORM in the environment has not been fully defined, and few human health risk assessment have been conducted. Both the petroleum industry and regulators are becoming increasingly concerned about the presence of NORM. At present, most existing federal environmental regulations do not address oil and gas NORM, and only a few states have developed regulatory programs. Available data suggest that the occurrence of NORM (and associated health risks) is significant enough to warrant increased regulatory control. However, before these regulations can be developed, additional research is needed to (1) better characterize the occurrence and distribution of NORM throughout the industry, (2) quantify hazards posed by NORM to industry workers and the general public, and (3) develop effective waste treatment and minimization technologies that will lower the risk associated with NORM and reduce disposal costs.
Date: December 1, 1992
Creator: Smith, K. P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Potential radiological doses associated with the disposal of petroleum industry NORM via landspreading. Final report, September 1998

Description: As a result of oil and gas production and processing operations, naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) sometimes accumulate at elevated concentrations in by-product waste streams. The primary radionuclides of concern in NORM wastes are radium-226 of the uranium-238 decay series, and radium-228, of the thorium-232 decay series. The production waste streams most likely to be contaminated by elevated radium concentrations include produced water, scale, and sludge. Scales and sludges removed from production equipment often are disposed of by landspreading, a method in which wastes are spread over the soil surface to allow the hydrocarbon component of the wastes to degrade. In this study, the disposal of NORM-contaminated wastes by landspreading was modeled to evaluate potential radiological doses and resultant health risks to workers and the general public. A variety of future land use scenarios--including residential, industrial, recreational, and agricultural scenarios--were considered. The waste streams considered included scales and sludges containing NORM above background levels. The objectives of this study were to (1) estimate potential radiological doses to workers and the general public resulting from the disposal of NORM wastes by noncommercial landspreading activities and (2) analyze the effect of different land use scenarios on potential doses.
Date: December 1, 1998
Creator: Smith, K.P.; Blunt, D.L. & Arnish, J.J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bibliography of reports, papers, and presentations on naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in petroleum industry wastes

Description: This bibliography was created to support projects conducted by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) addressing issues related to naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in petroleum industry wastes. The bibliography provides citations for many of the available published reports, papers, articles, and presentations on petroleum industry NORM. In the past few years, the rapid expansion of NORM treatment and disposal technologies, the efforts to characterize NORM wastes and their associated potential risks, and the promulgation of state-level NORM regulatory programs have been well-documented in project reports and in papers presented at technical conferences and symposia. There are 221 citations.
Date: July 1, 1997
Creator: Smith, K.P.; Wilkey, M.L. & Hames, R.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Issues related to setting exemption levels for oil and gas NORM

Description: In the absence of any federal regulations that specifically address the handling and disposal of wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), individual states have taken responsibility for developing their own regulatory programs for NORM. A key issue in developing NORM rules is defining exemption levels--specific levels or concentrations that determine which waste materials are subject to controlled management. In general, states have drawn upon existing standards and guidelines for similar waste types in establishing exemption levels for NORM. Simply adopting these standards may not be appropriate for oil and gas NORM for several reasons. The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission's NORM Subcommittee has summarized the issues involved in setting exemption levels in a report titled ``Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM): Issues from the Oil and Gas Point of View''. The committee has also recommended a set of exemption levels for controlled practices and for remediation activities on the basis of the issues discussed.
Date: November 12, 1999
Creator: Blunt, D. L.; Gooden, D. S. & Smith, K. P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Radiological dose assessment related to management of naturally occurring radioactive materials generated by the petroleum industry

Description: A preliminary radiological dose assessment related to equipment decontamination, subsurface disposal, landspreading, equipment smelting, and equipment burial was conducted to address concerns regarding the presence of naturally occurring radioactive materials in production waste streams. The assessment evaluated the relative dose of these activities and included a sensitivity analysis of certain input parameters. Future studies and potential policy actions are recommended.
Date: May 1, 1995
Creator: Smith, K.P.; Blunt, D.L.; Williams, G.P. & Tebes, C.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The NORM technology connection web site : streamlined access to NORM-related service company and regulatory information.

Description: Argonne National Laboratory has developed an Internet web site providing access to critical information needed to support decisions on the management and disposal of wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The NORM Technology Connection web site provides current information on (1) service companies that provide support on NORM issues (e.g., site characterization and remediation, sample analysis, radiation safety training, disposal) and (2) existing applicable NORM regulations and guidelines. A third element of the site is an electronic mail list that allows users to post or respond to questions about the management of NORM. Development of the NORM Technology Connection web site was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy. It is hosted and maintained by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. The web site is publicly available; access is free, as is participation by any of the service companies.
Date: November 8, 2000
Creator: Smith, K. P.; Richmond, P.; LePoire, D. J.; Arnish, J. J. & Johnson, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disposal of NORM-contaminated oil field wastes in Salt Caverns.

Description: In 1995, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy, asked Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) to conduct a preliminary technical and legal evaluation of disposing of nonhazardous oil field waste (NOW) into salt caverns. That study concluded that disposal of NOW into salt caverns is feasible and legal. If caverns are sited and designed well, operated carefully, closed properly, and monitored routinely, they can be a suitable means of disposing of NOW (Veil et al. 1996). Considering these findings and the increased U.S. interest in using salt caverns for NOW disposal, the Office of Fossil Energy asked Argonne to conduct further research on the cost of cavern disposal compared with the cost of more traditional NOW disposal methods and on preliminary identification and investigation of the risks associated with such disposal. The cost study (Veil 1997) found that disposal costs at the four permitted disposal caverns in the United States were comparable to or lower than the costs of other disposal facilities in the same geographic area. The risk study (Tomasko et al. 1997) estimated that both cancer and noncancer human health risks from drinking water that had been contaminated by releases of cavern contents were significantly lower than the accepted risk thresholds. Since 1992, DOE has funded Argonne to conduct a series of studies evaluating issues related to management and disposal of oil field wastes contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). Included among these studies were radiological dose assessments of several different NORM disposal options (Smith et al. 1996). In 1997, DOE asked Argonne to conduct additional analyses on waste disposal in salt caverns, except that this time the wastes to be evaluated would be those types of oil field wastes that are contaminated by NORM. This report describes these analyses. Throughout the remainder of this ...
Date: August 28, 1998
Creator: Veil, J. A.; Smith, K. P.; Tomasko, D.; Elcock, D.; Blunt, D. & Williams, G. P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Radiological dose assessment related to management of naturally occurring radioactive materials generated by the petroleum industry

Description: A preliminary radiological dose assessment of equipment decontamination, subsurface disposal, landspreading, equipment smelting, and equipment burial was conducted to address concerns regarding the presence of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in production waste streams. The assessment estimated maximum individual dose equivalents for workers and the general public. Sensitivity analyses of certain input parameters also were conducted. On the basis of this assessment, it is concluded that (1) regulations requiring workers to wear respiratory protection during equipment cleaning operations are likely to result in lower worker doses, (2) underground injection and downhole encapsulation of NORM wastes present a negligible risk to the general public, and (3) potential doses to workers and the general public related to smelting NORM-contaminated equipment can be controlled by limiting the contamination level of the initial feed. It is recommended that (1) NORM wastes be further characterized to improve studies of potential radiological doses; (2) states be encouraged to permit subsurface disposal of NORM more readily, provided further assessments support this study; results; (3) further assessment of landspreading NORM wastes be conducted; and (4) the political, economic, sociological, and nonradiological issues related to smelting NORM-contaminated equipment be studied to fully examine the feasibility of this disposal option.
Date: September 1, 1996
Creator: Smith, K.P.; Blunt, D.L.; Williams, G.P. & Tebes, C.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disposal of NORM-Contaminated Oil Field Wastes in Salt Caverns

Description: In 1995, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy, asked Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) to conduct a preliminary technical and legal evaluation of disposing of nonhazardous oil field waste (NOW) into salt caverns. That study concluded that disposal of NOW into salt caverns is feasible and legal. If caverns are sited and designed well, operated carefully, closed properly, and monitored routinely, they can be a suitable means of disposing of NOW (Veil et al. 1996). Considering these findings and the increased U.S. interest in using salt caverns for NOW disposal, the Office of Fossil Energy asked Argonne to conduct further research on the cost of cavern disposal compared with the cost of more traditional NOW disposal methods and on preliminary identification and investigation of the risks associated with such disposal. The cost study (Veil 1997) found that disposal costs at the four permitted disposal caverns in the United States were comparable to or lower than the costs of other disposal facilities in the same geographic area. The risk study (Tomasko et al. 1997) estimated that both cancer and noncancer human health risks from drinking water that had been contaminated by releases of cavern contents were significantly lower than the accepted risk thresholds. Since 1992, DOE has funded Argonne to conduct a series of studies evaluating issues related to management and disposal of oil field wastes contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). Included among these studies were radiological dose assessments of several different NORM disposal options (Smith et al. 1996). In 1997, DOE asked Argonne to conduct additional analyses on waste disposal in salt caverns, except that this time the wastes to be evaluated would be those types of oil field wastes that are contaminated by NORM. This report describes these analyses. Throughout the remainder of this ...
Date: January 21, 1999
Creator: Blunt, D.L.; Elcock, D.; Smith, K.P.; Tomasko, D.; Viel, J.A. & and Williams, G.P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disposal of NORM waste in salt caverns

Description: Some types of oil and gas production and processing wastes contain naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). If NORM is present at concentrations above regulatory levels in oil field waste, the waste requires special disposal practices. The existing disposal options for wastes containing NORM are limited and costly. This paper evaluates the legality, technical feasibility, economics, and human health risk of disposing of NORM-contaminated oil field wastes in salt caverns. Cavern disposal of NORM waste is technically feasible and poses a very low human health risk. From a legal perspective, there are no fatal flaws that would prevent a state regulatory agency from approving cavern disposal of NORM. On the basis of the costs charged by caverns currently used for disposal of nonhazardous oil field waste (NOW), NORM waste disposal caverns could be cost competitive with existing NORM waste disposal methods when regulatory agencies approve the practice.
Date: July 1, 1998
Creator: Veil, J.A.; Smith, K.P.; Tomasko, D.; Elcock, D.; Blunt, D. & Williams, G.P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assessing the disposal of wastes containing NORM in nonhazardous waste landfills

Description: In the past few years, many states have established specific regulations for the management of petroleum industry wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) above specified thresholds. These regulations have limited the number of disposal options available for NORM-containing wastes, thereby increasing the related waste management costs. In view of the increasing economic burden associated with NORM management, industry and regulators are interested in identifying cost-effective disposal alternatives that still provide adequate protection of human health and the environment. One such alternative being considered is the disposal of NORM-containing wastes in landfills permitted to accept only nonhazardous wastes. The disposal of petroleum industry wastes containing radium-226 and lead-210 above regulated levels in nonhazardous landfills was modeled to evaluate the potential radiological doses and associated health risks to workers and the general public. A variety of scenarios were considered to evaluate the effects associated with the operational phase (i.e., during landfill operations) and future use of the landfill property. Doses were calculated for the maximally exposed receptor for each scenario. This paper presents the results of that study and some conclusions and recommendations drawn from it.
Date: November 22, 1999
Creator: Smith, K. P.; Blunt, D. L.; Williams, G. P.; Arnish, J. J.; Pfingston, M. R. & Herbert, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disposal of NORM-contaminated oil field wastes in salt caverns -- Legality, technical feasibility, economics, and risk

Description: Some types of oil and gas production and processing wastes contain naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). If NORM is present at concentrations above regulatory levels in oil field waste, the waste requires special disposal practices. The existing disposal options for wastes containing NORM are limited and costly. This paper evaluates the legality, technical feasibility, economics, and human health risk of disposing of NORM-contaminated oil field wastes in salt caverns. Cavern disposal of NORM waste is technically feasible and poses a very low human health risk. From a legal perspective, there are no fatal flaws that would prevent a state regulatory agency from approaching cavern disposal of NORM. On the basis of the costs charged by caverns currently used for disposal of nonhazardous oil field waste (NOW), NORM waste disposal caverns could be cost competitive with existing NORM waste disposal methods when regulatory agencies approve the practice.
Date: July 1, 1998
Creator: Veil, J.A.; Smith, K.P.; Tomasko, D.; Elcock, D.; Blunt, D. & Williams, G.P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Radiological dose assessment of NORM disposal in Class II injection wells

Description: Subsurface disposal of petroleum industry wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) via injection into Class II wells was modeled to estimate potential radiological doses to individuals consuming water from a shallow aquifer. A generic model was developed for the injection of 100,000 barrels of NORM waste containing 2,000 picocuries per liter of radium into a layered geologic system. In separate modeling runs, it was assumed that a casing failure released the entire volume of NORM into each successive geologic layer, including the shallow aquifer. Radionuclide concentrations and related potential doses were calculated for receptors located in the shallow aquifer from 0 to 20 miles down gradient of the injection well. The results indicated that even under conservative assumptions, calculated radionuclide concentrations and potential doses associated with subsurface disposal of NORM in Class II wells were below levels of regulatory concern. The preliminary results from a dose assessment of a specific project entailing injection of NORM into Class II wells support the conclusions of the generic study.
Date: September 1, 1997
Creator: Smith, K.P.; Williams, G.P.; Blunt, D.L. & Arnish, J.J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department