North Dakota to Allow Radioactive Oil Waste at Landfill

Date: June 30, 2022

Source: News Room

Secure Energy Services, an Alberta based company, was recently given the okay by North Dakota state officials to begin dumping radioactive oil waste at a landfill in Williston, ND. This permit is the first of its kind in North Dakota, as previously oil companies were required to ship oil waste that was contaminated with radioactive waste out of state for disposal.

The permit will significantly decrease disposal costs incurred by oil companies that drill in the area. Since radioactive materials naturally exist in soil, water and rock, drilling activity causes those materials to concentrate. When the concentrations exceed an allowable level, the materials must be disposed of separately. Historically, North Dakota has deemed the toxicity of those materials as unsafe for humans or the environment. However, with a recent rule change, the state increased the threshold significantly and now deems them safe for disposal.

Critics of the rule change say this measure only helps oil companies meet their bottom line, and that the disposal of radioactive oil waste could have negative consequences for human and environmental health.

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