The Bismarck Tribune reported Friday:
Filters used to strain wastewater from oil wells that test positive for low-level radiation are being rejected at municipal landfills in the oil patch.
Williston landfill operator Brad Septka said since June he’s rejected 23 oilfield loads that set off the landfill’s Geiger counter.
Septka said the filters as well as the empty bags used to haul fracture treatment sand set off the counter.
The rejected loads are supposed to be sent out of state for disposal:
Radioactive waste is regulated by the North Dakota Health Department. Scott Radig, who manages the state’s solid waste program, said radioactive waste that exceeds the allowable level is supposed to be shipped to Colorado, where there’s an approved disposal facility.
“Supposed to” is the operative phrase:
Septka said he doesn’t know where the rejected loads are going and Radig said the state doesn’t have a manifest or tracking system to follow those truck loads.
Radig said the rejected materials included “oil field fluids like the salty water that comes up with oil and fracture treatment water….”
Some of the sand used in fracture treating oil wells also contains trace amounts of radiation, particularly the fracking sand from China made from aluminum oxide ore, he said.