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Environmental Science

NORM Waste Management

EVS supports sustainable approaches to manage and regulate petroleum industry wastes that contain elevated concentrations of NORM by evaluating the potential risks and costs associated with these wastes.

Oil and gas production and processing operations sometimes result in accumulation of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at elevated concentrations in byproduct waste streams. EVS assessed the potential human health risks associated with petroleum industry NORM, estimated the economic impacts associated with different management options, and developed and/or disseminated tools that will streamline oil and gas companies’ efforts to manage NORM-containing wastes. EVS completed radiological risk assessments on a variety of NORM management and disposal options, including underground injection into subsurface formations and salt caverns, landspreading, placement in nonhazardous landfills, and remelting of NORM-contaminated scrap equipment.

Environmental contamination associated with accidental releases of NORM or legacy production sites can require remediation. EVS demonstrated that potential cost savings can be realized by applying an adaptive sampling and analysis program (ASAP) approach to characterize and restore NORM-contaminated sites. The ASAP approach, developed by EVS researchers, integrates systematic planning, dynamic work plans, and real-time measurement to achieve more cost-effective waste site cleanup strategies. EVS successfully demonstrate ;this approach at a pipe storage facility in Michigan.