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Oil industry backs new filter sock rules

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s oil industry is backing new rules intended to crack down on the illegal dumping of radioactive oil filter socks, the tubular nets that strain liquids during the oil production process.

“Our members have committed to protecting our resources,” said Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, which represents more than 500 companies working in the state’s oil patch. “The industry wants to see an end to illegal dumping, too.”

Beginning June 1, drillers will be required to dispose of filter socks in covered, leak-proof containers on site, according to the state Department of Mineral Resources. The containers must then be collected by a licensed waste hauler and disposed of at an authorized facility out of state.

Filter socks can become contaminated with naturally occurring radiation and are banned for disposal in North Dakota. Oil companies are supposed to haul them to approved waste facilities in other states, such as Montana, Colorado and Idaho, which allow a higher level of radioactivity in their landfills.

The new permit requirements will affect all wells drilled after June 1 and about 1,500 wells that have not been drilled but already have a permit.

Failure to follow the new rules may result in fines of up to $12,500 a day, said Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Mineral Resources.

The size and construction of the disposal containers are not specified, under the new requirement. The state delayed the rules until June 1 to give companies time to get disposal containers on site, Ritter said.

“They don’t have to be any particular size but they must be leak-proof, covered and protected from the elements,” she said.

Cutting said she did not know what the additional measures would add to the expense of oil drilling.

“There will be some additional cost, but I’m not sure of the magnitude,” she said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

One comment

  1. I have worked as a hazardous materials specialist or inspector for more than 15 years in another state.

    My experience has shed a lot of light on situations such as these, and recommend the following in addition to just containing the hazardous materials on site.

    – the containers will need to be marked Hazardous Waste
    -the accumulation start date should be written on the label
    physical state should be marked, ie. solid or liquid
    hazardous properties should be marked, ie. toxic, reactive, corrosive, ignitable, radioactive, etc.
    waste must not exceed accumulation time allowed on site.
    the feds make a standard label
    the label must meet all requirements and should state do not remove under penalty of law.

    the waste volume or weight should be noted on a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, an 8 part form, parts go to TSDF, state, generator, regulatory agency, etc.

    Without fully complying with these requirements there will continue to be problems. Hazardous waste must be tracked from beginning to end-cradle to grave.

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