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Filter sock probe continues; state to meet with company

By Lauren Donovan

The North Dakota Health Department plans to meet this week with the company responsible for piling potentially radioactive filter socks and oil debris on open trailers at a rural location near Watford City.

RP Services, headquartered in Riverton, Wyo., remains under investigation for improper storage, handling and transportation of the filter socks, and in the meantime, the department’s waste management division will meet to talk about the company’s plans for disposal, said spokesman Scott Radig.

The open trailers leaking filter socks and oily waste out of ripped plastic garbage bags were reported to McKenzie County on Feb. 20, which spurred the state to send a radiation control team to the site and an order to properly contain the waste pending an approved disposal plan.

The socks are banned for disposal in North Dakota because they are notorious for concentrating naturally occurring radiation higher than 5 picocuries and companies that use them in oil field operations are supposed to haul them to approved waste facilities, all out of state.

Radig said his department has not yet determined who owned the oil wells where RP Services used the filters as part of its hydraulic fracture flowback and production services. He said that’s part of the ongoing investigation, since liability begins with the well owner.

The investigation could result in notices of violations and enforcement action against the responsible parties.

Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or lauren@westriv.com.

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