Earth Watch Report – Hazmat
|February 22 2014 06:10 PM||HAZMAT||USA||State of North Dakota, Watford City|
|Federal and state health officials are investigating leaking trailers loaded with thousands of pounds of potentially radioactive filter socks and debris parked on rural property southwest of Watford City. A special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigations unit is assigned to the case and a radiation control team from the state Health Department was on scene Friday. Brad Torgerson, with the state Health Department’s waste management division, said the team determined that radiation levels “do not appear to present any public health hazards.” He said the company, RP Services, of Riverton, Wyo., was told to put the waste in proper containers and submit a plan for cleanup. A formal enforcement action is possible, Torgerson said. EPA special agent Dan O’Malley contacted state health officials about the waste; when contacted by the Tribune, O’Malley said he could not confirm his agency’s investigation. The RP Services trailers are parked on property owned by Russ and Mary Williams, whose separate company was involved in an illegal filter sock disposal that led to a $27,000 fine at the McKenzie County landfill operation last summer.
The filter socks are a notorious source of radioactive material because they concentrate naturally occurring radiation from geology down the well hole. The Health Department says the filters should not be landfilled anywhere in North Dakota and instead, should be handled by certified companies for disposal at hazardous waste sites in other states. The trailers loaded with the leaking material and filter socks were reported Thursday to McKenzie County landfill director Rick Schreiber. Schreiber has adopted a tough policy and his is the first landfill in the country to install radiation detection pedestals that monitor every load coming into the landfill. The Health Department is awaiting results of a study on radioactive oil field and other waste before deciding whether to raise its allowable limit of radiation and how disposal sites would be constructed. Because landfills won’t take the socks and levy fines when haulers are caught bringing them in, they sometimes end up in community Dumpsters around towns and roadside ditches. Jerry Samuelson, McKenzie County’s emergency manager, said the JP Services incident illustrates how oil development stretches local governments.
Riverton company’s trailers found leaking toxic material in N.D.
MCKENZIE COUNTY, N.D. — Federal and state health officials are investigating leaks from trailers loaded with thousands of pounds of potentially radioactive filter socks and debris parked on rural land in North Dakota.
The trailers are owned by a Wyoming company, RP Services. A North Dakota Health Department official said the Riverton company had been instructed to dispose of the waste in proper containers and submit a cleanup plan.
A special agent in the Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigations unit was assigned to the case, and on Friday, a radiation control team from the state Health Department showed up at the property, which is southwest of Watford City, N.D.
Brad Torgerson, of the state Health Department’s waste management division, said the team determined that radiation levels “do not appear to present any public health hazards.” Formal enforcement action is possible, Torgerson said.