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Comments invited on radioactive materials license

The Billings County Pioneer of Medora, North Dakota

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A deadline is approaching for comments regarding a proposed state license for a facility that would process radioactive waste at 1488 Hwy 85 SW, in the Fairfield area of Billings County.

Requesting the license for the Marx Waste Treating Plant is R360 Williston Basin L.L.C. of Woodlands, Texas. R360 is also requesting a license for a facility called the PDI Treating Plant, 102 C10 52nd St. NW, Tioga. Both licenses have a Nov. 11 public comment deadline.

The R360 treating plants process exploration and production waste from the oil and gas industry, which often contain naturally occurring radioactive material. The company separates the waste into produced water, solids and crude oil, according to the N.D. Department of Health's Division of Air Quality.

Brooke Olson of the Division of Air Quality said there already are multiple similar facilities in the state.

She said oil recovered at such facilities is sold, while solids can be disposed of at approved landfills in

North Dakota, if the radiation levels are within state rules. At this time, there are no landfills in North Dakota that can accept materials with a radioactivity level higher than 50 picocuries/gram. The State Health Council in August adopted rules that increased the acceptable level from 5 to 50 picocuries/gram.

Produced water from the process would likely be disposed off in saltwater disposal wells.

A public hearing regarding the proposed licenses would be held if the Department of Health determines there is a significant amount of public interest. The preliminary evaluation by the department is that the facilities would comply with all applicable state rules.

The draft licenses and applications are available for review at the Department of Health's website.

A public hearing regarding the proposed licenses would be held if the Department of Health determines there is a significant amount of public interest.



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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015



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