NORM stands for naturally occurring radioactive material. These substances are present without the interference of people at levels that do not always require intervention, but certain industries and human actions can increase the concentration to intolerable levels. To determine whether or not your business has NORM levels that are unsafe for human contact, NORM surveying may be necessary.
Although NORM is present in a variety of industries, it is particularly so in oil and gas operations. Once NORM is brought to the earth’s surface, it has the potential to contaminate any equipment that it comes into contact with and the surrounding environment. Workers are then at risk of intolerable exposure.
NORM falls into a narrow category of waste that is not federally regulated. Despite its definition as radioactive, NORM is not regulated entirely by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission either; it falls under one of the Atomic Energy Act’s exclusions. Thus, states are the main regulatory body for NORM waste.
Because individual states get to determine NORM laws, it is vital to employ an experienced waste management company, preferably one with a local presence that is informed on relevant laws. States decide everything from how NORM is defined to how it is decontaminated and disposed of.
NORM surveying is the process of evaluating a site for the presence of NORM. If the source of the radiation is unknown, surveyors will conduct a sitewide investigation, which may include inspecting wellheads, tank storage areas, pipelines, and more.
If NORM is present in levels that require remediation, the next step is to develop a plan for decontaminating the site and possibly disposing of affected materials. The company doing the NORM surveying should comply with all relevant state regulations in their remediation plan.
For more information on NORM surveying or other waste management services, get in touch with a Clean Management representative today.