Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory

NORM Waste Management

EVS has been supporting sustainable approaches to the management and regulation of petroleum industry wastes containing elevated concentrations of NORM by evaluating the potential risks and costs associated with these wastes.

Oil and gas production and processing operations sometimes result in accumulation of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at elevated concentrations in by-product waste streams. EVS has assessed the potential human health risks associated with petroleum industry NORM, estimated the economic impacts associated with different management options, and developed and/or disseminated tools that will streamline oil and gas companies’ efforts to manage NORM-containing wastes. EVS has completed radiological risk assessments on a variety of NORM management and disposal options, including underground injection into subsurface formations and salt caverns, landspreading, placement in nonhazardous landfills, and remelting of NORM-contaminated scrap equipment.

Environmental contamination associated with accidental releases of NORM or legacy production sites can require remediation. EVS has demonstrated that potential cost savings can be realized by applying an Adaptive Sampling and Analysis Program (ASAP) approach to characterization and restoration of NORM-contaminated sites. The ASAP approach, developed by EVS researchers, integrates systematic planning, dynamic work plans, and real-time measurement technologies to achieve more cost-effective waste site cleanup strategies. EVS conducted a successful demonstration of this approach at a pipe storage facility in Michigan.

The results of Argonne’s work on NORM issues are documented in numerous publications:

Related Research Areas

See the Research Highlights Index for a complete list of EVS research highlights.