Williams Co. considers allowing radioactive oilfield waste

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FILE – In this April 24, 2015 file photo, pumpjacks work in a field in the Permian Basin near Lovington, N.M. Environmentalists say U.S. land managers violated environmental laws and their own regulations when issuing dozens of leases to drill in one of the nation’s busiest oilfields. WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit Monday, June 3, 2019 in U.S. District Court, claiming the oil boom in southeastern New Mexico is a threat to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the surrounding area’s cave systems and desert slopes.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — The Williams County Commission will soon decide whether to allow a landfill near Williston to accept radioactive oilfield waste.

Secure Energy Services needs approval from the county and the state in order to accept the waste at its 13-Mile Landfill. The waste is generated when materials like soil, water and rocks, with low levels of radiation that occur naturally, are brought above ground during oil production and concentrated in well pipes.

The company’s request has prompted questions and safety concerns from some county residents. Secure Energy says the landfill would operate safety within “stringent” regulations.

If the commission grants permission at its meeting Tuesday, the landfill would also need a radioactive materials license and a solid waste permit from the state.

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