NORM AND H2S
SURVEYING IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES
Service companies commonly work on equipment that comes in from the oilfield at their own shops, yards and facilities. This is standard practice for service companies who build and maintain pumps, sucker rods, tubing, vessels, valves, and other field equipment. However, when equipment is NORM-contaminated and tear-down/build-up activities occur, two concerns arise: 1) storing NORM waste for other persons, and 2) performing unauthorized decontamination. Storing waste for other persons or companies typically requires a fixed facility authorization under a specific license, depending on state-specific regulations. Even though the equipment may belong to the service company, the operator produced the waste that is NORM-contaminated. The best management practice for service companies is to enforce strict acceptable procedures for equipment, not allowing any NORM-contaminated field equipment into the service company’s facility. This is easily done with scintillation surveys for detecting gamma radiation, however detecting alpha and beta particles may be more difficult, especially when the equipment must be intricately dismantled. Surveys should always be performed prior to and after the opening of equipment. If possible and practical, surveying equipment in the field is the best option, while it will save the operator/producer transportation costs to the service company’s facility should the equipment be classified as NORM-contaminated.