The NORM Lady™ is dedicated to supporting industry public commenting on NORM/TENORM rule promulgation and/or rule changes. Instructions on how to submit your own comments to the ND DOH is in the bottom of this e-mail. Both drafts are attached as pdf files. To connect to the ND DOH website directly, click on this link

Below are our comments regarding the draft rule North Dakota Department of Health NDAC Chapter 33-10-23 and Chapter 33-20-10. Commentaries provided below represent the oil and gas industry operators, facilities, contractors and specific licensees that perform decontamination activities within the oil and gas industry. Analysis is provided for both chapters.



Chapter 33-10-23 mirrors the structure of the CRCPD Part N, with the definitions and general rule organization. The draft also follows closely with Louisiana, Arkansas, and Ohio regulations.

33-10-23-03 Definitions.

1. No definition for “decontamination” is provided, which is common in state NORM/TENORM regulations. The differentiation between decontamination and routine maintenance is not discussed until 33-10-23-10 General Licenses. References to decontamination are listed in 33-10-23-07 Unrestricted Use and Conditional Release. Defining “decontamination” would be useful in the front of the document, which dictates the need for specific licensure in the beginning.

2. No definition for “unrestricted use” is provided, which is also common in state NORM/TENORM regulations. Section 33-10-23-07 Unrestricted Use and conditional release addresses both designations, however why is only “conditional release” defined in 33-10-23-03 Definitions? Both terms warrant a definition, as most of the industry are not aware of the characteristics of both categories.

33-10-23-04 Exemptions.

1. The waste exemption limit listed for TENORM is 5 pCi/g of Ra226 and Ra228 combined, excluding background. This limit is common, and has been identified as a conservative limit, as Industrial Landfills will be able to be permitted to accept up to 50 pCi/g. This structure is similiar to Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality NOW designation. The 5 pCi/g exemption limit will trigger reporting, decontamination, licensing and other management requirements. Refer to the Chapter 33-20-10 comments farther in this e-mail.

2. It is in the industry’s best interest to request an exemption for “natural gas and natural gas products and crude oil and crude oil products”, similiar to the exemptions adopted by the Texas Department of State Health Services 25 TAC 289.259 rules. The sellable product would be exempt from the TENORM rules, and scales, soils, sludges and wastes would be exempt if below 5 pCi/g.

3. It is in the industry’s best interest to request an exemption for “produced water”, similiar to the exemptions adopted by the Texas Department of State Health Services 25 TAC 289.259 rules. Produced water is considered exempt, on the condition that the water is disposed of in properly permitted wells, facilities, and other agency approved disposal methods.

33-10-23-07 Unrestricted use and conditional release.

1. This section lists notification requirements to the department of intent to vacate no less than thirty (30) days before vacating or relinquishing possession or control of premises that have been contaminated with TENORM as a result of the licensee’s activities. Will the department use a notification form or a company letterhead? A standardized form should be issued by the department. How will the department track all these requests? Increased staffing may be necessary.

2. Each licensee must have equipment and property decontaminated prior to vacating the premises. The department must verify and accept decontamination surveys after property and equipment has been decontaminated. Will the department use a notification form? A standardized form should be issued by the department.

How will the department track all these surveys? Increased staffing may be necessary. How will this process work until there is an appropriate number of decontamination companies licensed in North Dakota? Unless an influx of license approvals is issued by the department, managing demand could be overwhelming.

3. General licensees are responsible for notifying the department prior to all site reclamation. How far in advance are the notifications required to be provided? A time designation should be stated.

4. Decontamination activities require a specific license, however no definition for “decontamination” has been provided.

5. The gamma exposure limit is listed as 50 µR/hr, including background radiation, which is common amongst states. Including background means that background is not added or subtracted to the survey reading, as it is already included in the meter’s reading.

33-10-23-08 Disposal and transfer of waste for disposal.

1. The quarterly inspections, labeling, and record retention for the management of containers, is consistent with the regulations in Louisiana. All records listed in the draft rule are retained for five (5) years, with the exception of transfer records. Transfer records will be retained for ten (10) years.

2. TENORM shipments shall be accompanied with a manifest. This manifest should be a state-issued manifest, with individual shipment numbers with carbon copies. The shipment and transportation requirements parallel Louisiana and Arkansas’s requirements, which possess state-issued manifests.

3. ALL TRANSFERS must be reported to the department! This is a key issue, as a transfer is defined as “the physical relocation of TENORM within a business’ operation or between general or specific licensees.” Moving equipment from one (1) location to another that is TENORM-contaminated will require notification to the department! This will be a significant administrative issue for industry! This will apply to all contaminated pipe, pumps, vessels, filters, scrap metal, wastes, soils, etc, any time any contaminated equipment or material is moved!

Commercial distribution and change in legal title to TENORM that does not involve physical movement of those materials will not warrant notification.

33-10-23-09 Prohibitions.

1. “Purposeful dilution to render TENORM exempt shall not be performed with prior department approval.”

This statement is overbroad and ambiguous. Its breath of scope encompasses any incidental activity, such as salt water injection, fracking, mudding, even a water main break. Dilution should be better defined as to what constitutes dilution. Agency approval also needs to be described or defined. Almost every decontamination method will create dilution, if using water or chemicals. Is a specific license considered agency approval? Will the agency need to approve individual decontamination activities that involve dilution? Interpretation on what is considered agency approval could cause an additional hardship on the agency in granting approvals.

33-10-23-10 General Licenses.

1. Within sixty (60) days, all persons subject to the general license must notify the department. This registration process is consistent with Louisiana, Ohio, and Arkansas. A standardized form should be used.

2. Can a general licensee store TENORM for other general licensees? A prohibition should address this issue as storing for other persons’ is typically a specific licensee activity.

3. The transfer of control or ownership of land contaminated with TENORM must be noted in the deed, however the section 33-10-23-07 Unrestricted use and conditional release requires decontamination prior to vacating or transferring premises. The property should be decontaminated prior to vacating or transfers, deeming the deed stipulation immaterial.

33-10-23-17 Conditions of specific licenses.

1. Specific licenses are transferrable!!! This is very rare and decontamination companies will appreciate this permission.

2. All transfers will be reported to the department. Annual summaries will be required. Reporting is required even if none have been performed. Tracking is “cradle to grave”.

33-10-23-25 Financial assurance arrangements.

1. Each licensee or applicant for specific licensure shall post with the department financial assurance within ninety (90) days of the effective date of the rule. This is rare to request for specific licensees that only work at temporary jobsites. This infers that decontamination companies will have the ability to decontaminate at their facilities, typically referred to as a fixed facility. Will a difference in licensing fee distinguish between temporary jobsite authority and a fixed facility?



33-20-11-01 Radioactive waste disposal.

1. Industrial landfills will be able to accept TENORM waste up to 50 pCi/g of Ra226 and Ra228 combined. This is TENORM waste limit is higher than is typically written in regulations. Participating landfills will be limited to twenty-five thousand (25,000) tons per year or three-thousand (3,000) tons per month without department approval. Municipal and inert landfills are prohibited from participating in the 50 pCi/g limit, and must adhere to 5 pCi/g.

2. Equipment contaminated with TENORM may be disposed in a participating landfill, up to the gamma exposure of 100 µR/hr, including background radiation. (Scrap yards are restricted to 50 µR/hr).

33-20-11-02 Prohibitions.

1. Should material exceed the 50 pCi/g, participating landfills shall notify the department of the source, amount, generator, and other identifying information for the material. Generators should be prudent with properly characterizing waste to avoid notifications regarding their denied waste loads.



Oral or written comments can be submitted to:

Scott Radig, Director
Environmental Health Section
North Dakota Department of Health
918 East Divide Ave
Bismarck, ND 58501

Phone: 701-328-5150 Ofc


January 20, 2015
5:30 PM – Informational Session
7:00 PM – Official Comment Hearing
Williston Area Recreation Center
822 18th Street East
Williston, ND 58801

January 21, 2015
5:30 PM – Informational Session
7:00 PM – Official Comment Hearing
Environmental Training Center
2639 East Main Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501-5044

January 22, 2015
5:30 PM – Informational Session
7:00 PM – Official Comment Hearing
Fargo Public Safety Building
4630 15th Avenue North
Fargo, ND 58102

The ND DOH electronic public notice e-mail dated December 12, 2014 lists the public comment period ending on Saturday, January 31st, whereas the later December 15, 2014 public notice letter from Scott Radig lists the public comment period ending on Friday, February 6, 2015. Either way, submit those comments!