March 25, 2020: 2.5 Million Pounds of Radioactive Waste Illegally Dumped In Oregon Landfill

The Oregon Department of Energy issued a notice of violation  to Chemical Waste Management, a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., for accepting over 2 million pounds of radioactive materials east of the Columbia River Gorge.
According to ODOE, Chemical Waste Management had been illegally dumping radioactive materials that it had received from Goodnight Midstream, at its waste landfill near Arlington, Oregon.
Ken Niles, the ODOE’s Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety, stated “We received an inquiry from a citizen from North Dakota in September who was under the impression fracking waste from North Dakota was being disposed of in an Oregon landfill.”
Goodnight Midstream, a North Dakota based company, provides brine water supply and recycling services to the oil and gas industry for fracking operations. According to ODOE’s Nuclear Waste Remediation Specialist Jeff Burright, the liquid that CWM received had been in contact with underground rocks containing radium. Mr. Burright went on to say “Then they filtered that water so that they can reuse it, that radium was captured in what are known as filter socks, which are very long teabags if you will, and it accumulated there and what we’ve gathered is about 80% of the total waste consisted of these filter socks….The waste that was received at Chemical Waste Management Arlington had a range of concentrations over the time running from just a few picocuries per gram up to the maximum in about one and half tons total was around 1,700 picocuries per gram.”
Picocuries are a measurement of the radioactivity in a liter of air. Currently, Oregon has a threshold of five picocuries per gram of radium 226.
The Oregon Department of Energy has not issued any fines for the illegal dumping of radioactive waste. Officials said this doesn’t meet the criteria that would qualify for a fine. However, ODOE does expect a risk assessment to be submitted by the end of April.

2.5M Pounds Of Radioactive Waste Illegally Dumped In Oregon Landfill