News & Features

Montana Considers Changing Oil Field Waste Disposal Rules

Currently rules are addressed on a case-by-case basis when landfills are licensed

BILLINGS — Montana is considering setting statewide regulations covering the disposal of radioactive oilfield waste.

Currently rules are addressed on a case-by-case basis when landfills are licensed.

The Billings Gazette reports the proposal by the Department of Environmental Quality would apply to naturally occurring radioactive material.

The radioactive material is released during fracking for oil and gas. It accumulates in filters used to strain liquids during oil production or in sludge.

The proposed rules would increase the amount of radiation allowed per load brought to a landfill. They’re meant to discourage illegal dumping, which has happened in Montana and North Dakota.

The Northern Plains Resource Council questions why the state would increase the amount of radiation allowed when most of the waste is coming from North Dakota.