Everyday, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is produced and is a hazard for the oilfield industry. The oilfield industry releases NORM from the sub-surface to the surface during the production processes that produces water, oil and gas. Most often NORM is found in production tubing, piping, and equipment, such as tanks or heater treaters that can build up scale or store fluids. Leakage or a simple work-over can get this on the ground or on a workers clothing. If the NORM solid is inhaled or enters a human body orally, it can cause the worst type of cancer.
There are multiple ways to handle NORM waste efficiently, safely, environmentally, and cost efficiently. Handling of NORM begins during the remediation of a well or site equipment, then the waste should be minimized and securely contained and, lastly, responsibly disposed. Removal of the scale or sludge from pipe may be done using either a "Pipe cleaning Machine" or inside a "decontamination booth". Each uses high pressure water blasting for removal of NORM and collecting the sub sequential waste in different catch systems. Waste collected may be minimized by separating out the wash water then chemically and mechanically fluidizing the NORM using a "No Moving Parts Grinder", "Sand Wash Unit", or a Gasification unit. Minimized or non-minimized wastes have multiple disposal options including land-farm (dilution), down-hole disposal, and encapsulation in an impermeable cell. A recent technology referred to as gasification minimizes, disposes, and produces energy in the same system. Disposal methods vary in safety and distance from public. Further, remediation, minimization, and disposal options drastically vary in cost efficiency and long term safety.