This presentation will address the Minerals Management Service (MMS), Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region's Letter to Lessees and Operators (LTL) concerning removal and disposal of produced well solids that contain naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), disposal options for NORM by offshore operators of Federal leases, and data gathered from NORM disposal applications.

Disposal of produced well solids containing NORM from operations on Federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico will continue to be a concern for operators and for the regulating Federal agencies. On December 11, 1991, the MMS's Gulf of Mexico OCS Region sent an LTL concerning removal and disposal of well solids that contain NORM. The LTL provides interim guidelines to monitor closely the disposal of well solids containing NORM and to assist in the collection of data to establish regulations necessary for NORM disposal. The LTL contains disposal criteria and requirements for applications, sampling, testing, and recordkeeping. An operator's disposal options may include encapsulating material in abandoned wells, injecting material into depleted reservoirs, and cleaning material for overboard disposal. Overboard disposal of produced well solids is limited to material that meets National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) standards and contains very low levels of NORM, i.e., dose equivalent rates of less than 25 microroentgens per hour above background levels.

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