Fracking’s Radioactive Garbage

Truthout ( recently published a long article about radioactive waste produced by fracking contaminating the soil and the water in North Dakota. The article ( is very much worth reading. Below are a few excerpts:

Larry Novak’s family has lived in western North Dakota since his great grandfather Anton Novak homesteaded in the region over one hundred years ago. . . .

In January of 2016, Novak found out that the “special” waste landfill — which is what the state of North Dakota calls landfills that are permitted to accept oil field waste — just six miles north of his ranch applied to receive a permit from the state to accept oil field waste that had higher levels of radioactivity. That landfill, known as the IHD waste disposal plant, sits in the middle of a miles-wide oxbow of the meandering Missouri River. A pile of dirt, 10 stories high, overlooks the wide-open spaces of the prairie, and underneath is waste from the oil fields.

“The landfill operator and the health agency tell us that this is as safe as having banana peels in the landfill. That it is just as safe as having granite counter tops in your house,” Novak said. “That insulted my intelligence.” . . .

However, Robert Moran, Ph.D., a hydrologist and geochemist who has examined the new North Dakota TENORM regulations for the Dakota Resources Council takes issue with this assessment. . . .


“People who live near the IHD landfill in western North Dakota gather in Bismarck to ask the North Dakota Health Council not to increase radiation limits for oil field waste in landfills. (Photo: Dakota Resource Council)”

When Truthout asked Moran what he thought of the radioactive oil waste being compared to banana peels and granite counter tops by the health department, he laughed.

“They are completely disregarding the form of radioactivity,” he said. “What kind of radioactivity are we talking about and what pathways are we talking about? How is it transmitted to humans? It is a simple-minded way of diverting the public.”

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