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Interpretation Response #13-0157 ([MHF Services] [Mr. William Dawson])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: MHF Services

Individual Name: Mr. William Dawson

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 19, 2013

Mr. William Dawson
MHF Services
4500 Brooktree Road, Suite 200
Wexford, PA 15090-9289

Ref. No. 13-0157

Dear Mr. Dawson:

This responds to your July 25, 2013 letter regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to the transportation of naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM).  In your letter, you indicate that drilling and extraction processes by the oil and gas exploration and development industry may generate NORM (and technically enhanced NORM).  Specifically, you ask if the exception for natural material and ores containing NORM in § 173.401(b)(4) applies to the waste material generated in this industrial process that contains Radium-226 and -228 in the form of a solidified sludge from a fracking water collection pit; or a filter cake from treatment and recycling of fracking water.

The answer is no.  The exception does not apply to the NORM-containing waste material generated from the industrial process you describe in your letter.  Moreover, the waste material you describe is no longer considered “natural material” because of the industrial processing.  The term “natural material” in § 173.401(b)(4) means material existing in a form as it would otherwise in nature, not in a form manipulated by human application.  The fracking water is not a natural material nor is the radionuclide-containing solidified sludge from the fracking water collection pit or the radionuclide-containing filter cake from treatment and recycling of the fracking water.  Thus, the exception in § 173.401(b)(4) does not apply and the waste material is subject to the HMR if the activity concentration of the radionuclides in the waste material and the total activity in the consignment exceed the values specified in § 173.436 or values derived according to the instructions in 
§ 173.433 of the HMR.  See the definition of radioactive material in § 173.403.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please contact this office.


Charles Betts
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.401 Scope