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Interpretation Response #14-0159 ([Anadarko Petroleum Corporation] [Mr. Rick Hall, CEP])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Individual Name: Mr. Rick Hall, CEP

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 20, 2015

Mr. Rick Hall, CEP
Sr. EHS Representative
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
33 West Third St., Suite 300
Williamsport, PA 17701

Reference No. 14-0159

Dear Mr. Hall:

This is in response to your August 21, 2014 email and subsequent conversation regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to the transportation of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM). In your email you indicate that drilling and extraction processes by the oil and gas exploration and development industry may generate TENORM. Specifically, you ask if TENORM qualifies for exception under§ 173.401(b)(4) in light of changes made to the section in a final rule issued under Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0063 (HM-250; 79 FR 40589).

The answer to your question is no. You noted that PHMSA has issued an interpretation (Ref. No. 13-0157) that states that we do not consider the referenced wastes to be natural since they were subject to industrial processing. You further noted that the HM-250 rulemaking amended § 173.401(b)(4) to include an exception for "natural material and ores containing naturally occurring radionuclides which...have only been processed for purposes other than for extraction of the radionuclides."

The modification of § 173.401(b)(4) in HM-250 does not change the answer given in interpretation 13-0157. 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 that may contain the TENORM 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 satisfies your request.



Shane C. Kelley
Acting International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.401 Scope