NORM Training Shauna Landsberger MSPH Graham George, President EnvirokleanProduct Development Inc, (EPDI),Houston, Texas
Outline • NORM and TENORM in Oil Field • Texas State Regulations • Worker Safety Training • Training Health Risks of working with NORM • Obstacles of Working in the Oil and Gas Field • Continuing Education in the Oil Field
NORM and TENORM in the Oil Field • Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) or Technically Enhanced Natural Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM)
Geological Information Uranium and Thorium collect between layers of sandstones. Hydrocarbons collect in “traps” made by faults and shales. www.loyno.edu/lucec/images/saltdome.jpg
Geological Information • 238U and 232Th are naturally present in the Earth’s crust and mantle. • They are found in small amounts and are not significant components in most minerals • Geological Locations • Shales tend to absorb radionuclides and act as traps for hydrocarbons. • Deposits can be located at the boundaries of sandstone layers.
Geological Information • Decay products of 238U and 232Th are 226Ra (t1/2 = 1630 years) and 228Ra (t1/2 = 5.8 years), respectively • 238U and 232Th are insoluble and usually remain in place in the formation. • 226Ra and 228Ra are more soluble than their parents and are mobilized by liquid • Uranium, Thorium, and Radium “have an affinity for crude oil”
Oil and Gas Wells Arial distribution in the continuous United States producing oil and gas wells through 1994. (US Department of the Interior, 1999)
Oil and Gas Wells • Three phases of oil and gas wells will be discussed. • Drilling and Workover Operations • Production • Abandonment
How Norm Is Brought to the Surface • NORM is brought up to the surface by the transport of gas and oil products • Produced water • Drilling mud and sludge • Evaporation ponds and pits
Drilling and Workover Operations Drilling mud (a liquid used to lubricate the bit, bring cuttings to the surface, and hold back the formation) also come in contact with NORM and can be contaminated.
Sludge Formation of Radioactive Sludge in Production Equipment
Abandonment • Wells may be abandoned for a variety of reasons: • The well is lost due to catastrophic equipment failure. • Drilling complications do not allow the desired producing zones to be accessed. • The well is producing too much water. • It is no longer economically feasible to continue operations.
NORM Regulations • NORM is regulated by state organizations rather than federal organization • Texas has two organizations in charge of NORM regulations in Texas • Rail Road Commission (RRC) • Regulates disposal of oil and gas NORM • Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) • Regulates NORM contaminated substances such as soil and equipment. • Set regulations for storage, transportation and commercial distribution of the products from oil and gas drilling including produced water
Who Can Benefit from NORM Training • Employees working with NORM • Either with decontamination or maintenance of equipment in the oil and gas field • Employees of Oil and Gas Companies • Anyone from a field worker to an executive
Worker Safety Training • Job Site Safety • Emergency Preparedness • Personal Protective Equipment • Radiation Safety Officer (RSO)
Job Site Safety • Job site safety is an important concept to teach in the class and field • It is ultimately the responsibility of the RSO on site to make sure that company protocols and safety measures are taken into effect • It is also important for all employees to know the basic safety measures before starting work on a job site
Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) • Radiation Safety Officer is responsible for the day to day safety measures and on the job site training while in the field • They are in charge of a safety meeting each day on the job site before work can start • In charge of “frisking out” each employee as they leave the job site
Emergency Preparedness • Teaching emergency procedures of the company is important • During the class each person should know the basic emergency procedures that happen on job site • Once on the job site the emergency procedures will be reinforced and shown where the emergency equipment is such as shower, eye wash, phone numbers, map to nearest emergency room
Stressing the Importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) • All workers must wear PPE while on job site • This must be stressed during the class and everyday while in the field • PPE can include: • Gloves, fire retardant clothing, hard hat, safety glasses, steel toed boots, mask, self contained breathing apparatus, H2S monitor, TLD badge
Teaching Health Risks from NORM Exposure • It is important to stress the importance of health effects when working with NORM both to the worker and the general public • The radionuclides that pose the most risk in the oil and gas field are Ra-226, Ra-228, Rn-222 and Pb-210 • More detail on the specific side effects is reinforced
Teaching Health Risks from NORM Exposure • It is vital to stress that if all the safety measures and precautions talked about during the course reduce the risk of the health effects from working with NORM • The goal is for the employees to know there is risk involved in working with NORM but they have ways to reduce the risk • “Frisking Out” is also revisited during this part of the course
Obstacles of Training in Texas Oil and Gas Field • English may not be the first language of the participants in the class • There is a variety of educations levels • Which means teaching to all levels of education • It is critical to go over the basics of radiation including basic chemistry
Continuous Education • It is important that the workers are continuing to be reinforced with the key points they learned during the training • On the job site training is important and new jobs and situations come up • It is also important to keep up with any changing laws or regulations from state government agencies