Louisiana Sinkhole: Radioactive waste in cavern may have exceeded radiation limits — Up to 20 cubic feet pumped inside

Published: August 11th, 2012 at 10:05 pm ET
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Title: Dome issues kept quiet
Source: The Advocate
Date: Aug 11, 2012

DNR records show that on Aug. 31, 1995, the agency authorized Texas Brine to dispose of 20 cubic feet of naturally occurring radioactive material by pumping it into the cavern and another Texas Brine salt cavern in Lafourche Parish.

A Texas Brine letter dated Aug. 25, 1995, requesting the disposal says the radioactive “scale” had accumulated in soils around the two cavern wells.

The radioactivity of scale, a common byproduct of oil and gas exploration and production, can vary widely from background levels to much higher, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says.

DEQ officials said Wednesday NORM materials can be harmful if ingested and confirmed they had not been testing the sinkhole for radioactivity.

Title: Fund created to help Assumption’s evacuees
Source: The Advocate
Date: Aug 11, 2012

Prior testing last week showed no risk from naturally occurring radioactive material dumped in 1995 in the possibly failed brine cavern, DEQ officials have said.

The so-called NORM came to light in news accounts Thursday based on DNR records.

Texas Brine officials said on Friday that the NORM, which had a radioactivity below current standards but matched or was higher than the standards at the time, was likely entombed at the bottom of the cavern under layers of salt after it was dumped. Brine production continued for several years afterward.

[...]

Also, on Friday, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard sent a letter to Assumption Parish Police Jury President Martin “Marty” Triche about potential exposure risks to the public.

The letter, state officials said, says that to date, “it does not appear that chemical exposure of site-related contaminants poses a public health risk to individuals in the immediate area of Bayou Corne for the time period and chemicals sampled.”

Published: August 11th, 2012 at 10:05 pm ET
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