NORM doesn’t sound like a big thing. But Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material might let the alarm bells ring. Everyone has heard of “radioactive material” and that sounds dangerous. However, most of this material is trapped deep in the ground beneath our feet. From there it reaches the surface, for example via the water cycle. Another possible pathway for NORM to reach the light of day is together with the so-called drilling mud during the drilling for energy commodities such as oil and gas. The good news: The low-level radioactive substances are not comparable with man-made nuclear waste. But to be able to completely rule out a harmful effect from NORM sludge it must be disposed of safely. Legally, this is only possible if the waste is free from other compounds such as water, oil or mercury. At this point econ’s VacuDry® technology can help clean the waste and also reduce its volume for disposal.
If heavy drilling equipment penetrates such layers in search of oil and natural gas, these radioactive substances come to the surface as part of the drilling mud. It is increasingly difficult to find safe and sustainable disposal options. Due to environmental and health considerations, NORM Waste, which is impacted by water, drilling oil and other contaminants such as mercury cannot easily be disposed of without prior treatment.
This is where econ’s VacuDry® technology can provide a solution. The vacuum distillation process separates all liquid and volatile components such as water, hydrocarbons or mercury effectively from the radioactive waste. The nuclides themselves or the intensity of the radiation is not affected through the process but the volume of the polluted material is significantly reduced. The dry and clean NORM waste is stabilized with cement to prevent the material from leaching and is disposed of safely.
VacuDry® is not only a great help in current drilling projects in the oil and gas industry. It can also be utilized to treat previously deposited drilling muds in order to eliminate the risk to human health and the environment from the contained naturally occurring radioactive material.
Exhibitor: econ industries services GmbH