Radioactive material is found naturally in water, soils and rock. When this type of radioactive material is found in its original location and in its natural concentration distributions (including ore bodies) it is referred to as Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM). Many industrial processes use or come in contact with natural raw materials that contain NORM such as ore, water, soil, rock, oil and natural gas. When industrial processes separate or concentrate the NORM found in these raw materials and expel this radioactive material in their waste streams, the resulting concentrated NORM is referred to as Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM). The intent of this guidance document is to increase awareness regarding TENORM waste generation, as well as the regulatory and radiological complexities surrounding appropriate and protective TENORM waste management methods.
This document was originally posted December 18, 2017 but has since been updated as of February 15, 2018.
Between 2011 and 2012, the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials’ (ASTSWMO’s) Radiation Focus Group developed three reference documents on naturally-occurring, radioactive materials (NORM). The first, Incidental TENORM: A Guidance for State Solid Waste Managers (April 2011), provides information to inform solid waste managers about technologicallyenhanced, naturally-occurring, radioactive materials (TENORM), including an introduction to these materials, toxicity, waste generation, and disposal. This guidance document was followed up by the release of two fact sheets: TENORM Associated with Drinking Water Treatment (May 2011) and TENORM Associated with Shale Gas Operations (July 2012).
The ASTSWMO Radiation Focus Group developed this guidance to inform solid waste management and other officials about technologically-enhanced, naturally-occurring, radioactive materials (TENORM) concerns and management approaches. TENORM contamination is typically the result of process operations involving the extraction, purification, filtration, smelting, or pipeline transport of virtually any material of geological origin. The TENORM discussed in this guidance are not federally regulated and are incidentally concentrated from various industrial processes, such as coal mining and combustion, and water treatment. These materials have the potential to be transported to solid waste facilities or become legacy contaminants on CERCLA sites.