Oil Gas Radioactive Waste Lawsuits. Radioactive materials resulting from oil and gas extraction pose a significant, yet little known, health and environmental threat. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the geologic formations that contain oil and gas deposits also contain NORM Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials, including uranium, thorium and radium. Radioactive materials from oil and gas production are generally found in the mineral scales that form inside gas and oil pipes, as well as byproducts of the extraction process like sludge and produced waters. Contaminated equipment may also pose a radiation hazard. The problem of oil and gas radioactive materials is now recognized as a significant environmental hazard in the U.S. and overseas.
Our law firm represents people who have suffered personal injury and property damages resulting from all manner of radioactive materials, including those that are a byproduct of oil and gas extraction. Victims of oil and gas radioactive materials may be eligible to receive compensation for their injuries. To discuss how we can help you, were urge you to contact us today for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case.
Sources of Oil and Gas Radioactive Materials
According to the EPA, an estimated 30 percent of domestic oil and gas wells produce some radioactive materials. Sources of oil and gas radioactive materials include:
- • Produced Waters – According to the American Petroleum Institute, more than 18 billion barrels of waste fluids from oil and gas production are generated annually in the United States. Produced water is usually returned to the environment and could permeate through the water table. If such water is contaminated with radioactive substances, it could create a serious threat to water supplies.
- • Scale – Scales are normally found on the inside of piping and tubing, and are composed primarily of insoluble barium, calcium, and strontium compounds, as well as radium. According to the EPA, the largest concentrations of scales are found in water lines associated with separators, heater treaters and gas dehydrators.
- • Sludge – According to the EPA, sludge is composed of dissolved solids which precipitate from produced water as its temperature and pressure change. Although the concentration of radiation is lower in sludges than in scales, sludges are more soluble and therefore more readily released to the environment.
- • Contaminated Equipment – According to the EPA, in an industry wide survey, approximately 64 percent of gas producing equipment and 57 percent of oil production equipment showed radioactivity at or near background levels. The highest levels were found in water handling equipment. Gas processing equipment with the highest levels includes the reflux pumps, propane pumps and tanks, other pumps, and product lines.
Risks from Exposure to Oil and Gas Radioactive Materials
In the past, little was known about the radioactive materials that result from oil and gas extraction, and the risks were not well recognized. As a result, the EPA says disposal of radioactive materials may have resulted in environmental contamination in and around production and disposal facilities, as well as ground and surface water.
Those most at risk include disposal workers and people living and working in close proximity to oil and gas radioactive materials. Disposal workers may suffer direct exposure to gamma radiation and radioactive dust inhalation. In addition, they may inhale radon gas, raising their risk of lung cancer. People living and working within 100 meters of a disposal site face risks similar to disposal workers.
Even people living and working up to 50 miles away from a site face exposure risks if radioactive materials are transported downwind, or when drinking water sources are contaminated because of runoff. People living or working on a site unknowingly built on a radioactive waste pile also face the threat of radiation exposure.
Legal Help for Victims of Oil Gas Radioactive Waste
If you or a loved one sustained a radiation related illness as a result of exposure to oil and gas radioactive materials, you may have valuable legal rights. Please contact us today for a free evaluation of your case by filling out our online form, or calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).