DEQ Press Releases

Driscoll, Paul

DEQ Proposes to Amend Draft Rules to Regulate the Disposal of Technologically-Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) Waste

HELENA — Today, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality proposed significant amendments to draft rules intended to regulate the disposal of TENORM waste. The proposed amendments are in response to comments received on the Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Adoption, which was published by the Secretary of State on Aug. 23, 2019. The supplemental notice published for public review today details several significant changes to the proposed rules and provides an additional 30-day public comment period.


The proposed amendments include the following:

  • Lower the radionuclide concentration limit from 200 to 50 picocuries per gram (pCi/g) for the acceptance of TENORM waste at a TENORM waste management system.
  • Lower the gate screening exposure level from 200 to 100 microroentgen per hour (µR/hr), excluding background, for all incoming loads at a TENORM waste management system.
  • Require a TENORM waste management system to immediately stop accepting TENORM waste and notify DEQ within 24 hours if the total effective dose equivalent limit of 100 millirem/year is exceeded at the boundary.


The supplemental notice provides a complete explanation of the reasons behind the proposed amendments. It may be reviewed on DEQ’s website at: DEQ believes these are significant changes to the original proposal notice and is therefore re-opening the public comment period on the proposed rules for 30 days with respect only to the changes set forth in the supplemental notice. 


Public comments must be received by no later than 5 p.m. on March 2, 2020, to be guaranteed consideration. Comments may be submitted to:; mailed to Sandy Scherer, MT DEQ, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620; or faxed to 406-444-4386.


DEQ is continuing to review the comments and information submitted in response to its original notice, and anticipates other minor changes to the proposed rules at the time of adoption.  Timely comments previously submitted on the original notice, as well as comments received in response to the supplemental notice, will be addressed in the adoption notice for the proposed rules that will be published this spring.

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