DEQ Press Releases

Ogden, Karen

Public comment period open for Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material waste management rules

HELENA –The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has released the proposed rules for Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material waste management. These rules will provide clarity, regulatory consistency and the necessary framework to protect human health and the environment.

Montana’s proposed TENORM waste management rules include provisions for facility design and construction, operations and monitoring, spill reporting, financial assurance and closure and post-closure care.

"The proposed rules dove-tail nicely with the existing regulatory structure for solid waste management systems," said Ed Thamke, Waste and Underground Tank Management bureau chief. "The rule making process will formalize criteria already in place and allow input from the public and stakeholders."

DEQ will hold an informational public meeting on September 7, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Room 111 of the Metcalf Building, 1520 East Sixth Avenue in Helena to discuss and answer questions on the proposed rules, followed by a formal public hearing at 10:30 a.m. to accept public comment.

Another informational public meeting will be held on September 20, 2017, at 5:30 p.m., at the MonDak Heritage Center, 120 3rd Ave. SE in Sidney to discuss and answer questions on the proposed rules, followed by a formal public hearing at 7:00 p.m. to accept public comment.

"DEQ looks forward to the public hearings where we will have the chance to meet with people, answer questions and listen to and accept comments on the proposed rules," said Thamke.

DEQ anticipates the rules will be finalized November 2017.

Concerned persons may submit their comments, either orally or in writing, at the hearing. Comments, including written data, views or arguments may also be submitted to Sandy Scherer, Legal Secretary, Department of Environmental Quality, 1520 E. Sixth Avenue, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, Montana 59620-0901; faxed to 406-444-4386; or e-mailed to sscherer@mt.gov, no later than 5:00 p.m., October 18, 2017. To be guaranteed consideration, mailed comments must be postmarked on or before that date.

To view the proposed rules visit DEQ's website at: http://deq.mt.gov/DEQAdmin/dir/legal/hearing.For more information on TENORM, visit: http://deq.mt.gov/Land/solidwaste, or contact the DEQ Solid Waste Program at 406-444-5300 or DEQWUTMBRules@mt.gov.


NORM stands for “naturally occurring radioactive material”—in other words, a substance that naturally contains one or more radioactive isotopes, also called radionuclides. NORM occurs at low levels in soils and rocks and is present in common household items, including bananas, Brazil nuts, cat litter, coffee, granite countertops and phosphate fertilizer. TENORM is NORM that has been concentrated or exposed to the environment as a result of human activities, such as manufacturing, mineral extraction or water processing. TENORM is not nuclear waste.

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