DEQ Press Releases

Driscoll, Paul

Proposed rules released for disposal of “Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material”

HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is proposing new regulations for management of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, or “TENORM.” The proposed new administrative rules were released today, launching a 60-day public comment period. Public hearings on the proposed rules are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Glendive, and Thursday, Oct. 10, in Helena (see hearing details below).


TENORM is created when materials that are naturally radioactive at low levels, including some soils and rocks, are concentrated as a result of human activities. Industrial processes such as manufacturing, water processing, and oil and gas production can generate TENORM waste.


TENORM is not waste from the nuclear energy, weaponry or medical industries. It is not federally regulated, and Montana is among a number of states developing waste management regulations for safe storage, transport, and disposal of TENORM. The new TENORM rules proposed by DEQ include provisions for waste facility design and construction, operations and monitoring, spill reporting, financial assurance, and closure and post-closure care.


DEQ first published proposed TENORM waste management rules on Aug. 18, 2017, holding a 60-day public comment period and two public hearings, followed by a 30-day extension of the public comment period through Nov. 17, 2017. Based on substantive input from stakeholders and the general public, DEQ decided to rewrite the proposed rules. The agency established a TENORM workgroup consisting of non-governmental organizations, industry representatives, local government officials, scientists, and citizens. DEQ also sought input from the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, whose board of directors consists of representatives from the oil and gas industry, regulatory agencies, and the environmental advocacy community.


The proposed rules are available for review at:


Comments may be submitted orally or in writing at the hearing. Comments also may be submitted in writing 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 emailed to, no later than 5 p.m., October 21, 2019. To be guaranteed consideration, mailed comments must be postmarked on or before that date.


Public Hearings on DEQ proposed rules for disposal of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material


Glendive: Tuesday, Sept. 24, Glendive City Hall Multipurpose Room, 300 S. Merrill Ave, Glendive, MT. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with DEQ officials and ask questions starting at 6 p.m. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m.


Helena: Thursday, Oct. 10, Montana Department of Environmental Quality Metcalf Building, Room 111, 1520 E. 6th Ave, Helena, MT. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with DEQ officials and ask questions starting at 9 a.m. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m.


DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in the public hearings. If you require an accommodation, please contact Mary Murray at 406-444-6762 or at least three days before the hearing.

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