10:01 AM CST on Sunday, November 11, 2007 By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of four stories on radioactive material generated by natural gas production in the Barnett Shale.
"In Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties, all kinds of equipment — from pipes and separators to frac and brine-hauling tanks — have been decontaminated in [just] the past two years.
Texas Railroad Commission rules allow the industry to self-monitor for NORM, and many operators are slow to decontaminate the radioactive residue because of its cost, industry insiders say. Furthermore, only two of nearly 200 operators registered with the commission in the Barnett Shale’s core counties — Key Energy Services and Devon Energy — have provided for such decontamination in the past two years."
"Statewide, 140 such sites were decontaminated from January 2005 to the present, according to documents obtained from the Department of State Health Services, which oversees decontamination of the state’s hottest radioactive waste."