DEQ: No detectable levels of radioactive material in sink hole

DEQ: No detectable levels of radioactive material in sink hole by WAFB, August 09, 2012
Scientists took samples from the giant sink hole in Assumption Parish Thursday to test them for naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said because the slurry in Bayou Corne is near areas used for oil and gas exploration in the past, the presence of low levels of NORM is possible. However, initial test results say there were no detectable levels for NORM. Scientists used handheld monitoring devices to detect any real-time levels of NORM. NORM is present in the earth’s crust and reaches the surface through activities like oil and gas exploration or mining. It can also reach the surface through natural processes. DEQ scientists went to the slurry hole Thursday in an airboat supplied by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to take readings using equipment designed to measure levels of radiation. A scientist surveyed the entire slurry hole via airboat while monitoring with the equipment. At no point were there any detectable levels. NORM readings were taken on the 15 water samples that were collected Wednesday and there were no levels above background. … “Based on the first round of data, we are confident that the potential exposure of citizens to NORM is not a problem in this matter. We will continue to provide data based on air and water sampling to Assumption Parish and DNR.”

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