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Maddow: North Dakota Littered With Radioactive Waste

Radioactive leftovers from oil extraction are left in an abandoned gas station.

Wow, remind me not to visit North Dakota anytime soon. They may be havng a terrific boom right now, but what good is money if you're dead?

ThinkProgress:

A heaping mound of black trash bags stuffed with radioactive nets that strain liquids during the oil production process — commonly known as “oil filter socks” — has been found in an abandoned North Dakota gas station, state officials confirmed Wednesday, in what may be the biggest instance of illegal oil socks dumping the state has ever seen.

Police last week discovered the illegally dumped oil socks piled throughout the old gas station building and attached mechanic garage in the small town of Noonan, state Waste Management Director Scott Radig told ThinkProgress. The bags were covered in a layer of dust, Radig said, meaning they had probably been sitting in the building for some time.

The 4,000-square-foot building is owned by a felony fugitive named Ken Ward, who Radig said likely did independent work for the state’s booming oil and gas industry.

“I suspect that [Ward] was doing contract work for some oil company and he told them he would — I’m sure for a price — take these and properly dispose of them,” Radig speculated. “He did it the cheap way, took the money and took off.”

The radiation found in oil socks is naturally occurring, Radig said, but winds up concentrating onto the socks during their filtration process. Like a small net, the socks are used when pumping oil field fluids to filter out anything companies don’t want to go through the pump, or down into an injection well.

Just a short memo to North Dakotans: You might want to get this under control and spend some actual money cleaning it up sooner rather than later. Unless you want your state to glow in the dark.

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