The Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) works continuously to ensure the proper management of solid and hazardous waste, guarantee the safe management of radioactive materials, provide education and outreach, and promote recycling efforts.
DWMRC works closely with facilities to clean up waste-contaminated areas and establishes permit and licensing conditions that ensure that waste treatment, storage, and disposal practices protect human health and the environment. Health physicists safeguard citizens from exposure to radiation through equipment inspections and oversight of the industrial and medical uses of radioactive materials. Education and outreach on proper waste disposal, recycling, indoor radon, and radioactive materials are critical components of DWMRC programs. The Division also implements operational efficiencies to streamline its inspection and permitting processes.
DWMRC program highlights include:
- Safe management of solid, hazardous, and radioactive wastes
- Health and safety inspections of X-ray equipment and other sources of radiation
- Assistance to property owners in the cleanup of contaminated property to return it to beneficial use
- Waste management assistance through public education and outreach
- Safe recycling systems for used oil and waste tires
Hazardous Waste Program Performance Measures
The Hazardous Waste and Used Oil programs are responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to the management of hazardous waste and used oil. Primary elements of the program include permitting, compliance monitoring and enforcement, compliance assistance, and information management.
Educational outreach is a fundamental component of these programs. The Division works with regulated businesses to enhance their understanding of the requirements they need to meet to properly manage their waste streams. Utah businesses welcome these outreach opportunities that support their efforts to be good environmental stewards of the community. Division outreach includes:
- Annual hazardous waste generator classes
- Business-specific onsite training
- Local health department training
- Educational outreach at schools
- Promotion of better management of household hazardous waste, recycling, pollution prevention, and best management practices
Solid Waste Program Performance Measures
The Solid Waste Program is responsible for the oversight of solid waste facilities statewide. The program reviews permit applications and plans of operation. It also conducts onsite inspections to ensure compliance at facilities that dispose of, treat or transfer solid waste. The Waste Tire Program provides oversight to waste tire transporters and recyclers by issuing annual registration certificates. The Program also provides oversight for waste-tire cleanups at landfills and abandoned waste tire piles.
Radiation Program Performance Measures
The Radiation Control Program regulates the medical, industrial, and academic uses of radioactive materials through a combination of regulatory requirements, licensing, safety oversight such as inspection and enforcement, evaluation of the operational experience with radioactive materials, and regulatory support activities.
Low-level Radioactive Waste
DWMRC conducts radiological, engineering, and groundwater inspections at EnergySolutions to assess its compliance with rules, permits, and licenses for the disposal and storage of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) at its facility. Program staff also review performance assessments, manage outside contractor support for studies on new waste streams like depleted uranium, review new construction, and evaluate financial surety.
The LLRW section is also responsible for the Generator Site Access program that regulates all generators sending waste to EnergySolutions. The generators need to have a Generator Site Access (GSA) Permit or use a transporter that has a GSA permit. DWMRC inspects shipments to ensure:
- They are in compliance with Department of Transportation requirements and the GSA permit.
- Containers are in good condition and did not leak during transportation.
- Containers are still secured when they arrive at the facility.
- Paperwork is accurate.
Program staff also sample and inspect shipments to ensure waste characterization matches DWMRC records.
The use of certain radioactive materials is regulated to protect the health and safety of the public and the environment because of their potentially hazardous properties. DWMRC regulates programs that license and inspect byproduct material, source material, and special nuclear material in quantities not sufficient to form a critical mass (chain reaction).
The division issues licenses and permits for uranium mills that extract uranium from mined ore or recover uranium from materials containing uranium, known as alternate feed material. The Uranium MIlls program regulates three conventional uranium mills in the State of Utah:
- White Mesa Uranium Mill
- Rio Algom Mill
- Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill
The X-ray program prevents or minimizes exposure to radiation used in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of disease. DWMRC health physicists conduct inspections and provide training to medical and dental personnel to ensure the proper operation and calibration of X-ray equipment.
Corrective Action Performance Measures
DWMRC works with companies through its Corrective Action Program to remediate environmental contamination from the improper storage, treatment, or disposal of solid or hazardous waste. Corrective Actions (CAs) ensure that facilities deal with these releases properly to minimize harm to the public and the environment. The Division’s collaborative efforts with businesses and developers on these cleanups lead to timely resolution of environmental issues and a faster return of contaminated lands to beneficial use. DWMRC also prepares Site Management Plans that allow facilities to continue operations while still protecting workers and environmental receptors from residual contamination on these sites.
Success Story: Corrective Action at the Former May Foundry Property
Mixtec North America, a manufacturer of industrial agitators and mixers, approached the Corrective Action Section with a plan to purchase the May Foundry Property in Salt Lake City. The property was first developed in 1911, first as a silver foundry, then subsequently as several foundries and machine shops. The environmental site assessment found elevated levels of concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in the soils and groundwater, lead, arsenic, and zirconium in soils, and arsenic in groundwater from historical foundry operations on the property.
The Corrective Action section worked with Mixtec’s environmental consultant to develop a plan to address site contamination. The Site Management Plan included restrictions on the use of shallow groundwater, land-use controls that limit activities on the site to industrial uses, installation and maintenance of a protective cover for contaminated soils in a portion of the property, and procedures for managing any soil excavated and transported offsite. Institutional controls were established through an Environmental Covenant to mitigate residual contamination.
This collaborative effort to manage contamination and implement proper environmental controls allowed Mixtec to relocate its operations to the desired property and protected human health and the environment from residual site contamination.