The Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) works continuously to ensure the proper management of solid and hazardous waste, guarantees the safe management of radioactive materials, provides education and outreach, and promotes 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.
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
We always appreciate how accessible the agency is to field our questions, applications and positions. In particular, our client Promontory Point Resources and my law firm have appreciated the professionalism of Director Ty Howard and his team at the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control. They have taken a fact-based approach from the beginning, including conducting site visits, and have helped us understand their concerns and requirements in order to ensure that the PPR site is a best-in-class environmental facility. This was achieved by our sharing objectives, plans, and geological and hydrogeological data and receiving straightforward feedback based on science, best practices and state regulations. The science-based approach taken by Director Howard and his team has led to a solid outcome that will serve the community and the environment well into the future.”
–Brad Cahoon, Dentons Durham Jones Pinegar P.C.
Success Story: Putting a Cap on the Geneva Cleanup
For more than a year, U.S. Steel contractors worked to remove coal tar ponds at the former site of the Geneva Steel Mill in Vineyard, UT. In Oct. 2020, the last of the coal tar was relocated to a Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU) that received design approval, permit and oversight from the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (WMRC). The CAMU was capped and what was once a depository of hazardous waste and a nuisance to the community has been cleaned up and safely dealt with.
The cleanup at the old steel mill first came to the public’s attention last fall when the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) reported that an odor coming from the former mill over the previous few weeks had been causing nausea in residents near the facility. In response to resident concerns, WMRC asked U.S. Steel to shut down cleanup operations in order for regulators to assess the issue. The odors were identified as naphthalene, a hydrocarbon that even at low concentrations can emit a mothball-like smell. Risk assessments were conducted, complaints were tracked and many calls were made to coordinate a response.
Under the direction of WMRC, Geneva and U.S. Steel prepared an air-sampling plan and deployed it at the site and at community parks in the area. Information from the monitoring showed that U.S. Steel was operating in compliance, however, the odors still persisted. Working with Geneva, WMRC was able to secure an agreement to modify the remediation plan and add additional measures to mitigate the odors. These measures included working at night and the addition of odor suppressing foam.
By spring of 2020, complaints had almost entirely ended.