State health officials are exploring ways to get more information about oil and gas waste sent to Colorado landfills, particularly concentrated waste that harbors low levels of naturally occurring radiation.

The goal is eliminating a gap in the oversight of the waste and allowing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to gather information about radiation levels and, if needed, direct the waste to the landfills designed to handle it.

Martha Rudolph, director of the CDPHE’s environmental programs, said the department doesn’t consider the waste from oil and gas drilling operations to be a public health hazard, but does want more information about the radiation levels it carries.

“Nearly everything around us has some level of radiation in it — including the crust of the earth and the dirt — and many industrial processes use raw materials, so that in the production of the widget you’ll end up with waste that — from a regulatory perspective — will concentrate the material,” Rudolph said. “Regular materials that might be used in an industrial process then get thrown away.”

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