Youngstown City Council questions company that processes radioac - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown City Council questions company that processes radioactive drilling waste

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

People have been wanting to know what's been going on inside the Sinter Court building ever since Austin Master Services partnered with Industrial Waste Control.

In February, Austin Master was granted a permit from the Ohio Department of Health to scan containers carrying waste from the oil and gas drilling industry.

The truth is not a whole lot is happening there.

Only seven containers have been scanned, due in part to the fact that Youngstown hasn't been as centralized in the shale boom as originally anticipated.

"We were hoping between 15 and 20 a day," said Pat Horkman, with Austin Master Services.

At an informational meeting held by Youngstown City Council, Horkman explained how the boxes are tested without having to be opened. Under Ohio regulations, if they get a reading under 7 pico curies per gram, they are cleared to go to a landfill.

"We have the technology to scan the boxes. We scan both sides and then within minutes, we can get the results. And, we have an expert review the results and he generates a report," said Horkman.

The scan takes five to 10 minutes, as opposed to the traditional 21-day process.

"It sounds like really awesome technology, though. Having less exposure, being able to analyze the source and tell you how much radioactivity is there and let it pass through the landfill is a great process, and I think it's good to see technology making us safer," said Youngstown Councilman, Mike Ray.

The technology has been used for over 30 years in other industries, such as power plants.

Members of Frack Free Mahoning Valley, who have filed an appeal on Austin Master's permit, were also at the meeting.

"I've never heard of the taking a radiological sample within minutes. I've always heard of the 21-day. So, I'll certainly be looking into that," said Susie Biersdorfer, Frack-Free Mahoning Valley.

Reports that containers were being cleaned at the facility was a misunderstanding. Industrial Waste Control is located in the same building on Sinter Court and it does not clean containers used in the oil and gas industry. The company deals with naturally occurring radioactive materials that have not been changed. Youngstown Fire Chief John O'Neil explained that cleaning process involves very limited exposure.

 

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