This past Wednesday, state officials in North Dakota, US confirmed that several trash bags containing so-called radioactive oil filter socks had been discovered inside a local gas station.
Information shared with the public says that, at the time when police officers stumbled upon the illegally dumped oil socks, the trash bags inside which they were tucked away were covered in a fairly thick layer of dust.
This suggests that whomever disposed of them did so quite a while before the police raided the abandoned gas station in the town of Noonan, Think Progress reports.
Although it is yet unclear how many bags stuffed with oil socks authorities found, it would appear that there were just enough of them to fill not only the 4,000-square-foot (nearly 372 square meters) gas station, but also a nearby garage.
Hence, word has it that this discovery might go down in history as one of the biggest – maybe even the biggest – instances of illegal oil socks dumping that have until now been reported in North Dakota.
Talking to the press, state Waste Management Director Scott Radig said that, according to evidence at hand, the man responsible for the illegal dumping of these oil socks could be a felony fugitive by the name Ken Ward.
Thus, it would appear that this man owns the gas station inside which the trash bags were found, and used to be in the business of helping oil and gas companies operating in the state dispose of their waste.
“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. He did it the cheap way, took the money and took off,” Scott Radig said in a statement.
The North Dakota Management Director wished to stress the fact that, to his knowledge, the oil socks found inside the abandoned North Dakota gas station do not constitute a threat to the state's population, provided that nobody decides to explore the building and goes about opening the trash bags.
“The public really isn’t at risk, so from that aspect it’s not an emergency,” Scott Radig said. “It is angering us in the Health Department here that people are doing illegal dumping, and I know people are very upset over it,” he added.
For those unaware, these so-called radioactive oil filter socks are basically nets that workers use to strain liquids during the oil production process. The radiation documented in them is naturally occurring, and its levels are fairly low.