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Sustainability 2010, 2(4), 890-901; doi:10.3390/su2040890
Article

Radioactivity in Oily Sludge and Produced Waste Water from Oil: Environmental Concerns and Potential Remedial Measures

1,* , 2
 and 3
1 Chemistry Department, The Petroleum Institute, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, UAE 2 C/o Department of Clinical and Biomedical Physics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 35, Al Khoud, 123, Oman 3 Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Wasit, Kut, Wasit, 4256, Iraq
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 January 2010 / Revised: 18 March 2010 / Accepted: 24 March 2010 / Published: 31 March 2010
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Abstract

Produced water separated from oil is usually returned to the environment and could permeate through the water table. If such water is contaminated with radioactive substances, it could create a definite threat to the water supply, especially in arid regions where ground water and overhead streams are sources of potable water. Low-level radioactive contamination of oily sludge is equally hazardous and also leads to detrimental pollution of water resources. We investigated the distribution of 226Ra, 40K and 228Ac in produced waste water and oily sludge and found abnormal levels of radioactivity. A total of 90 ground wastewater samples were collected from different sites for a period of one year. The presence of these radionuclides was identified by their characteristic gamma rays. The detection system consisted of a high-purity germanium detector. Our results show that about 20% of the samples exhibited 20–60 Bq/L radioactivity and ~6% of the samples exceeded 60 Bq/L. Roughly 70% of the experimental samples fell in the range of 2–20 Bq/L, which still exceeded the maximum admissible drinking-water limit 0.2 Bq/L.
Keywords: radioactivity; oil sludge; waste water; gamma rays radioactivity; oil sludge; waste water; gamma rays
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pillay, A.E.; Salih, F.M.; Maleek, M.I. Radioactivity in Oily Sludge and Produced Waste Water from Oil: Environmental Concerns and Potential Remedial Measures. Sustainability 2010, 2, 890-901.

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