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Officials: Cache of illegal oil field waste found

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Officials in North Dakota are reporting what may be the state's biggest incident of illegal dumping of radioactive oil filter socks, the nets that strain liquids in the oil production process.

They say hundreds of the tubular filters were found in an abandoned building in Noonan, in northwestern North Dakota. A Divide County sheriff's deputy described waist-deep piles scattered through a 4,000-square-foot building that once housed an auto shop.

State Waste Management Director Scott Radig, who viewed pictures of the scene, said it appeared to be more than twice as large as the state's next-largest dumping incident.

The filter socks can become contaminated with naturally occurring radiation. They are banned for disposal in North Dakota, and oil companies are supposed to haul them to approved facilities in other states.