EPA Science Inventory

The Accumulation of Radioactive Contaminants in Drinking Water Distribution Systems

Citation:

Lytle, D., T. Sorg, L. Wang, AND A. Chen. The Accumulation of Radioactive Contaminants in Drinking Water Distribution Systems. WATER RESEARCH. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 50:396-407, (2014).

Description:

The accumulation of trace contaminants in drinking water distribution systems has been documented and the subsequent release of the contaminants back to the water is a potential exposure pathway. Radioactive contaminants are of particular concern because of their known health effects and because radioactivity contained on associated distribution system materials can persist. The objective of this work was to measure the amount of a number of radioactive contaminants (radium, thorium, and uranium isotopes, and gross alpha and beta activity) in distribution solids collected from water systems in four states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas). In addition, the composition of 19 elements in the solids was determined. Water systems provided solids primarily collected during routine fire hydrant flushing. Iron was the dominant element in nearly all of the solids and was followed by calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, silicon, aluminum and barium in descending order. Gross alpha and beta radiation averaged 255 and 181 pCi/g, and were as high as 1602 and 1169 pCi/g, respectively. Total radium, thorium and uranium averaged 143, 40 and 6.4 pCi/g, respectively. Radium-226 and -228 averaged 74 and 69 pCi/g, and were as high as 250 and 351 pCi/g, respectively.

Purpose/Objective:

It is expected that this project will provide a better understanding about the extent to which radionuclides can accumulate in drinking water distribution systems, and an awareness to water utilities, states, engineers, and consultants about how they manage the drinking water distribution system.

URLs/Downloads:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2013.10.050   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 03/01/2014
Completion Date: 03/01/2014
Record Last Revised: 04/24/2014
Record Created: 04/23/2014
Record Released: 04/23/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 273980

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

WATER SUPPLY AND WATER RESOURCES DIVISION