Investigation of Radioactivity in Selected Drinking Water Samples From Maryland
Iisa Outola, Svetlana Nour, Hiromu Kurosaki, Kenneth G. Inn, J J. La Rosa, Larry L. Lucas, Peter Volkovitsky, Kevin Koepenick
In 2004, levels of radioactivity exceeding federal drinking water standards were found in two separate areas of Maryland through gross alpha and beta screening measurements. It was desired to know which radionuclides were responsible for the activity and what effect water softener systems installed in individual households had on mitigating the problem. Non-destructive gamma spectrometry and gross alpha-beta liquid scintillation measurements, as well as chemical separations followed by measurements of 222Rn, 226Ra and 228Ra, uranium and thorium isotopes, 210Po and 210Pb were carried out. The results of the studies indicated disequilibrium among the decay products in the Th and U decay chains had a major influence on the radionuclide content in the drinking water, and that mitigation using a water softener was not equally effective for all radioelements.