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Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J

Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.

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So. New Jersey Radionuclides Septic System Interactions

Project Title: NJ17401 So. New Jersey Radionuclides Septic System Interactions
Project Number: 2454ACN
Project Chief:
Project Start Date: 01-APR-2002
Project End Date:30-SEP-2005

Project Objectives

The research objectives are designed to obtain information regarding the fate of Ra from entry into the water well through passage through the treatment system and ultimate disposal. The objectives enumerated are designed to obtain information regarding the fate of Ra from entry into the water well through passage through the treatment system and ultimate disposal.

  1. Determine Ra mass loading onto treatment system (quantifying Ra in and out)
  2. Determine Ra concentrations in back wash brine from treatment systems
  3. Determine Ra concentrations in waste disposal "sinks" such as septage, shallow groundwater, or surficial soil impacted by Ra-rich treatment system back wash
  4. Determine Ra isotope ratios in shallow groundwater downstream from septic disposal to determine if Ra from the septic system leakage is mobile
  5. Construction of a long-term database that will ultimately serve the goal of comparing Ra mass loading in different Coastal Plain aquifers with differing water quality. {Such comparisons can be made after additional data collection beyond the scope of this project is completed.}

Statement of Problem

The issue of concern involves the fate of Ra from entry into the water well, potential removal from or mobility with water moving through softening treatment systems during normal use, amount of gamma-emitting progeny that may accumulate and amount of gamma emission from the treatment tanks, amount of re-concentration into back wash brines, and ultimate fate of Ra and gamma-emitting progeny after disposal of these Ra-rich back wash brines from treatment systems to septic systems or soils. The concentration of Ra isotopes in the backwash is believed to be "high" but needs to be characterized. Disposal of the back wash brine, likely Ra-rich, is most often directed into the septic system. The potential health risk of disposal of Ra-rich brine into/onto any of these "sinks" is unknown because the fate of the Ra is not known: does it remobilize into the aquifer, or does it concentrate in soil and produce gamma emissions?

Strategy and Approach

Water samples would be collected from the well, untreated; treated from the treatment system; back wash brine; septage; and down-gradient shallow groundwater. Soil samples will be measured for gross gamma and Ra-226 and Ra-228 in areas where back wash brine discharge is directly onto soil. Gamma radiation of treatment tanks will be measured. Analysis will be for Ra-226, Ra-228, gross alpha & beta (48 hr), chloride, nutrients, and carbon.

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Page Last Modified: Monday, 14-Jan-2013 11:01:46 EST