New Jersey Water Science Center
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
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.
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.