New Jersey Water Science Center
Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.
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Northern New Jersey Radionuclides
Project Title: Northern New Jersey Radionuclides
Statement of Problem
Elevated gross alpha-particle activity in groundwater has recently been documented from scattered areas in northern New Jersey. Initial data compilations indicate most of this alpha-particle activity is attributable to long-lived isotopes of U, and to a lesser extent, the long-lived progeny, Ra-226. (Alpha-emitting Ra-224 may be present, but concentrations have not been determined.) Because remediation options are widely different for U and Ra it is crucial to determine what portion of the alpha activity is from U and from Ra to assess the best treatment option.
Strategy and Approach
The project will consist of three phases to be completed cooperatively between the USGS and NJDEP. These phases are: 1) existing data review to identify high gross-alpha areas, 2) sampling and lab analysis in selected areas, and 3) data assessment and analysis of data gaps. The approach provides environmental occurrence information for further evaluation to propose refinements to methods to predict the vulnerability of water from wells to contamination by natural U.