Spatial variability of 226 Radium in a water distribution system

You are here

Project Period: 
Project Investigator(s): 
LJ Fuortes, EL Fisher, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

Radium is considered a class A carcinogen by the EPA and Iowa has some of the highest ground water radium concentrations in the U.S. In 1976 the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) set a maximum contaminant level for combined 226Radium and 228Radium at 5 pCi/L. However, the EPA does not specify time or location of sample collection for radionuclides. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources specifies only that the sample be representative of the water distribution system. Epidemiological studies have used 226Radium analyses of samples collected for SDWA compliance as a measure of exposure. However, radium-rich pipe-scale deposits found in water distribution systems are a potential source for radium enrichment of drinking water after it enters the distribution system. The purpose of this pilot study is to determine if dissolution and/or dislodgment of radium from pipe scale significantly increases radium concentrations at the point of use.



Publications:  Fisher EL, Fuortes LJ, Valentine RL, Mehrhoff M, Field RW; Dissolution of 226Radium from pipe-scale deposits in a public water supply. Environment International. 2000; 26(1-2): 69-73

Fisher EL, Fuortes LJ, Ledolter J, Steck DJ, Field RW; Temporal and spatial variation of waterborne point-of-use 222Rn in three water distribution systems. Health Physics. 1998; 74(2):242-248