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Title: Using naturally occurring radionuclides to determine drinking water age in a community water system

Abstract

Drinking water quality in a community water system is closely linked to the age of water from initial treatment to time of delivery. However, water age is difficult to measure with conventional chemical tracers; particularly in stagnant water, where the relationship between disinfectant decay, microbial growth, and water age is poorly understood. Using radionuclides that were naturally present in source water, we found that measured activity ratios of 90Y/ 90Sr and 234Th/ 238U in discrete drinking water samples of known age accurately estimated water age up to 9 days old (σ est: ± 3.8 h, P < 0.0001, r 2 = 0.998, n = 11) and 25 days old (σ est: ± 13.3 h, P < 0.0001, r 2 = 0.996, n = 12), respectively. Moreover, 90Y-derived water ages in a community water system (6.8 × 10 4 m 3 d –1 capacity) were generally consistent with water ages derived from an extended period simulation model. Radionuclides differ from conventional chemical tracers in that they are ubiquitous in distribution mains and connected premise plumbing. The ability to measure both water age and an analyte (e.g., chemical or microbe) in any water sample at any time allows for new insight intomore » factors that control drinking water quality.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [3]
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI (United States). School of Freshwater Sciences.
  2. Stantec, St. Paul, MN (United States)
  3. Argonne National Lab., Argonne, IL (United States). Environmental Research Div.
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1214157
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 49; Journal Issue: 16; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Waples, James T., Bordewyk, Jason K., Knesting, Kristina M., and Orlandini, Kent A. Using naturally occurring radionuclides to determine drinking water age in a community water system. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b03227.
Waples, James T., Bordewyk, Jason K., Knesting, Kristina M., & Orlandini, Kent A. Using naturally occurring radionuclides to determine drinking water age in a community water system. United States. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b03227.
Waples, James T., Bordewyk, Jason K., Knesting, Kristina M., and Orlandini, Kent A. 2015. "Using naturally occurring radionuclides to determine drinking water age in a community water system". United States. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b03227. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1214157.
@article{osti_1214157,
title = {Using naturally occurring radionuclides to determine drinking water age in a community water system},
author = {Waples, James T. and Bordewyk, Jason K. and Knesting, Kristina M. and Orlandini, Kent A.},
abstractNote = {Drinking water quality in a community water system is closely linked to the age of water from initial treatment to time of delivery. However, water age is difficult to measure with conventional chemical tracers; particularly in stagnant water, where the relationship between disinfectant decay, microbial growth, and water age is poorly understood. Using radionuclides that were naturally present in source water, we found that measured activity ratios of 90Y/90Sr and 234Th/238U in discrete drinking water samples of known age accurately estimated water age up to 9 days old (σest: ± 3.8 h, P < 0.0001, r2 = 0.998, n = 11) and 25 days old (σest: ± 13.3 h, P < 0.0001, r2 = 0.996, n = 12), respectively. Moreover, 90Y-derived water ages in a community water system (6.8 × 104 m3 d–1 capacity) were generally consistent with water ages derived from an extended period simulation model. Radionuclides differ from conventional chemical tracers in that they are ubiquitous in distribution mains and connected premise plumbing. The ability to measure both water age and an analyte (e.g., chemical or microbe) in any water sample at any time allows for new insight into factors that control drinking water quality.},
doi = {10.1021/acs.est.5b03227},
journal = {Environmental Science and Technology},
number = 16,
volume = 49,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 7
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1work
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  • Radioactivity in water for human consumption is under closer scrutiny than ever before and many countries adopted guideline values based on total alpha and total beta activity measurements. Although most waters from surface circulation meet these guidelines, it is frequently found that groundwater exceed guideline values. Results of water analyses by alpha spectrometry clarified that the main radionuclides present are from the uranium decay series, such as uranium isotopes, radium ({sup 226}Ra), radon ({sup 222}Rn), and also {sup 210}Pb and {sup 210}Po. Occasionally, groundwater displayed {sup 226}Ra concentrations higher than 1 Bq L{sup -1} and {sup 222}Rn concentrations above 1000more » Bq L{sup -1}. Nevertheless, lack of conformity of these waters with guidelines adopted, generally, is not due to anthropogenic inputs.« less
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  • 'The research is directed toward a quantitative assessment of contaminant transport rates in fracture-rock systems using uranium-series radionuclides. Naturally occurring uranium-and thorium-series radioactive disequilibria will provide information on the rates of adsorption-desorption and transport of radioactive contaminants as well as on fluid transport and rock dissolution in a natural setting. This study will also provide an improved characterization of preferential flow and contaminant transport at the Idaho Environmental and Engineering Lab. (INEEL) site. To a lesser extent, the study will include rocks in the unsaturated zone. The authors will produce a realistic model of radionuclide migration under unsaturated and saturatedmore » field conditions at the INEEL site, taking into account the retardation processes involved in the rock/water interaction. The major tasks are to (1) determine the natural distribution of U, Th, Pa and Ra isotopes in rock minerals. sorbed phases on the rocks, and in fluids from both saturated and unsaturated zones at the site, and (2) study rock/water interaction processes using U/Th series disequilibrium and a statistical analysis-based model for the Geologic heterogeneity plays an important role in transporting contaminants in fractured rocks. Preferential flow paths in the fractured rocks act as a major pathway for transport of radioactive contaminants in groundwaters. The weathering/dissolution of rock by groundwater also influences contaminant mobility. Thus, it is important to understand the hydrogeologic features of the site and their impact on the migration of radioactive contaminants. In this regard, quantification of the rock weathering/dissolution rate and fluid residence time from the observed decay-series disequilibria will be valuable. By mapping the spatial distribution of the residence time of groundwater in fractured rocks, the subsurface preferential flow paths (with high rock permeability and short fluid residence time) can be determined.'« less