The radiotracer method has been used for investigation of the adsorption and desorption of radium traces on ferric hydroxide and quartz under conditions similar to those prevailing in waste and surface waters. The effects of pH, liquid to solid ratio, ionic strength and presence of Ca/sup 2 +/ or SO/sub 4//sup 2 -/ ions have been studied. It is concluded that at pH less than 7 and at concentration of suspended sediments of common composition less than 100 mg.1/sup -1/, ferric hydroxide and quartz have negligible effect on the state and migration of radium in surface waters. Radium adsorbed on quartz can be easily desorbed with dilute solutions of hydrochloric acid or sodium chloride. 14 refs.