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Title: Testing Novel CR-39 Detector Deployment System For Identification of Subsurface Fractures, Soda Springs, ID

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has teamed with Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to facilitate further testing of geologic-fracture-identification methodology at a field site near the Monsanto Superfund Site located in Soda Springs, Idaho. INL has the necessary testing and technological expertise to perform this work. Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) has engaged INL to perform this work through a Work for Others (WFO) Agreement. This study continues a multi-year collaborative effort between INL and EPA to test the efficacy of using field deployed Cr-39 radon in soil portals. This research enables identification of active fractures capable of transporting contaminants at sites where fractures are suspected pathways into the subsurface. Current state of the art methods for mapping fracture networks are exceedingly expensive and notoriously inaccurate. The proposed WFO will evaluate the applicability of using cheap, readily available, passive radon detectors to identify conductive geologic structures (i.e. fractures, and fracture networks) in the subsurface that control the transport of contaminants at fracture-dominated sites. The proposed WFO utilizes proven off-the-shelf technology in the form of CR-39 radon detectors, which have been widely deployed to detect radon levels in homes and businesses. In an existing collaborative EPA/INL studymore » outside of this workscope,. CR-39 detectors are being utilized to determine the location of active transport fractures in a fractured granitic upland adjacent to a landfill site at the Fort Devens, MA that EPA-designated as National Priorities List (NPL) site. The innovative concept of using an easily deployed port that allows the CR-39 to measure the Rn-222 in the soil or alluvium above the fractured rock, while restricting atmospheric Rn-222 and soil sourced Ra from contaminating the detector is unique to INL and EPA approach previously developed. By deploying a series of these inexpensive detector-casing combinations statistical samples of the Rn-222 flux can be measured, elucidating the most communicative fractures (i.e. fractures that are actively transporting water and gasses). The Rn-222 measurements can then be used as an input to create a more accurate conceptual model to be used for transport modeling and related cleanup activities. If the team’s approach is demonstrated to be applicable to a wide variety of rock types and soil conditions it might potentially offer significant cost saving without a reduction in data quality at Monsanto Superfund and other sites underlain by fracture-dominated bedrock.« less
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES CR-39 detector; deployment; fractures; Subsurface; system