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Radon-222 Activities in the Ground Water of the Piedmont Physiographic Province, Southeastern Pennsylvania

ABSTRACT

Water samples collected from 1986-98 from 912 wells in the Piedmont of southeastern Pennsylvania were analyzed for radon-222 activity. Radon-222 activities ranged from 49 to 53,000 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L); the median activity was 1,400 pCi/L. The proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for radon-222 is 300 pCi/L, and the proposed Alternative Maximum Contaminant Level (AMCL) is 4,000 pCi/L. Water from 89 percent of sampled wells exceeds the MCL, and water from 16 percent of sampled wells exceeds the AMCL. The distribution of radon-222 activities differed among rock types with elevated activities most frequently occurring in ground water in schists and quartzites. The median radon-222 activity was highest for water samples from wells in schist (2,490 pCi/L) with 94 percent and 27 percent of samples exceeding the MCL and AMCL, respectively. The median radon-222 activity for water samples from wells in quartzites was 2,300 pCi/L with 96 percent and 27 percent of samples exceeding the MCL and AMCL, respectively. The median radon-222 activity was lowest for water samples from wells in carbonate rocks (630 pCi/L) with 74 percent and 4 percent of samples exceeding the MCL and AMCL, respectively.

Citation:

Sloto, R.A., and Senior, L.A., 2000, Radon-222 activities in the ground water of the Piedmont Physiographic Province, southeastern pennsylvania [abstract]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Northeastern Section, v. 32, no. 1, p. A-75.

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