Third Quarter 2005
INL Quarterly Site Environmental Report
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The ESER program samples precipitation, surface water, and drinking water. Monthly composite precipitation samples are collected from Idaho Falls and the Central Facilities Area (CFA) on the INL. Weekly precipitation samples are collected from the Experimental Field Station (EFS) on the INL. Surface and/or drinking water are sampled twice each year at 19 locations around the INL. This occurs during the second and fourth quarters.
Precipitation samples are gathered when sufficient precipitation occurs to allow for the collection of the minimum sample volume of approximately 20 mL. Samples are taken of monthly composites from Idaho Falls and CFA, and weekly from the EFS. Precipitation samples are analyzed for tritium. Storm events in the third quarter of 2005 produced sufficient precipitation to yield only five samples – three from Idaho Falls and two from CFA. No weekly samples from the EFS were obtained.
Tritium was not measured above the 3s value in any of the
samples collected during the third quarter 2005. Low levels of tritium exist in
the environment at all times as a result of cosmic ray reactions with water
molecules in the upper atmosphere. The EPA’s RadNet program collects
precipitation samples from across the United States. From 1978 to 2001 tritium
measured in those samples ranged from -2.00 to 7.38 x 106 pCi/L (-7.4
to 2.7 x 104 Bq/L) (EPA 2005). Tritium measured in third quarter ESER
samples were within this range, with a maximum of 71.6 ± 24.9 pCi/L (2.65 ± 0.92
Bq/L) at Idaho Falls. Data for all third quarter 2005 precipitation samples
collected by the ESER Program are listed in
Table C-6 (Appendix C).
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