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Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J

Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.

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Natural Radionuclide Occurrence in Principal New Jersey Aquifers

Project Title: Natural Radionuclide Occurrence in Principal New Jersey Aquifers
Project Number: 2454AN9
Project Chief:
Project Start Date: 01-DEC-2002
Project End Date:30-SEP-2003

Project Objectives

  1. To determine amount of co-occurrence of naturally?occurring U and As in water in principal aquifers in northern NJ using samples from public supply wells;
  2. To evaluate methods (numerical rating models or contingency tables) to predict the vulnerability of water from public supply wells to contamination by co-occurring natural U and As based on measured redox potential (Eh) and assumed redox potential based on the coupled species of iron (+2 and +3) or sulfur (+6 and -2) and other general water quality characteristics;
  3. To compare various analytical techniques for determination of As species;
  4. To compare measured As species to that predicted by redox potential or iron or sulfur species measurement;
  5. To characterize U isotope ratios and identify aquifer regions where short?lived radionuclides are contributing to gross alpha?particle activity, by computing the difference between short-term gross alpha-particle activity and total U isotope activity.

Statement of Problem

The widespread occurrence of naturally occurring radionuclides in principal aquifers of New Jersey and the considerable reliance of the dense population on groundwater resources for drinking water have made extensive research necessary to define the aquifers or portions of aquifers most vulnerable to such contamination. The large geological, geochemical, and hydrological variability in this aerially relatively small State has required definition of various radionuclide occurrences in numerous environmental settings. Gaining understanding of the occurrence in a certain type of environment may guide monitoring efforts towards (or away from) similar environments elsewhere in the State. Documenting the co-occurrence among radionuclides or co-occurrence of radionuclides with other contaminants can increase the efficiency of potential monitoring (or treatment) programs.

Strategy and Approach

The project will consist of three phases to be completed cooperatively between the USGS and Rutgers University. These phases are: design, sampling and lab analysis, and data analysis. The approach provides environmental occurrence information for further evaluation.

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