Relationships between 222Rn dissolved in ground water supplies and indoor 222Rn concentrations in some Colorado front range houses

Health Physics

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Indoor 222Rn concentrations were measured in 37 houses with alpha track detectors placed in water-use rooms near water sources (bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens) and in non-water-use living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms away from water sources. Results show that relative contributions of 222Rn to indoor air from water use are insignificant when soil-gas concentrations are high but become increasingly important as the ratio of 222Rn-in-water:222Rn-in-soil gas increases. High soil-gas 222Rn concentrations may mask 222Rn contributions from water even when waterborne 222Rn concentrations are as high as 750 kBq m-3. Ground water in Precambrian Pikes Peak granite averages 340 kBq m-3222Rn, vs. 170 kBq m-3 in Precambrian migmatite, but average 222Rn concentrations in soil gas are also lower in migmatite. Because the ratio of 222Rn-in- water:222Rn-in-soil gas may be consistently higher for houses in migmatite than in Pikes Peak granite, indoor air in houses built on migmatite may have a greater relative contribution from water use even though average 222Rn concentrations in the water are lower. Continuous monitoring of 222Rn concentrations in air on 15-min intervals also indicates that additions to indoor concentrations from water use are significant and measurable only when soil-gas concentrations are low and concentrations in water are high. When soil-gas concentrations were mitigated to less than 150 Bq m-3 in one house, water contributes 20-40% of the annual indoor 222Rn concentration in the laundry room (222Rn concentration in water of 670 kBq m-3). Conversely, when the mitigation system is inactive, diurnal fluctuations and other variations in the soil-gas 222Rn contribution swamp the variability due to water use in the house. Measurable variations in indoor concentrations from water use were not detected in one house despite a low soil-gas contribution of approximately 150 Bq m-3 because waterborne 222Rn concentrations also are low (80 kBq m-3). This result suggests that 222Rn concentrations in water near the recommended EPA limit in drinking water of 11 kBq m-3 may not contribute measurable amounts of 222Rn to indoor air in most houses.

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Relationships between 222Rn dissolved in ground water supplies and indoor 222Rn concentrations in some Colorado front range houses
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Health Physics
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