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Tritium concentrations in flow from selected springs that discharge to the Snake River, Twin Falls-Hagerman area, Idaho

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4156

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Abstract

Concern has been expressed that some of the approximately 30,900 curies of tritium disposed to the Snake River Plain aquifer from 1952 to 1988 at the INEL (Idaho National Engineering Laboratory) have migrated to springs discharging to the Snake River in the Twin Falls-Hagerman area. To document tritium concentrations in springflow, 17 springs were sampled in November 1988 and 19 springs were sampled in March 1989. Tritium concentrations were less than the minimum detectable concentration of 0.5 pCi/mL (picocuries/mL) in November 1988 and less than the minimum detectable concentration of 0.2 pCi/mL in March 1989; the minimum detectable concentration was smaller in March 1989 owing to a longer counting time in the liquid scintillation system. The maximum contaminant level of tritium in drinking water as established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is 20 pCi/mL. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sample analyses indicate that the tritium concentration has decreased in the Snake River near Buhl since the 1970's. In 1974-79, tritium concentrations were less than 0.3 +/-0.2 pCi/mL in 3 of 20 samples; in 1983-88, 17 of 23 samples contained less than 0.3 +/-0.2 pCi/mL of tritium; the minimum detectable concentration is 0.2 pCi/mL. On the basis of decreasing tritium concentrations in the Snake River, their correlation to cessation of atmospheric weapons tests tritium concentrations in springflow less than the minimum detectable concentration, and the distribution of tritium in groundwater at the INEL, aqueous disposal of tritium at the INEL has had no measurable effect on tritium concentrations in springflow from the Snake River Plain aquifer and in the Snake River near Buhl. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Tritium concentrations in flow from selected springs that discharge to the Snake River, Twin Falls-Hagerman area, Idaho
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
89-4156
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1989
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-file reports [distributor],
Description:
iv, 20 p. :ill. ;28 cm.