The distribution of naturally occurring radionuclides in ground water of the Kirkwood- Cohansey aquifer system in southern New Jersey was assessed during 1988-89. The Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system consists of quartz-sand formations overlain by a feldspar-rich quartz-sand formation, the Bridgeton Formation, that is heavily developed agriculturally. The sum of the concentrations of radium-226 and radium-228 exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 5 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) in 26 of 81 wells from which water samples were analyzed, and gross alpha-particle activity exceeded the MCL of 15 pCi/L in 5 of the 81 samples. The median concentrations of radon-222 and uranium were 280 pCi/L and 0.03 micrograms per liter, respectively. Water in the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system generally is dilute (median dissolved solids concentration, 55 milligrams per liter) and acidic (median pH, 4.90), but concentrations of major ions and acidity are higher in water from wells in areas where the Bridgeton Formation outcrop and agricultural land use are present than in areas where they are absent. Concentrations and activities of radionuclides also were greatest in these areas. Results of statistical analyses indicate that these relations are significant and nonrandom. The positive relation of radionuclide concentration or activity to the presence of geologic outcrop and agricultural land, and a similar relation of the concentration of inorganic constituents to the presence of geologic outcrop and agricultural land, indicate that geochemical processes enhance mobilization of radionuclides in these areas relative to areas where the Bridgeton Formation and agricultural land are absent. The sum of the ocncentrations of radium-226 and radium-228 most likely exceeds the MCL in ground-water samples with nitrate concentrations greater than 5 milligrams per liter.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Natural radioactivity in, and inorganic chemistry of, ground water in the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system, southern New Jersey, 1983-89
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
U.S.G.S. Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],