in regulating TENORM as long as members of the public receive less than 1 × 10-3 Gy y-1 from all licensed sources (including TENORM).
If spent GAC from a water-treatment plant had enough 210Pb, radium, or uranium associated with it to warrant disposal at either a low-level radioactive waste site or a naturally occurring and accelerator produced radioactive materials (NARM) site, this could have a substantial impact on operation and maintenance costs for the water utility. Actual disposal costs have been estimated as $335 m-3 yr-1 (Kinner and others 1989), approximately $48,000 m-3 (McTigue and Cornwell 1994) and about $11,100 m-3 y-1 (Cornwell and others 1999). In addition, broker and transportation fees would likely be assessed. A typical broker would send trained personnel to the treatment plant to dewater the bed, load and seal the GAC in containers, and decontaminate the site. Cornwell and others (1999) estimated the broker fee at $5,000 (mostly associated with time and travel).
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding GAC disposal is the availability of sites that will accept such radioactive material. Drago (1998) reported that two sites are operating (in Barnwell, SC, and Richland, WA). (Note: Clive, UT, receives only limited low-level and NARM wastes.) However, these facilities are not available to all states. Rather, the Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Policy Act (PL-99-240) enacted in 1980 and its amendments (1985) direct states to form compacts with their neighbors and designate a host low-level disposal site. There are nine compacts and one other pending, and five states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico are unaffiliated. Low-level disposal sites have been proposed by some of these compacts, but none has been built. The result is that low-level waste generators in all states except North Carolina have access to a disposal facility (Drago 1998), but new facilities are not likely to be readily available in the near future.
Several ways of avoiding the need to dispose of the GAC at a low-level waste facility would not require changing legislation or regulations. Perhaps the easiest would be to dispose of the GAC before radionuclide accumulation necessitates special disposal. McTigue and Cornwell (1994) developed a model that allows operators to predict when a bed is reaching such a level with respect to 210Pb. The CARBDOSE model (Rydell and Keene 1993) makes a similar prediction for POE GAC units. These models are simple to use, and periodic measurements of the actual 210Pb accumulation on the GAC can be made to confirm their estimates. It should be noted that the models do not address the effect of GAC-associated-iron on the 210Pb accumulation (Cornwell and others 1999). If substantial amounts of iron were present in the raw water, such a prediction would be more difficult.
Another alternative to disposal of the spent carbon is thermal regeneration of the GAC that Lowry and others (1990) showed was possible. Both 210Pb and its progeny are volatilized at 850 °C. It is not clear whether release of the 210Pb or 210Po to the atmosphere would be acceptable. If those radionuclides were collected in an air scrubber, they would potentially still present a radioactive-waste disposal problem with respect to the fly ash. Acid regeneration of the spent GAC