case, disposing of the initial water produced after backwashing and not sending it to the consumer, could eliminate the risk of exposure from release of desorbed radon into the water supply.

Water Storage

Because radon has a relatively short half-life, it is possible to obtain some reduction in concentration by storing the water. It can be stored in separate storage tanks or in those normally used to provide water to a community during periods when demand exceeds the yield of wells. Over 24 h, radon reduction due to storage averages 20–40%, and 5–6 d of storage yields 80–90% losses (Kinner and others 1989). In two waterworks in Sweden, losses of 17–34% were documented during storage (Mjönes 1997). The small reductions mean that this method of treatment is effective only where the percentage removals required to meet the MCL are relatively low and the daily demand for water is small. For example, storage might be an adequate treatment for a school that uses a well to supply water (that is, is not served by a community supply). Repumping is usually required with storage systems used for radon reduction because they are typically operated at atmospheric pressure. Repumping can be avoided if the storage tank is elevated.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this method is providing a reliable and consistent quality of water. As demand fluctuates, the retention time in the storage tank can change, potentially resulting in smaller radon reductions. To avoid that problem, the capacity of storage needs to be increased to ensure acceptable overall radon removal. The tanks usually are vented to the atmosphere, which would increase the risk of air emission as with aeration methods. However, this risk would probably be low because use of storage as a treatment method would be limited to very small water supplies that have relatively low radon concentrations. If radon loss is due solely to decay and not to losses to the atmosphere, there is also the risk of exposure from ingestion of radon progeny such as 210Pb. Because the storage tanks are typically vented to the atmosphere, they might require disinfection under the pending GWDR. As a result, there could be an increased risk of exposure to disinfection byproducts if chlorination is used.

Simple Aeration During Storage

Losses observed after water passes through a storage tank are often higher than those measured when the water resides in the tank undisturbed (Mjönes 1997; Kinner and others 1989). The increased loss has been attributed to aeration that occurs when the water splashes into the tanks. Indeed, the mode of entry is very important. Bottom entry below the water line yields removals similar to loss due to storage alone. Free-fall or entry via spray nozzle or splash box can increase removals to the range of 50–70% (Mose 1993; Kinner and others 1987). Adding a crude coarse bubble-aeration system to the tank can boost removal to the 90%

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement