Temporal and spatial variation of waterborne point-of-use 222Rn in three water distribution systems

Document Type


Publication Date



Health and Medical Physics | Physics


Three water supply systems in Iowa were studied to examine temporal variation of 222Rn at the point of entry and the point of use. For the three towns, 71, 9, and 0% of the maximum point-of-use 222Rn concentrations were significantly higher than the point-of-entry 222Rn concentrations. Homes connected to older water mains in two of the towns had higher 222Rn concentrations than those connected to newer water mains. In one town, the waterborne 222Rn concentrations in the home were related to the home's location along an old water main. The increase in 222Rn concentrations, after the water leaves the water plant, were attributed to radium deposits in the water distribution system. In addition, the water plant's radium laden iron filters contributed 7 Bq L-1 and 60 Bq L-1 of 222Rn to the finished water in What Cheer, Iowa, and Wellman, Iowa, respectively. Backwashing schedules in the water treatment systems greatly affected point-ot-entry 222Rn concentrations. The results of this study have important implications for 222Rn sampling, required for regulatory compliance.