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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting Charleston South Carolina March 8-12, 1999--Volume 3 of 3--Subsurface Contamination From Point Sources, Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018C

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Tritium in Water Vapor in the Shallow Unsaturated Zone at the Amargosa Desert Research Site

By Richard W. Healy, Robert G. Striegl, Robert L. Michel, David E. Prudic, and Brian J. Andraski


Samples of water vapor in soil gas were obtained at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site in 1997 and 1998 from a depth of 1.5 m (meters) within a 300 m by 300 m grid that lies immediately to the south and west of a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site. The gas samples were analyzed for tritium. Fifty-eight samples were collected in May 1997; 61 samples were collected in June 1998. Measured tritium concentrations ranged from 16 ± 9 TU (tritium units) to 36,900 ± 300 TU in 1997, and from 6 ± 6 TU to 37,360 ± 450 TU in 1998. Concentrations decreased from northeast to southwest across the grid. In general, there was very little difference in tritium concentrations between the two sampling periods.

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