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The U. S. Geological Survey has adopted methods for measuring the concentrations of certain radioactive materials in water. The methods described are useful in hydrogeochemical studies and for determining the conformance of potable water with health standards.
Gross concentrations of alpha- and beta-emitting nuclides are determined by measuring with a suitable counter the activity of the residue left upon evaporation. Sensitivities of about 1 micromicrocurie per 100 mg of solids for the determination of alpha activity and of 1 to 5 micromicrocuries per 100 mg of solids for the determination of beta activity may be obtained. Radium is determined by either of two carrier-precipitation methods depending upon the accuracy desired or the necessity for measuring concentrations of individual radium isotopes. The sensitivities vary from 0.1 to 1.0 micromicrocurie per liter depending upon calcium concentration. Radiostrontium is determined by a multiple precipitation method having a sensitivity of about 1 micromicrocurie per liter. Uranium is determined to 0.1 ppb by a fluorometnc procedure.
U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colo.