Radon occurrence in groundwater from 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania

Evaluation of radon occurrence in groundwater from 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania, 1986–2015, with application to potential radon exposure from groundwater and indoor air
Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5018

“Results from 1,041 groundwater samples collected during 1986‒2015 from 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania, associated with 25 or more groundwater samples with concentrations of radon-222, were evaluated in an effort to identify variations in radon-222 activities or concentrations and to classify potential radon-222 exposure from groundwater and indoor air. Radon-222 is hereafter referred to as “radon.” Radon concentrations in groundwater greater than or equal to the proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) for public-water supply systems of 300 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) were present in about 87 percent of the water samples, whereas concentrations greater than or equal to the proposed alternative MCL (AMCL) for public water-supply systems of 4,000 pCi/L were present in 14 percent. The highest radon concentrations were measured in groundwater from the schists, gneisses, and quartzites of the Piedmont Physiographic Province.

In this study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, groundwater samples were aggregated among 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania to identify units with high median radon concentrations in groundwater. Graphical plots and statistical tests were used to determine variations in radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor air. Median radon concentrations in groundwater samples and median radon concentrations in indoor air samples within the 16 geologic units were classified according to proposed and recommended regulatory limits to explore potential radon exposure from groundwater and indoor air. All of the geologic units, except for the Allegheny (Pa) and Glenshaw (Pcg) Formations in the Appalachian Plateaus Physiographic Province, had median radon concentrations greater than the proposed EPA MCL of 300 pCi/L, and the Peters Creek Schist (Xpc), which is in the Piedmont Physiographic Province, had a median radon concentration greater than the EPA proposed AMCL of 4,000 pCi/L. Median concentrations of radon in groundwater and indoor air were determined to differ significantly among the geologic units (Kruskal-Wallis test, significance probability, p<0.001), and Tukey’s test indicated that radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor air in the Peters Creek Schist (Xpc) were significantly higher than those in the other units. Also, the Peters Creek Schist (Xpc) was determined to be the area with highest potential of radon exposure from groundwater and indoor air and one of two units with the highest percentage of population assumed to be using domestic self-supplied water (81 percent), which puts the population at greater potential of exposure to radon from groundwater.

Potential radon exposure determined from classification of geologic units by median radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor air according to proposed and recommended regulatory limits is useful for drawing general conclusions about the presence, variation, and potential radon exposure in specific geologic units, but the associated data and maps have limitations. The aggregated indoor air radon data have spatial accuracy limitations owing to imprecision of geo-coded test locations. In addition, the associated data describing geologic units and the public water supplier’s service areas have spatial and interpretation accuracy limitations. As a result, data and maps associated with this report are not recommended for use in predicting individual concentrations at specific sites nor for use as a decision-making tool for property owners to decide whether to test for radon concentrations at specific locations. Instead, the data and maps are meant to promote awareness regarding potential radon exposure in Pennsylvania and to point out data gaps that exist throughout the State.”

Link to Study 

Water Testing Radon

Air Testing Radon

Radon Air Monitoring

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DCNR Announces Improvements To PA’s PaGWIS – Private Well Owner Database

DCNR Announces Improvements To PA’s PaGWIS
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently announced improvements to the PA Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS) private water well database. PaGWIS is a repository of half a million water well records dating back to 1965. Changes to the database include the addition of more than 1,600 springs found in the Commonwealth, and improved search tools, data packages, and report formats.

To find out more, please see the link below:
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/news/DCNR_20032750.pdf

Get Your Water Tested 

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Pennsylvania Ticks – Yes they are a problem

Pennsylvania has led the nation in  confirmed Lyme disease cases each year since 2011.   When detected early, Lyme disease
and other tick borne diseases can be   treated. Left untreated, tick borne   diseases can cause a whole host of problems. Early
diagnosis is important in  preventing long term complications.

After coming inside, always check yourself for ticks. The target areas, head and hair, armpits, back of knees, and waist line/middle of the body,  are prime spots to find a tick as they seek out out-of-the-way crevices and warm spaces. Look closely, they are  smaller than a freckle.

If a tick does manage to attach itself   to you, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the  tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
Pull upward with steady,  even pressure. Avoid twisting  or jerking. Clean the bite area and see a physician.   If possible – Save the Tick!

TickBrochure_FINAL

More about Lyme Disease and Ticks

Autoimmune Illness and Lyme Disease Recovery Guide: Mending the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Unlocking Lyme: Myths, Truths, and Practical Solutions for Chronic Lyme Disease
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Pike County Pennsylvania – Conservation Events for April 2017

Conservation Events in April 2017

The month of April is filled with environmentally themed events. Below is a list of events. Be sure to visit the Events Calendar at www.pikeconservation.org or like Pike County Conservation District on Facebook to be sure you are kept up to date.

April 8- Pike Wayne Trout Unlimited Banquet: Reservations required; contact John Hochreither: 570-352-8303 or by email: john.hochreither@pwtu.org.

April 9- Pike Wayne Trout Unlimited River Clean-up: Visit www.pwtu.org/ for more information.

April 17- Pike County Conservation District Roadside Clean-Up: Contact Michele Long at mlong@pikepa.org or by phone 570-226-8220.

April 21-23- Hawley EarthFest: Contact Rebecca Holler at rholler@pikepa.org or by phone 570-226-8220 or visit www.hawleyearthfest.com/.

April 23-30- Conservation District Week: Contact Pike County Conservation District 570-226-8220 or follow us on Facebook to see the various events during the week.

April 27- Pike/Wayne Envirothon: Contact Rebecca Holler at rholler@pikepa.org or by phone 570-226-8220.

April 29- Pocono Environmental Education Center Earth Day: Visit www.peec.org/ for more information.

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Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) and Your Water

“A study by the U.S. Geological Survey published in 2002 brought attention to PPCPs in water. In a sampling of 139 susceptible streams in 30 states, detectable yet minute quantities of PPCPs were found in 80 percent of the streams. The most common pharmaceuticals detected were steroids and nonprescription drugs. Antibiotics, prescription medication, detergents, fire retardants, pesticides and natural and synthetic hormones were also found.

The potential human health risks associated with minute levels of PPCPs in water in general and drinking water in particular is still being determined. Until more is known, there is much the public health and environmental protection community can do to educate the public about taking proactive steps concerning the use and disposal of PPCPs.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are a diverse group of chemicals including:

  • all human and veterinary drugs
  • dietary supplements
  • topical agents such as cosmetics and sunscreens
  • laundry and cleaning products
  • fragrances and all the “inert” ingredients that are part of these products

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are introduced to the environment as pollutants in a variety of ways, including:

  • intentional disposal of unneeded PPCPs (flushing)
  • bathing or swimming
  • discharge from municipal sewage systems or private septic systems
  • leaching from landfills
  • excretion by humans and domestic animals
  • runoff from confined animal feeding operations
  • discharge of raw sewage from storm overflow events, cruise ships, and some rural homes directly into surface water
  • accidental discharges to a groundwater recharge area
  • loss from aquaculture
  • spray-drift from antibiotics used on food crops.”

Other Resources
pharmaceuticals-PPCPs
ppt_ppcp_Presentation

Water Treatment – Point Of Use for PFOS and PFOA = NSF P473

Technical References

Handbook of Membrane Separations: Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Food, and Biotechnological Applications, Second Edition

Personal Care Products and Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater and the Environment

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