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Title:Geologic studies to identify the source for high levels of radium and barium in Illinois ground-water supplies: a preliminary report
Author(s):Gilkeson, Robert H.; Specht, Susan A.; Cartwright, Keros; Griffin, Robert Alfred; Larson, Thurston Eric
Contributor(s):Illinois State Geological Survey; Illinois State Water Survey
Subject(s):Groundwater
Aquifers
Water resource development
Water resource development--Illinois
Aquifer properties
Barite
Barium
Chemical properties
Radioactivity
Radioisotopes
Radium
Sedimentary rocks
Solubility
Sulfate
Thorium
Uranium
Abstract:Analyses of water from municipal wells in Illinois by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency showed that more than 300 wells exceeded the upper limit, 3 picocuries/liter (U.S. Public Health Service, 1962), for gross alpha radiation in drinking water. More than 30 wells exceeded the upper limit, 1 milligram/liter (U.S. Public Health Service, 1962), for barium in drinking water. High levels of radiation in ground water were more extensive in areal distribution than the high levels of barium. All of the affected wells were finished in bedrock, primarily in rocks of the Cambrian and Ordovician Systems of northern Illinois. The geologic settings in which the high levels of radiation and barium were documented indicated that the problem was not restricted to Illinois.The source of the radiation in ground water was thought to be the natural occurrence of the radioactive elements.uranium-238 and thorium-232 in the aquifer rocks. Analyses of a limited number of rock samples indicated that uranium and thorium concentrations were highest in fine-grained sediments in the aquifer systems; the highest concentration was in shales that confine the aquifer.The occurrence of natural radioisotopes in ground water was thought to be complex, involving source rocks, ground water chemistry, and the hydraulic stress placed on the aquifer.Chemical analyses of rock samples indicated that high concentrations of barium were widespread in rocks of the Cambrian and Ordovician Systems. The concentration of barium in ground water was controlled by solubility equilibria reactions with sulfate ion. A map showing sulfate ion concentration in the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer could be used to delimit regions where barium might occur at concentrations exceeding 1 milligram/liter.
Issue Date:1978-08-01
Publisher:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Water Resources Center
Genre:Report (Grant or Annual)
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/91631
Sponsor:U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Rights Information:Copyright 1978 held by the authors
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-09-28


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