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Quantifying the Impact of Excluding the Submersion Exposure Route for Existing Superfund Radionuclide Screening Level Calcula...

Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides initial data screening guidelines for radionuclide-contaminated Superfund sites using preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) and dose compliance concentrations (DCCs). PRGs and DCCs are target concentration values based on acceptable excess lifetime cancer risk and annual dose limits, respectively. They are calculated for various environmental media that may be encountered by residential and worker land uses. PRGs and DCCs typically consist of multiple exposure routes. One of these routes is submersion, which is exposure to a gaseous or particulate radionuclide that is suspended in air. Currently, submersion is only included in air calculations. This study focused on determining whether factoring submersion into total PRG/DCC calculations for soil and tap water created a significant difference in the target concentrations. New equations for individual submersion PRGs/DCCs for each land use of interest for soil and tap water were developed. A wind-driven particulate emission factor and Andelman’s constant were used to model the amount of soil and vapor in the air from soil and household use of tap water, respectively. The submersion PRG/DCC was then included in the total PRG/DCC for each radionuclide, followed by a percent difference comparison of the old and new totals to quantify the impact of the change. For total soil PRGs/DCCs, with and without submersion, the difference was less than 1 percent; however, many of the tap water radionuclides analyzed – including multiple radon and polonium isotopes – showed as high as a 200 percent difference.

This technical memorandum (TM) presents recommendations for updates to current EPA guidelines for initial data screens of radionuclide contaminated tap water.