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Radon measurements in water are no easy task. All over the world, radon in water is measured in laboratory conditions using special equipment. You can take a water sample for analysis to a local sanitary and epidemiological agency or scientific institute conducting such research. It is expensive (the radiology analysis at a local agency will cost you about RUB 4,000) and takes a few days.

Based on our many years of experience in creating and using sorbents to detect and extract radionuclides, we developed a simple device for indicating radon in water. It does not provide exact values but helps to determine in a residential environment whether there is a dangerous concentration of radon in water. And this is exactly what you need for your own peace of mind.   

Water is tested for radon using the Sorben-Tec technology patented by EKSORB for quick assessment of radionuclides in water. A similar method is applied to estimate the content of technogenic 137Cs radionuclides in water.

DEVICE DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION

Radon and radon daughters (RD) are alpha emitters whereas low levels of beta and gamma radiation from RD dissolved in water are not detected by household dosimeters. However, if radon and radon daughters are concentrated hundreds of times in a small volume, e.g. in 20 mL of sorbent from 5 liters of water, their radiation power becomes detectable by dosimeters and radiometers for home use.

This is the basis for the operation of our system, which is a standard lid for a 5-liter plastic bottle with a sorbent capsule fixed to the lid. To perform the test, fill the five-liter bottle with water from a well. Ideally, the bottle is filled with water through a hose inserted into the bottle so that it touches the bottom, without bubbling or water flow disturbance to prevent radon from escaping into the air. The bottle should be filled up to the lid without an air gap. seal the bottle with a cap and leave the water to settle for three hours to ensure the balance between radon and radon daughters. After that, remove the cap and screw the lid on. Turn the bottle upside down and let the water pass through sorbent. The process takes about 30 minutes. 

Then remove the lid and measure beta activity on the inner surface of the sorbent column with a simple home use radiation meter. The measurements will provide a qualitative estimate of radon content in water. If the dose rate measured by our system is exceeded by more than 0.5-1 µSv/h, it means that there may be a risk of a higher radon level exceeding the limit (the limit is 60 Bq/L). In this case, we recommend laboratory testing for a more precise analysis of radon contents in water and measures to improve water quality.

Sorben-Tec prototype appearance

The background reading is 0.17 µSv/h.

 

Water is filtered from a five-liter bottle through a device filled with sorbent. The process takes about 20-30 minutes.After water with high radon levels (more than 500 Bq/L) is filtered, the device reading is 4.76 µSv/h, which is more than 20 times higher than the background level. 

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