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Evaluation of the Use of Reverse Osmosis to Eliminate Natural Radionuclides from Water Samples

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The objective of drinking water treatment plants (DWTP) is to supply the population with tap water that is in optimal condition and in compliance with water quality regulations. In the DWTP of L'Ampolla (Tarragona, Spain), slightly high values of gross alpha activity and the amount of salts in the raw water have been observed. Conventional treatment has reduced these levels only minimally. This study tested a tertiary treatment based on reverse osmosis is tested in an industrial pilot plant (240 m3/day) The efficiency of this pilot plant to reduce the gross alpha and beta activities and the activity of some individual radioisotopes (U238, U234, U235 and Ra226) was tested. Results showed that the elimination of alpha emitters was greater than 90%, whereas the elimination of beta emitters was about 35%. Overall, the data provided evidence that the pilot plant is effective for removing different radionuclides that can be present in the incoming water treated. Therefore, tertiary treatment based on reverse osmosis has a positive effect in water quality.

Keywords: gross alpha; gross beta; natural radionuclides; reverse osmosis; uranium

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2013

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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