Radioactive isotopes in Danish drinking water

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    A screening investigation of radioactivity in Danish drinking water has been carried out during 2001-2003. Samples of drinking water were collected from 296 water supplies representing more than 40% of the water delivered from water works in the country. Total alpha and total beta radioactivity was determined in the samples and compared with screening levels of 0.1 Bq/l total alpha and 1 Bq/l total beta radioactivity. The levels for total beta radioactivity were met in all the water works while total alpha radioactivity exceeded the screening levels for 13 water supplies.

    Further investigations were carried out for the water works with concentrations of alpha radioactivity above the screening levels in Ebeltoft, Grenå and Frederikssund to estimate the total indicative dose from the water. The elevated levels were found to be due to uranium in the water from individual boreholes. Radiation doses from consumption of water at these uranium levels are estimated to be well below the total indicative dose of 0.1 mSv/y specified in the Drinking Water Directive.

    Groundwater used for drinking water was collected from different types of geological structures including bed rock and areas with potentially elevated levels of natural radioactivity. Also in these cases the concentrations of radioactivity were sufficiently low to meet the requirements in the Drinking Water Directive.

    In view of the results it seems probable that the risk of finding drinking water in Denmark with unacceptable concentrations of radioactivity is very small. Therefore there is no need for further radiological investigations of the Danish water supply based on natural groundwaters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCopenhagen
    PublisherDanish Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Agency
    Number of pages41
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    SeriesWorking Report no. 11, 2006


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