Skip to content
Environmental Surveillance Oversight Program (ESOP)

Radiological Monitoring of Surface Water

Image of a person collecting surface water samples

Radiological monitoring of surface water (RSW) is conducted on and adjacent to the Savannah River Site (SRS). Routine samples from surface water locations are collected weekly for tritium analysis. Samples are also collected weekly from each location to produce a monthly composite. The monthly composites from each location are analyzed for gross alpha, gross beta and beta-gamma-emitting radionuclides.

The primary purpose of the RSW project is to provide downstream drinking water customers with advance notice of an SRS release. ESOP staff collect surface water samples every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Automatic samplers are programmed to collect stream water every 30 minutes at locations that are part of the existing surface water monitoring network. Samples are analyzed on the same day they are collected. If tritium is found at any location at a concentration that would exceed 20,000 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in the Savannah River, then an emergency protocol system would be activated. ESOP would immediately notify the Department of Energy at SRS, the S.C. DHEC Nuclear Emergency Response Section, and the S.C. DHEC Region 8 Office so that additional samples could be collected and appropriate actions taken. This method of projecting tritium concentrations in the Savannah River from stream samples is dependent upon real-time stream and river flow.

For additional information, contact: (803) 642-1637