Development of a Continue, Intelligent, Autonomous, Real Time Monitoring and Alarming System for Radon Detection in Ground-Water

Desarrollo de un sistema de alarma y monitorización en tiempo real contínuo, inteligente y autónomopara la detección de Radon en aguas subterráneas



Programa: Fifth Framework Programme

Inicio del proyecto: Vie, 01/03/2002

Finalización del proyecto: Dom, 29/02/2004

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Scientific objectives and approach:

The implementation of this project will have far reaching environmental implications for different region. At present no measures have been applied whatsoever to deal with the threat to water quality. The project can therefore be expected to provide a significant improvement on the current situation. The problem of water quality is present throughout the region, as a result of a combination of geological factors. There is a clear need to take immediate measures, to evaluate the scale of the problem, to establish monitoring in relevant sites, and to introduce measures which will lead to an improvement in water quality. It aids the implementation of the first European standardization water policy, which focuses on the maximum allowed quantities of radon authorized in drinking and environmental water. It is clear that there are some technical risks, but the partnership will take all the protections for a successful.
A significant part of the project proposal is the development of a continuous real-time monitoring station which is able to detect with a high degree of accuracy even a very low radon concentration in water. The development of this station requires a structured approach by establishing the appropriate design parameters for prototype instrumentation, involving all participants in clearly defining operational requirements, engineering framework, consolidating research, prototype development and laboratory testing of all the key modules. The resulted engineering specification would allow rapid transfer of this technology into manufacture in addition to the determination of operational specifications, thus allowing a complete appraisal of the market potential. The target levels will be selected for the further remedial actions based on the relevant ecological conditions and human health to be protected. Again, suggestions will be made on feasible remedial actions to remove water contamination or to reduce the risks.

Problems to be solved:

In homes, buildings, drinking water and ground water, in some areas of the world, radon produced by the radioactive decay of uranium-238, present in soil, in rock and in groundwater can reach levels regarded as dangerous. To date, only Standard Method 7500-Rn (liquid scintillation counting) and the Lucas Cell methods have adequate inter-laboratory data for evaluation. It's take too long time for water analyses (3 to 4 days and 100 ¿ sample for lab analysis). For this reason the core of SME's has take a challenge for the development and construction of the first ever, real time, automated continuous monitoring radon in water and alarming system under computer supervision. It has to be strongly emphasized that the quality of life of the population depends on the quality of water which they use and reuse. The target of the project is to provide a sustainable radon contamination risk assessment and management tool. At the same time it will provide an effective qualitative and quantitative ground water monitoring.

Expected Impacts:

The proposers as well as other potential partners envisage a successful product which can be eventually manufactured and become commercially available. Due to the non existence of this kind of apparatus, it appears an opportunity for the SME core to access the international market.
Further this project will develop new type of environmental services (environmental contaminant control system) which can be offered by the partners. The possible clients include water companies, companies undertaking remediation and environmental monitoring, environmental and health agencies and local authorities. The use of the strategy developed in this project, as input to a decision support system, can provide economic benefits, when, for example, extreme events such as a high concentration of radon in a thermal station is monitored.