|SREL Reprint #0377|
Patterns of Radiocesium in the Sediments of a Stream
Channel Contaminated by Production Reactor Effluents
Brisbin, Jr., Robert J. Beyers, Richard W. Dapson, Richard A. Geiger, John B.
Gentry, J. Whitfield Gibbons, Michael H. Smith and Stephen K. Woods
Levels of radiocesium contamination of the sediments of the stream bed,
delta and associated floodplains of Steel Creek of the AEC Savannah River Plant
are among the highest reported for a natural system. Desorption studies have shown that the radiocesium is not
tightly held by the sediments. Fine-particle
silt and clay sediments averaged 170.47 pCi/g dry weight, with a maximum of
561.96 pCi/g dry weight and were higher in radiocesium content than the coarser
sediments which averaged 18.10 pCi/g. Differential
distribution of fine and coarse sediments in the stream channel region has
resulted in a complex surface mosaic of radiocesium contamination.
Samples collected 1 m apart differed in radiocesium content by as much as
190% of their mean. Greater
deposition of fine sediments on the delta has given this area the greatest total
radiocesium content, although the radiocesium content of the fine sediments, on
a per gram basis, was no greater in the delta region than further upstream.
Radiocesium was correlated with both available potassium and organic
matter content of the sediments, and over 68% of the total radiocesium was found
in the upper 20 cm of sediments.
SREL Reprint #0377
Brisbin, I.L., Jr., R.J. Beyers, R.W. Dapson, R.A.
Geiger, J.B. Gentry, J.W. Gibbons, M.H. Smith, and S.K.
Woods. 1974. Patterns of radiocesium in the sediments of a
stream channel contaminated by production reactor effluents.
Health Physics 27:19-27.