Measurement of Tritium in Gas Phase Soil Moisture and Helium-3 in Soil Gas at the Hanford Townsite and 100 K Area
Description: In 1999, soil gas samples for helium-3 measurements were collected at two locations on the Hanford Site. Eight soil gas sampling points ranging in depth from 1.5 to 9.8 m (4.9 to 32 ft) below ground surface (bgs) in two clusters were installed adjacent to well 699-41-1, south of the Hanford Townsite. Fifteen soil gas sampling points, ranging in depth from 2.1 to 3.2 m (7 to 10.4 ft) bgs, were installed to the north and east of the 100 KE Reactor. Gas phase soil moisture samples were collected using silica gel traps from all eight sampling locations adjacent to well 699-41-1 and eight locations at the 100 K Area. No detectable tritium (<240 pCi/L) was found in the soil moisture samples from either the Hanford Townsite or 100 K Area sampling points. This suggests that tritiated moisture from groundwater is not migrating upward to the sampling points and there are no large vadose zone sources of tritium at either location. Helium-3 analyses of the soil gas samples showed significant enrichments relative to ambient air helium-3 concentrations with a depth dependence consistent with a groundwater source from decay of tritium. Helium-3/helium-4 ratios (normalized to the abundances in ambient air) at the Hanford Townsite ranged from 1.012 at 1.5 m (5 ft) bgs to 2.157 at 9.8 m (32 ft) bgs. Helium-3/helium-4 ratios at the 100 K Area ranged from 0.972 to 1.131. Based on results from the 100 K Area, the authors believe that a major tritium plume does not lie within that study area. The data also suggest there may be a tritium groundwater plume or a source of helium-3 to the southeast of the study area. They recommend that the study be continued by placing additional soil gas sampling points along the perimeter road to the west and ...
Date: July 5, 2000
Creator: Olsen, KB; Patton, GW; Poreda, R; Dresel, PE & Evans, JC
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