From August 3 through 12, DOE Office of Legacy Management (LM) hydrologist William Dam traveled to Jordan to assist with the assessment of treatment options of naturally occurring radium in the drinking-water supply. He reviewed extensive hydrogeology, geochemistry, water treatment technologies, and waste-disposal options for improving a proposed pilot test, which, if successful, could have a large impact on potable drinking water in Jordan.
The mission was sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Jordan is listed as the second poorest country in the world for water resources, so potable water is only distributed to communities once or twice a week. Currently, groundwater containing radium is either not used or is mixed with surface water. LM also coordinated support from Pacific Northwest Laboratory, the U.S. Embassy, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Innovative new treatment options that conserve water are being considered to remove radium and manage low-level radioactive waste. If successful, the technology used in the pilot test could be upscaled to a larger area of 55 production wells. This mission supports LM’s Goal 1 commitment to environmental justice and to protecting human health and environment.