Analysis of the radon concentrations in natural mineral and tap water using Lucas cells technique

    M. R. Calin Affiliation
    ; A. C. Ion Affiliation
    ; I. Radulescu Affiliation
    ; C. A. Simion Affiliation
    ; M. M. Mincu Affiliation
    ; I. Ion Affiliation


The aims of this study were to determine the radon concentration in natural mineral and tap water and to estimate the resulting ingestion doses received by adults. Physical-chemical characteristics of water samples have also been investigated. In the last years have been an increase of water consumption of both, natural mineral and tap, many sources and producers being available on the market. Thus, the physical-chemical and radiologic parameters of water must be in compliance with the Drinking Water Directive (DWD). Thus, the study presents an assessment of the radioactivity due to 222Rn and 3H in several mineral natural water samples from the north region of Romania, but also in several tap water samples. The methods used were based on gamma spectrometry, gross alpha-beta measurements and beta spectroscopy, but also ICP-MS for chemical parameters. The results of this work showed that the geology and rock types clearly influence the water radon concentration. The radon concentration is lower in the water that passes through sedimentary rocks than that passing through granitic rocks. An important aspect of this work is to provide reliable information regarding radon and tritium concentrations. Radon concentration varied between 0.15±0.05 Bq/L and 11.35±2.97 Bq/L in the natural mineral water samples and between 0.17±0.05 Bq/L and 8.51±2.34 Bq/L in the tap water samples. An estimation of annual effective radiation dose based on the sample results was also made. Calculated values for ingestion dose due to regular consumption of water does not induce a health risk because of the intake of various radionuclides contained in the water. The maximum values being of 47.38 µSv/y. The determined values for the collected samples are below recommended reference levels, but more important aspect is that this study emphasise environmental sustainability in the investigated area.

Keyword : radon activity concentration, drinking water, natural mineral waters, Lucas cell, dose estimation

How to Cite
Calin, M. R., Ion, A. C., Radulescu, I., Simion, C. A., Mincu, M. M., & Ion, I. (2022). Analysis of the radon concentrations in natural mineral and tap water using Lucas cells technique. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management, 30(3), 370–379.
Published in Issue
Sep 27, 2022
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Alonso, H., Cruz-Fuentes, T., Rubiano, J. G., González-Guerra, J., del Carmen Cabrera, M., Arnedo, M. A., Tejera, A., Rodríguez-Gonzalez, A., Pérez-Torrado, F. J., & Martel, P. (2015). Radon in groundwater of the Northeastern Gran Canaria aquifer. Water, 7, 2575–2590.

Baeza, A., Díaz, M., García, E., & Miró, C. (2002). Influence of interbasin transfers between the Alcántara and Guadiloba reservoirs on the radiological quality of the drinking water of the city of Cáceres (Spain). Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 252, 441–449.

Biancotto, R., Lafisca, S., Lucchese, R., Martinelli, C., Predicatori, F., Rosa, M., Tacconi, A., & Trotti, F. (1991). Radon concentration in mineral and thermal waters of Veneto: An estimate of ingestion and inhalation doses. Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 36, 129–135.

Bonotto, D. M. (2014). 222Rn, 220Rn and other dissolved gases in mineral waters of southeast Brazil. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 132, 21–30.

Borio, R., Rongoni, A., Saetta, D. M. S., Desideri, D., & Roselli, C. (2005). Radon and tritium measurements in drinking water in a region of central Italy (Umbria). Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 266, 397–403.

Broda, R., Cassette, Ph., & Kossert, K. (2007). Radionuclide metrology using liquid scintillation counting. Metrologia, 44, S36–S52.

Calin, M. R., Ion, A. C., & Radulescu, I. (2015). Evaluation of quality parameters and of natural radionuclides concentrations in natural mineral water in Romania. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 303, 305–313.

Calin, M. R., Ivan, C., Dragusin, M., & Radulescu, I. (2019). Measurement and assessment of radon gas concentration in IFIN-HH and ELI-NP using the active method. Romanian Journal of Physics, 64, 813.

Calin, M. R., Radulescu, I., Ion, A. C., & Sirbu, F. (2016). Radiochemical investigations on natural mineral waters from Bucovina region, Romania. Romanian Journal of Physics, 61, 1051–1066.

Council of the European Union. (2013, October 22). Laying down requirements for the protection of the health of the general public with regard to radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption (Council Directive 2013/51/Euratom).

Cucos, A. L., Moldovan, M. C., & Burghele, B. D. (2021). Radiological risk assessment for karstic springs used as drinking water in rural Romania. Atmosphere, 12, 1207.

de Meijer, R. J. (1998). Heavy minerals: From ‘Edelstein’ to Einstein. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 62, 81–103.

European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. (2009, June 18). Exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters (Directive 2009/54/EC).

Froehlich, K. (Ed.). (2010). Radioactivity in the environment. In Environmental radionuclides: Tracers and timers of terrestrial processes (Vol. 16). Elsevier.

Gibbons, D., & Kalin, R. (1997). A survey of radon-222 in ground water from the Sherwood Sandstone Aquifer: Belfast and Newtownards, Northern Ireland. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation, 17, 88–92.

Hoehn, E., von Gunten, H. R., Stauffer, F., & Dracos, T. (1992). Radon-222 as a groundwater tracer. A laboratory study. Environmental Science & Technology, 26, 734–738.

International Organization for Standardization. (2015). Water quality. Determination of the volumic activity of Tritium. Method by counting scintillations in liquid medium (SR ISO 9698).

Ion, I. I., Ion, A. C., Calin, M. R., Radulescu, I., & Bogdan, D. (2019). Assessment of chemical parameters and natural radionuclides concentrations in carbonated natural mineral water and contribution to radiation dose. Romanian Journal of Physics, 64, 804.

Ismail, N. F., Hashim, S., Sanusi, M. S. M., Rahman, A. T. A., & Bradley, D. A. (2021). Radon levels of water sources in the southwest coastal region of Peninsular Malaysia. Applied Sciences, 11, 6842.

Kendall, C., & McDonnell, J. J. (1998). Isotope tracers in catchment hydrology. Elsevier.

Khan, A. R., Rafique, M., Rahman, S. U., Basharat, M., Shahzadi, C., & Ahmed, I. (2019). Geo-spatial analysis of radon in spring and well water using kriging interpolation method. Water Supply, 19(1), 222–235.

Kitto, M. E., Parakh, P. P., Torres, M. A., & Shneider, D. (2005). Radionuclide and chemical concentrations in mineral waters at Saratoga Springs, New York. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 80, 327–339.

Ladygiene, R., Mastauskas, A., Morkunas, G., & Gasiunas, K. (1999). Determination of 222Rn concentrations in Lithuanian spa waters by liquid scintillation counting. Czechoslovak Journal of Physics, 49, 473–478.

Lerena, J. J., Cortina, D., Durán, I., & Sorribas, R. (2013). Impact of the geological substrate on the radiological content of Galician waters. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 116, 48–53.

Nandakumaran, P., Vinayachandran, N., Anitha Shyam, T. S., Jose, B., Sreehari Sarangan, M. S., & Santhana Subramani, M. (2016). Radon in groundwater in parts of coastal tracts of southern Kerala, India. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 308, 99–104.

Nasir, T., Matiullah, M., Rafique, K. M., & Rubeena, T. (2015). Measurement of waterborne radon in the drinking water of the Dera Ismail Khan city using active and passive techniques. Nuclear Technology and Radiation Protection, 30, 139–144.

National Commission for Controlling Nuclear Activities. (2018). Norms regarding the estimation of the effective doses and of the equivalent doses due to the internal and external exposure (CNCAN Order no. 145/2018). Official Gazette of Romania, Part I, no. 555.

Nita, D. C., Moldovan, M., & Cosma, C. (2014). Radon measurement in carbonated water with the Lucas cell and charcoal adsorption methods. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 299, 25–30.

Oner, F., Yigitoglu, I., & Yalim, H. A. (2013). Measurements of radon concentrations in spa waters in Amasya, Turkey. Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 157, 221–224.

Palomo, M., Penãlver, A., Borrull, F., & Aguilar, C. (2007). Measurement of radioactivity in bottled drinking water in Spain. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 65, 1165–1172.

Patnaik, P. (Ed.). (2010). Handbook of environmental analysis: Chemical pollutants in air, water, soil, and solid wastes. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Pierre, S., Cassette, P., Sabot, B., Fréchou, C., Antohe, A., Barna, C., Blahušiak, P., Cardellini, F., Dersch, R., Honig, A., Juget, F., Krivošík, M., Luca, A., Maringer, F. J., Mertes, F., Röttger, S., Sahagia, M., Slučiak, J., Stietka, M., Szűcs, L., & Teodorescu, C. (2021). International comparison of activity measurements of radon 222 – EURAMET Project no 1475 – EURAMET.RI(II)-S8.Rn-222. Metrologia, 58, 06015.

Poe, G. L., van Es, H. M., VandenBerg, T. P., & Bishop, R. C. (1998). Do participants in well water testing programs update their exposure and health risk perceptions? Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 53, 320–325.

Pylon Electronic Development Company Ltd. (1991). Vacuum water-degassing system manual (A900037, Rev. 2. 147). Co­lon­nade Road, Ottawa, Canada.

Radulescu, I., Calin, M. R., Ion, I. I., Ion, A. C., Capra, L., & Simion, C. A. (2017). Gross alpha, gross beta and gamma activities in bottled natural mineral water from Romania. Romanian Reports of Physics, 69, 710.

Romanian Parliament. (2015, November 27). Establishing the requirements for the protection of the health of the population regarding radioactive substances in drinking water (Romanian Law no. 301).

Salonen, L. (1988). Natural radionuclides in groundwaters in Finland. Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 24, 163–166.

Schäfer, I. (2010). Determination of Tritium activities in ground and surface water after electrolytic enrichment (Application Note 46, R. Edler, Rev. and Trans.). PerkinElmer® Inc.

Seiler, R. L. (2011). 210Po in Nevada groundwater and its relation to gross alpha radioactivity. Groundwater, 49, 160–171.

Silva, C. R., Machado, D. V., & da Silva-Filho, E. V. (2019). Determination of the natural radioactivity in the mineral water distributed in the Salutaris Park, Paraíba do Sul, Brazil. Environmental Earth Sciences, 78, 639.

Somlai, K., Tokonami, S., Ishikawa, T., Vancsura, P., Gáspár, M., Jobbágy, V., Somlai, J., & Kovács, T. (2007). 222Rn concentrations of water in the Balaton Highland and in the southern part of Hungary, and the assessment of the resulting dose. Radiation Measurements, 42, 491–495.

Sukanya, S., Sabu, J., & Noble, J. (2020). Evaluation of radiation dose from radon ingestion and inhalation in groundwater of a small tropical river basin, Kerala, India. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 57, 204–215.

Todorovic, N., Nikolov, J., Forkapic, S., Bikit, I., Mrdja, D., Krmar, M., & Veskovic, M. (2012). Public exposure to radon in drinking water in SERBIA. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 70, 543–549.

Trautmannsheimer, M., Schindlmeier, W., & Hübel, K. (2002). Radon exposure levels of the staff in the drinking water supply facilities in Bavaria, Germany. International Congress Series, 1225, 81–86.

Tudor, A. (2018). The quality of drinking water distributed in a centralized system in the supply areas with over 5,000 inhabitants or with a distributed water volume of over 1000 m3/day (National synthetic report year).

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. (2000). Annex B: Exposures from natural radiation sources. In Sources and effects of ionizing radiation.

Varlam, C., Stefanescu, I., Duliu, O. G., Faurescu, I., & Popescu, I. (2009). Applying direct liquid scintillation counting to low-level tritium measurement. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 67, 812–816.

Wallner, G., & Steininger, G. (2007). Radium isotopes and 222Rn in Austrian drinking waters. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 274(3), 511–516.

World Health Organization. (2017). Guidelines for drinking-water quality (4th ed.). Geneva.

Yuce, G., Fu, C. C., D’Alessandro, W., Gulbay, A. H., Lai, C. W., Bollomo, S., Yang, F., Italiano, F., & Walla, V. (2017). Geochemical characteristics of soil radon and carbon dioxide within the Dead Sea, Turkey. Chemical Geology, 469, 129–146.