University of Iowa News Release
Nov. 15, 2004
Sewer Break At Oakdale Causes Low-level Radioactive
Low levels of radioactivity were released late Monday afternoon on the Oakdale
campus when a sewer broke, according to Jim Walker, director of the University
of Iowa Health Protection Office.
Walker said the milky, white substance was discovered in a low-lying, wooded
area south of the Oakdale Power Plant. A sample of the substance, tested
for radioactive material, was linked to the Oakdale Waste Storage Facility.
Walker said that solutions containing water and non-hazardous surfactants,
buffers, and salts were being discharged to the sanitary sewer line-a routine
and permitted activity--when the break occurred. Low-level radioisotopes
present in the fluid consist principally of tritium, carbon-14, and 32-phosphorous,
and the levels of radioactivity in the discharge were at 0.05 percent of
the allowable concentration.
The sewage pipe break occurred downstream from the lift station, allowing
the fluid to discharge to the surface. The substance is milky white because
that is how surfacants appear after mixing them with water, Walker said.
The stream of fluid was traced to its end and is being bermed to prevent
further travel," Walker said. "The fluid will be recovered and
disposed of properly, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is on-site
and providing guidance. The Iowa Department of Public Health Radiological
Division is also providing assistance."
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite
371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jim Walker, cell phone (319) 631-0306