Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Karpagam Sankaran
Title:Estimating Exposure and Uncertainty for Volatile Contaminants in Drinking Water
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Civil and Environmental Engineering
Committee Chair: Dr. John C. Little
Committee Members:Dr. Daniel L. Gallagher
Dr. Marc Edwards
Keywords:Radon, VOCs, Exposure, Uncertainty
Date of defense:September 5, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


The EPA recently completed a major study to evaluate exposure and risk associated with a primary contaminant, radon and its progeny in drinking water (EPA, 1995). This work resulted in the development of a Monte Carlo Simulation model written in the programming language C. The model developed by the EPA has been used to estimate the cancer fatality risk from radon in water for exposed populations served by community ground water supplies, and to provide a quantitative analysis of the uncertainty associated with the calculations (EPA, 1995). This research is a continuation of the study conducted by the EPA. In this project, a Monte Carlo computer model will be developed to evaluate the risk associated with exposure to volatile compounds in drinking water. The model will be based on a computer program (developed previously by the EPA) for estimating the risks associated with exposure to radon in drinking water. The model will be re-implemented in the form of a computer program written in C. The analysis for radon will be extended to include the entire range of contaminants found in drinking water supplies. The initial focus of the project has been on extending the analysis to cover the ingestion exposure pathway for volatile compounds, but ultimately the risk via ingestion and dermal sorption will also be evaluated. The integrated model can estimate the risks associated with various levels of contaminants in drinking water and should prove valuable in establishing Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for the entire range of contaminants found in water supplies and generated in water treatment and distribution systems.

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