Long-term investigation of 137Cs and 134Cs in drinking water in the city of Zagreb, Croatia

  • 1 Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Radiation Protection Unit, , Ksaverska cesta 2, P. O. Box 291, HR-10001, Zagreb, Croatia


This paper presents the results of long-term investigations of 137Cs and 134Cs activity concentrations in drinking water in the city of Zagreb for the period 1987–2018. The highest activity concentrations of both radio-nuclides were measured in 1987, decreasing exponentially ever since, while 134Cs in several subsequent years fell under the detection limit. After the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011, the presence of 134Cs in drinking water was detected again. The environmental residence time for 137Cs was estimated to be 8.1 years in drinking water and 5.7 years in fallout. The correlation between 137Cs in fallout and in drinking water is very good, and this indicates that fallout is the main source of water contamination. The observed 134Cs/137Cs activity ratio in drinking water for the post-Chernobyl period was similar to the ratio found in other environmental samples. The estimation of annual effective doses received by the adult members of the Croatian population due to the intake of radiocaesium in drinking water showed quite small doses of 0.28 μSv in 1987 decreasing to 2.5 nSv in 2018, which indicated that drinking water was not a critical pathway for the transfer of radiocaesium to humans.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. European Union. (2013). Council Directive 2013/51/ Euratom of 22 October 2013 laying down requirements for the protection of the health of the general public with regard to radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption. Official Journal of the European Union, 7.11.2013, L 296/2012.

  • 2. Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia. (2009). Law on water for human consumption. Consolidated Laws No. 56/2013, 64/2015, 104/2017. (in Croatian).

  • 3. Marovic, G., Avdic, M., Babić, D., Bituh, T., Branica, G., Franic, Z., Franulovic, I., Kolar, M., Petrinec, B., Petroci, Lj., Sencar, J., Skoko, B., & Sostaric, M. (1988–2018). Results of environmental radioactivity measurements in the Republic of Croatia 19872018. Zagreb: IMI. (IMI-CRZ-98).

  • 4. International Atomic Energy Agency. (1989). Measurement of radionuclides in food and the environment. A guidebook. Vienna: IAEA. (Technical Reports Series no. 295).

  • 5. Croatian Accreditation Agency. (2018). Accreditation certificate No. 1288. (Determination of radioactivity. Testing of ambient air quality. Testing in the scope of ionizing radiation protection). Retrieved June 17, 2019, from http://www.akreditacija.hr/akreditacija/files/read.php?%20re=16244__akredFile&wr=1288.

  • 6. Petrinec, B., Franic, Z., Bituh, T., & Babic, D. (2011). Quality assurance in gamma-ray spectrometry of seabed sediments. Arhiv Hig. Rada Toksikol., 62(4), 17–23. DOI: 10.2478/10004-1254-62-2011-2078.

  • 7. Franic, Z., Marovic, G., Petrinec, B., & Branica, G. (2017). Post-Chernobyl investigations of radiocesium activity concentrations in cistern waters along the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea. Health Phys., 113(3), 167–174. DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000685.

  • 8. European Union. (1996). Council Directive 96/29/ Euratom of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionizing radiation. Official Journal of the European Union, L 159/1996.

  • 9. International Atomic Energy Agency. (2014). Radiation protection and safety of radiation sources: International basic safety standards. Vienna: IAEA. (Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 3).

  • 10. International Atomic Energy Agency. (2006). Environmental consequences of the Chernobyl accident and their remediation: twenty years of experience. Vienna: IAEA.

  • 11. Franic, Z., Marovic, G., Lokobauer, N., & Sencar, J. (1998). Radiocaesium activity concentrations in milk in the Republic of Croatia and dose assessment. Environ. Monit. Assess., 51(3), 695–704. DOI: 10.1023/A:1005866703215.

  • 12. Franic, Z., Sega, K., Petrinec, B., & Marovic, G. (2009). Long-term investigations of post-Chernobyl radiocaesium in fallout and air in North Croatia. Environ. Monit. Assess., 148(1), 315–323. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-008-0162-4.

  • 13. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. (1982). Ionizing radiation: Sources and biological effects. New York: United Nations.

  • 14. Risica, S., & Grande, S. (2000). Council Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption: Calculation of derived activity concentrations. Rome: Istituto di Superiore di Sanitas. (ISTISAN Report 00/16).


Journal + Issues