On August 3 – 12, I joined another American and a representative from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit Jordan for assessing water treatment options of naturally-occurring radium in drinking water supplies. We also obtained logistical support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) office at the Embassy in Amman. The mission supports 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 per week! Currently, groundwater containing radium is either not used or mixed with surface water. Innovative new treatment options that conserves water are being considered to remove radium and manage low-level radioactive waste. My contributions include touring well fields, meeting officials, reviewing extensive hydrogeology, geochemistry, waste disposal options, and planning a proposed pilot test of a treatment facility to be built that uses ceramic filtration with hydrous manganese oxides. If we can obtain success at one well location, future planning will use this technology at numerous other locations.
I found the Jordanian people to be incredibly gracious, peaceful, well educated, and very respectful. It appears to be an island of peace surrounded by conflict. The water situation is made even worse by refugees coming from many nearby countries.
Please see the photo gallery for a few of the interesting views.