Tritium is a weakly radioactive form of hydrogen. In nature, it's formed when cosmic particles hit Earth's atmosphere. Here at Fermilab, tritium is an expected byproduct of the operation of our particle accelerators. This website provides information on the monitoring and management of tritium at Fermilab.
Small but detectable levels of tritium — well below regulatory limits — are found in some ponds on the Fermilab site, in some of Fermilab's sanitary sewer water and sometimes in creeks leaving the Fermilab site. No tritium has been detected in wells on the Fermilab site. We are committed to go beyond merely satisfying regulatory limits and work to keep the levels of tritium as low as possible.
Although the levels of tritium discharged by Fermilab pose no health risk to our employees, visitors or neighbors, we take the matter very seriously. On this site you'll find the results of water samples taken at the boundary for the three creeks leaving the Fermilab site, results of samples taken from the sanitary sewer water, and information on the emission of small amounts of tritium into the air and the disposal of tritium as solid waste.
We believe that our employees, visitors and neighbors have the right to know what is happening on the laboratory site, and how we are keeping our commitment to protect the environment. We keep the public informed through this website, and discuss tritium management with our Community Advisory Board and local communities.
If you have any questions about tritium at Fermilab, please call the Office of Communication at 630-840-3351, or submit a question online.
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