Our coastal monitoring for Fukushima radionuclides is conducted through our network of InFORMal citizen scientists. Each month, these engaged citizens receive a sampling kit, pictured above,
and take it to their local shoreline where they fill the 20 L cubitainer with seawater. They record the time, date, and location where the sample was collected, and then ship everything back to the lab at the University of Victoria.
When the kit is received, the seawater is first filtered through a 1 micron ( 1 micron = 10-6 meter) cartridge to remove larger debris and sediments that might be present.
We remove the TidbiT Temperature sensor (Onset Hobo Data Loggers) and read out the data which tells us the seawater temperature at the time of sampling. A sample is also removed to measure the salinity of the seawater. Knowing the temperature and salinity of the sample helps us understand something about the history of the seawater and how much it might be influenced by river water or runoff from land. A small amount of non-radioactive cesium is then added to the sample to help us know how well we recover radioactive cesium in the next step.