Radioactivity in well water is a developing issue. It was not a serious concern a couple of decades ago but with increase in radioactive discharge from nuclear power plants, hospitals, and factories. Since it your responsibility to maintain private water wells, you must know about radioactivity in well water and how to deal with it.
How to test for Radioactivity in Water?
You can test your well water for radioactivity with home testing strips but we recommend lab testing. Labs are better equipped to identify radioactive elements and their concentration.
Standards for Radioactive Materials in Drinking Water
Environmental Protection Agency has set the standards for drinking water as follows.
- Combined radium 226/228 of 5 pCi/L
- A gross alpha standard for all alphas of 15 pCi/L (not including radon and uranium)
- A combined standard of 4 mrem/year for beta emitters
- MCL for uranium is 30 µg/L
If your results are above these limits, it is time for you to act fast and install a water treatment filter urgently.
Treatments to Remove Radioactive Elements from Water
Water Quality Association has listed the following methods to remove radioactive elements from your well water.
Reverse Osmosis – Reverse osmosis filters is best for removing radioactive elements from drinking water. A RO membrane can remove contaminants smaller than 0.001 microns. It is so small that it allows only water molecules to pass through. RO systems are up to 99% effective in removing radionuclides.
Recommended RO Filter: SpringWell’s Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
SpringWell RO filter is specifically designed for well water. The system has a 75-gallon daily filtration capacity to remove radioactive contaminants, TDS, heavy metals, VOCs, and fine particles in water.
The unit consists of one sediment filter, one RO membrane, and two carbon filters for 99% pure and healthy drinking water. It comes with a tap and mounting bracket for easy installation.
Salt-Based Water Softeners – You can also use a salt-based water softener to remove nuclides. Certain precautions must be followed in this regard. The regeneration process must be frequent. You must use a high-quality salt if you intend to remove radioactive elements from water. Pay special attention to the disposal of water wasted during the regeneration. You don’t want it to enter your well again. It has an efficiency of 90%.
Lime Softening – Lime softening can also be used to remove radium from water. Adding lime to water will catch the radioactive elements and form solids. It gives 80% accurate results. It is usually used in public systems, where they have the infrastructure to handle the lime solids.
Points of Use Systems – You can also use point of use systems to remove radioactive elements from drinking water. These filters sit over a tap or an appliance and provide up to 98% pure water.
Health Risks Associated with Radioactivity in Water
Radioactive contamination can lead to fatal diseases like lung, stomach, bone, brain, and other forms of cancer. Pregnant women and children are more exposed. Radioactivity in water can also damage kidneys.