This is a very common question asked from new home buyers as well as people who have lived in their homes for multiple years.
How Does Uranium Get Into Drinking Water?
Bedrock is the solid, intact part of the earth’s crust. It’s a 20-25 miles thick outer layer that rests on the earth’s mantle and is the foundation of Maine. In most places, a thin veneer of sediment, soil, and vegetation conceals the bedrock.
The amount of uranium in well water will vary depending upon its concentration in bedrock. However, even within areas that have bedrock types containing uranium, there is a large degree of variation within a relatively small area. Uranium gets into drinking water when groundwater dissolves minerals that contain uranium. Naturally occurring radiation levels in water are not likely to be high in shallow wells, but the potential exists for deep bedrock wells. High levels of uranium indicate the potential for radon and radium also to be present.
What causes Uranium to leach into well water?
Uranium isn’t seeping into the ground from some sort of industrial or residential pollution, at least not in Maine anyway. The truth is, uranium has always been a part of Maine’s geology. Think of Maine’s beautiful scenery such as Mount Katahdin, Cadillac Mountain, or Mount Kineo. All are rugged bedrock lacking a sediment veneer and exposing the bedrock to view. The general distribution and shape of Maine’s mountainous and lowland terrains are controlled by how different types of bedrock have been eroded through geologic time. Uranium is a naturally occurring element in Maine’s geology and dissolves into groundwater in some portions of Maine.
“I’ve tested for uranium before; why do I need to test again?”
“We’ve tested our water for uranium when I bought the house ten years ago, and it didn’t have uranium. So why is it there now?” These are understandably common questions we are often asked. The practice of testing for uranium has changed. It’s likely that if you look back at your old test results, uranium wasn’t something the lab even tested for back then. We advocate frequent testing because standards set many years ago for contaminants levels might not be today’s standards. An excellent example of changing standards is a recent change to the acceptable PFAS levels in drinking water.
It’s important to understand that your water will change as the environment around us changes.
TESTING YOUR WATER is the only way to know if there is uranium in your well water. Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends homeowners test their water every 3-5 years for uranium. The primary drinking water standard for uranium is thirty micrograms per liter (30ug/L). When your water test results return, you know you can count on FONTUS to be right there to help evaluate your test results.
What are the health effects of not filtering the Uranium out of your water?
Uranium is a heavy metal, which means your kidneys will do the heavy lifting; however, it may become problematic over time. In addition, uranium has been linked to cancers.
How much Uranium is too much in your water?
The State of Maine advises that if your water test results reveal a 30 ug/L or higher test result. If this is the case, the lab will notify you that your water has “failed a primary drinking water contaminant.” If this is the case, you should stop drinking your water. This is when a specialized water filtration system makes sense and when to call FONTUS for help.
“My water test showed uranium is IN MY WELL WATER – now what do I do?”
First, we must explain that eliminating the source is the only way to treat uranium exposure. Boiling your water will not remove uranium, which is a very dangerous common misunderstanding. Technically, boiling water with uranium INCREASES the concentration of uranium. Therefore, the best way to remove uranium from your well water is through filtration.
“How do I remove uranium from my well water?”
Questions about uranium water mitigation are very common, especially in Maine. There are several options to remediate your water. Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are proven to remove about 99% of contaminants, including uranium. Reverse osmosis uses a semipermeable membrane that reduces uranium and common contaminants like arsenic and lead.
“Point-of-use” (e.g., under the sink or at the tap) RO systems are the most common. Point-of-use RO systems work by separating contaminants out of the water and flushing them down the drain. Because uranium is typically just considered a drinking water issue, many customers just want to remove the uranium from the water they consume. Point-of-use treatment can be both effective, practical, and relatively inexpensive.
Another option is to treat the water that enters your home directly from the well called a ‘point-of-entry” system. Typically, a point-of-entry system treats all the water in the home using an anion-based resin. They are very similar to how a water softener works. For example, a family might consider a point-of-entry system if they are concerned with young children drinking water from locations not being treated by a point-of-use system. Another point-of-entry system is a whole house reverse osmosis system. However, it’s not typically recommended both due to high initial cost and ongoing maintenance.
Each home’s reverse osmosis solution will depend on the size of the house, the quantity of water needed, and the amount of water stored. Water test results and usage types are all part of the decision. This is part of the comprehensive discussion we will have when we come out to look at your water to determine the best solution.
HOW FONTUS CAN HELP
The FONTUS experts will provide a free immediate-response water test onsite for minerals. We can also correctly collect any state-certified samples needed for health-related contaminants. Then we send them to a state-certified Maine Lab for analysis. A comprehensive water test will test for Coliform Bacteria & E. coli (pos/neg), Nitrate, Nitrite, Fluoride, Chloride, Hardness, Copper, Iron, pH, Manganese, Sodium, Uranium, Lead, Arsenic, and Magnesium in your water. This test is an additional charge determined by the lab and paid to the lab.
WHAT IS A FREE IMMEDIATE-RESPONSE WATER TEST
An immediate-response water test is a test done onsite, getting your results immediately. This test allows us to determine if and what iron levels, manganese, hardness, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, and salinity are present in your water. By the end of our appointment, you’ll have all your questions answered. And, most importantly, you’ll have a plan in hand to make sure your water is clean and pure.
In short, taking control of your water supply is easy. Schedule your free immediate-response water test today. Call (207) 856-0066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with the water treatment specialists at FONTUS Water Treatment.
YOU CAN TRUST FONTUS WATER TREATMENT TO STAY BY YOUR SIDE
At FONTUS, we’re passionate about water purity. We pride ourselves on being reliable, hassle-free, and always available. For example, as the environment and your water change, we’re here to help evaluate your water. Through testing, installation, and maintenance, you can trust FONTUS to ensure clean, pure water for your home or office.