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Uranium, Arsenic, Pesticides, and Radon in Well Water

Uranium, Arsenic, Pesticides, and Radon in water is being tested more frequently in recent times either due to regulation, the state and county you live in, state and EPA limits, or consumer interest.  These may come up when a home is offered for sale.  For example, in Connecticut, the Department of Health strongly recommends that you test for Arsenic and Uranium due to the number of incidences that has been found in the state as well as the fact that it is on the EPA’s list of contaminants.  Connecticut also has a limit set for Radon in Water at a MCL (maximum contaminant level) of 5,000 pCi/l.  Additionally the City of Stamford Department of Health strongly recommends that all wells be tested for Arsenic, Uranium, pesticides and other contaminants.

In New York EPA guidelines are generally followed but some counties, like Westchester, have their own mandates.  For example in Westchester county it is the seller’s responsibility to test for arsenic, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), bacteria, and other secondary contaminants but they do not require uranium or radon water testing. It’s best to check with your realtor, attorney, or home inspector if you are planning on selling or buying a house with regard to what is required.

Water Facts
Arsenic
is a tasteless, odorless metal and is naturally present in bedrock and some soils.  It is a cancer causing agent and can increase the risk of  bladder, lung, and skin cancer.  It can also create problems with the skin and cardiovascular, immune and neurological systems.  The EPA MCL is 0.01mg/l.  It can be treated at the point of use (sink) with a reverse osmosis system or the whole house with metal oxide and ion exchange systems.  Because the risk with arsenic is primarily related to ingestion a reverse osmosis system can solve the problem, however, some people feel better treating the whole house which would take care of every tap in the home versus just one dedicated faucet in the kitchen.

Uranium is a tasteless, odorless metal and is naturally present in bedrock.  Most ingested uranium is eliminated from the body but small amounts are absorbed and carried through the bloodstream and can affect the kidneys over time.  The EPA MCL is 30 ug/l.  Reverse osmosis removes uranium effectively and is considered sufficient, however whole house systems can treat every tap and provide added benefits.

Radon is an odorless colorless radioactive gas and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non smokers.  It  can be found in water as well as air.  The Connecticut MCL is set at 5,000 pCi/l.  New York does not currently have a MCL for radon in water.  There are two method of treatment for radon in water, granular activated carbon (GAC) or aeration. The system you need depends on your level of radon.

Testing is the only way to determine if you have one of these contaminants in your water.  You can get testing through a state certified lab, home inspector, or your local health department.  Depending on the specific contaminant, testing can range from $50 to $200 for individual items or a few hundred dollars for a group of tests.  You can call us here at Alliance for more specific information.

!!!Stamford residents!!!  The Stamford DPH currently has an offer on a first come first serve basis for uranium, arsenic, and pesticide tests (all three) for $100.  This group of tests retails for around $350.  Call the hotline number 203-977-0816 for scheduling.  Leave your name and number and they will call you back.  For questions call the lab director, Jim Federici, at 203-977-4378.

John Piatek
Licensed Contractor
National Radon Safety Board
Licensed Water Treatment Professional
Certified Radon Mitigation and Testing Specialist
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Alliance Water Treatment Company
PO Box 3036
Stamford, CT 06905
1-800-838-0596
Fax: 1-203-621-3292
www.allianceh2o.com
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Water Treatment Equipment – Testing – Radon Remediation – Waterproofing