Many different compounds can be found in well water throughout the state of Maryland, and some of them are quite hazardous to human health. In 1998, Anne Arundel County set out to determine what level of water quality private wells throughout the area contained, and they found that 15 of the 22 wells sampled contained naturally occurring radium above the level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water. What exactly is radium, and how can you protect your well water from elevated levels of it?
What Is Radium?
Radium is formed by radioactive decay on the elements uranium and thorium. As this occurs, radium will emit gamma rays and alpha particles and eventually decay to become radon. When radium is found in drinking water supplies, it can be concerning for homeowners. Radium has been connected to many different side effects and human health impacts, including cancer, kidney damage and birth defects. If there is naturally occurring radium in your well water, you need to immediately take steps to protect your well water.
How Much Radium Can Be in My Drinking Water?
Like with many other compounds, the Environmental Protection Agency set guidelines for the maximum contaminant level (MCL) allowed for radium. The level for combined radium 226/228 is 5 pCi/L and the gross alpha standard in drinking water is 15 pCi/L. Keep in mind that the MCL is decided based on how safe the water will be to consume regularly over a lifetime, so the recommendations might be higher than your personal comfort level.
One of the reasons why radium has strict levels in drinking water is because we naturally consume some through the things we eat and drink. Once we consume it, a small amount will attach itself to our bones the way that calcium does. The majority of the radium that we ingest will leave the body in the form of waste. If we ingest too much radium, it can lead to cancer.
How Can I Tell How Much Radium Is in My Private Well?
The best way to determine whether or not you need to protect your well water from radium is with water testing. There might be nothing dangerous inside of your well, but there is no way of knowing without testing. Increased levels of radium will not change the taste, smell or appearance of your water, so there is no one symptom that determines whether or not it should be checked.
Before investing in additional testing, you should contact your local health department and the team at Hague Quality Water of Maryland to learn more about testing. The first test will analyze your well water for short-term gross alpha activity. This is a screening test designed to determine if you will need more testing and how you should protect your well water. Once you get the results, you can determine if more comprehensive testing is required.
Take Action to Protect Your Well Water
If the gross alpha or combined radium in your well water is under 5 pCi/l, you do not need to take any additional steps. If the gross alpha measurement is between 5 and 15 pCi/l, you should:
- Contact Hague Quality Water of Maryland
- Test for radium 226 and radium 228
If you have testing performed to measure radium 226 and radium 228 and levels are higher than recommended, you should consider installing an innovative and comprehensive home water treatment system.
If the gross alpha measurement is 15 pCi/l or higher or if the combined radium levels are 5 pCi/l or higher, you should contact Hague Quality Water of Maryland immediately and invest in a whole-house water treatment system.
How We Can Help Protect Your Well Water
The most innovative and thorough method we recommend for private well water treatment in Anne Arundel County is the WaterMax® System. At Hague Quality Water of Maryland, we have connected many homeowners with well water with this solution, and it can be used to remove poor tastes, bad odors and be used alongside a reverse osmosis system to remove radium from your water. Because radium often occurs alongside other substances and contaminants, a reverse osmosis system coupled with the powerhouse WaterMax® System is a great way to protect your well water.
Our whole-house water treatment systems can be customized to meet your needs based on the results of your water testing. Your custom water treatment plan to protect your well water can utilize our WaterMax® System and reverse osmosis, iron removal, UV disinfection and other methods to take your well water from dangerous to safe and delicious.
In addition to our WaterMax® System, you will get a 25-year Manufacturer’s Limited warranty. This warranty is designed to give you the confidence and peace of mind that your water will remain clean and healthy for decades, and that we will take care of any issues.
Get Help for Radium Treatment in Private Wells with Hague Quality Water of Maryland
If your family lives in a home that uses a well, and you are concerned about the quality and contents of your water, we are here to help. Whether you need the Hague WaterMax® System or additional filtration beyond that, our team cares deeply about the health and safety of your family. For water you can trust, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland at (410) 757-2992.