Raleigh Area Wells May Be Contaminated with Uranium
Wake County is currently in the process of notifying over 19,000 residents with private water wells that the water they depend on for drinking, cooking, and bathing may be contaminated with dangerously high levels of uranium, radium, and radon. According to the News & Observer, Wake County has been testing and notifying homes since 2010 regarding the high levels of radiological chemicals, but did not realize the scope of the issue or begin mass notification until last month. Officials estimated in late June that around 20 percent of water wells in the eastern part of Wake County may be significantly over safe standards for drinking water, with some water testing at 20 times the accepted threshold and some tests coming back showing 75 times the accepted level of uranium.
A few days after Wake County officials made a statement and began notifying residents , Johnston County officials also sounded the alarm that well water may be contaminated. While immediate water testing is recommended, due to the scope of the problem, Wake County is only providing discounted testing and filtration systems for families who meet set income guidelines.
Understanding Uranium Contamination in Well Water
Many homeowners in Raleigh are asking what is causing these high levels of uranium, radium, and radon to contaminate their wells. It’s important to know that this was not caused by industrial pollution or by human intervention. The issue lies with the high levels of granite in the groundwater around eastern North Carolina.
Granite, like all stones and rocks, contains naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium, and the decay products, like radon. While small amounts of granite, like what is in a countertop, won’t be dangerous, the amount of granite underground where wells are dug can lead to high levels of contamination.
The Risk of Uranium Contamination in Raleigh Wells
Continued exposure to unsafe levels of uranium, radium, and radon can lead to serious risks to your health and that of your family. The immediate threat is kidney toxicity caused by drinking water with excessive uranium. Over time, exposure can increase the risk of multiple types of cancer. So far, two people in Wake County have been diagnosed with illness that is most likely related to their contaminated well water.
Well Testing and Water Treatment Options
If you live in eastern Wake County or Johnston County, you may be receiving a notification from county officials recommending well water testing. However, with such prevalence of granite in the ground water, even if you don’t receive a notification, you’ll want to contact a well service company for testing.
Because uranium, radium, and radon don’t have an odor, taste, or color, water that seems perfectly clean and safe may actually be very dangerous. Having your well water tested is essential to knowing if your water is safe and healthy for you and your family to consume. It’s recommended to test your wall water annually for fecal coliform bacteria, and every two years for heavy metals and nitrates.
If testing does show that there’s dangerously high levels of radiographic chemicals in your water, you need to take definitive steps to improve its quality. Switching to bottled water for drinking and cooking is expensive over time and doesn’t help that the water you’re using for bathing, washing dishes, and washing clothes is still unsafe. Having a well water filtration system installed ensures that virtually all contaminants will be removed, leaving behind pure, clean water free of metals, chlorine, uranium, and even chemicals that cause hard water.
Contact Us for Well Water Testing and Filtration
A & T Well and Pump provides comprehensive well service in Raleigh and the surrounding area. If you’re concerned about the safety of your water or it’s been longer than two years since you had it tested, we can help with thorough testing services. Should anything show up as a red flag, we can work with you to discuss your options to restore and ensure your water quality.