Radon in Water – How to Test and Remove it
Defeating the Silent Threat: Waterborne Radon in the Home
Radon in water is one of the most serious cancer-causing agents in America. Therefore, exposure to it is a danger that all homeowners should consider. Radon can affect houses of every size and type and can threaten both brand new homes and those that were built some time ago. For this reason, ensuring that the home is free of radon is of vital importance for all homeowners.
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is also naturally radioactive. It is produced during the process of radioactive decay in uranium, which is found to some degree in all rock and soil. Generally, the radon itself decays, releasing various forms of radiation including gamma rays, alpha and beta radiation. This process continues over a long period of time until the radon is reduced to a non-radioactive form.
When human beings are exposed to radon, lung cancer can result as the radioactive material is inhaled into the lungs where it attacks the vulnerable lung tissue. Due to this effect, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Only habitual smoking poses a higher risk of lung cancer.
Sources of Radon in Water
Radon in water is dangerous because any disturbance of the water, such as heating it or using it in the shower or washing machine, can lead to the waterborne radon being released into the air where it can then be inhaled into the lungs. Therefore, contaminated water is the second greatest source of dangerous levels of household radon.
The primary source of waterborne radon is well-based water. Water drawn from granite-based wells, which are commonly known as artisan wells, is often the source of the high levels of radon gas that is dissolved into the well water. Thus, homes and water systems that are heavily supplied from groundwater sources are at a higher risk of high levels of dissolved radon and the subsequent danger of airborne radon contamination.
Testing and Mitigation Strategies for Radon in Water
There are many relatively inexpensive test kits available for purchase that you can use to estimate the radon levels in your home’s water supply. In many cases, the state itself may provide these kits, or at least have information on where they may be obtained. Regardless, however, many homeowners choose to have SWAT Environmental perform an in-depth professional check of the home to determine the amount of radon in its water supply.
If high levels of waterborne radon are detected, there are a number of methods to deal with it, depending on the level of contamination. A common method for eliminating radon is the use of granular activated carbon filters, which bind the radon to the carbon. Specialized water aeration systems are another option; they allow the radon to be harmlessly dispersed into the outside air. SWAT Environmental’s radon abatement specialists will be able to determine how best to handle the problem in your home.
Waterborne radon can be a serious home health hazard, but by testing for radon and relying on effective and economical mitigation strategies, your house can be rendered radon-free.