Three reasons to care about uranium in well water
You may not be aware, but high levels of uranium in well water are a problem for some New Hampshire residents. Yes, even in 2021, uranium in our water is an unfortunate reality. In fact, Secondwind Water Systems has treated uranium in water for more than 20 years. It is one of our specialties.
Our Certified Water Specialists regularly perform uranium testing for New Hampshire residents who have well water. Testing determines the amount of uranium in your well water. Because every home is different, in order to recommend a system for a uranium problem, we offer a site evaluation, do some testing, learn about your water use patterns and your preferences.
Uranium is a naturally occurring metal found mainly in New Hampshire granite – which means, here in the “Granite state,” there’s potentially a lot of uranium out there. Uranium is naturally occurring in other bedrock, too. Wells drilled into bedrock aquifers may produce water containing uranium. Aside from testing the well water, there’s no way to confirm the presence or absence of uranium.
Uranium is an element that emits alpha particles over long periods of time and has a half-life of 4.4 billion years. It’s safe to say, uranium isn’t leaving our well water any time soon. However, here are three reasons why you should care about the uranium that may currently exist in your well water:
Uranium is radioactive
The main concern of uranium in water is actually consuming it. That’s how uranium ends up in your bloodstream and accumulates over time. Consumed uranium travels through our cells and destabilizes nearby atoms and damages chromosomes. This exposure can lead to cancer.
Fortunately, uranium cannot permeate through skin tissue, so showering or bathing with well water containing uranium doesn’t mean uranium is seeping into your tissue as you clean yourself.
Uranium may lead to cancer and kidney disease
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency say that there are potential health risks when a concentration of uranium in groundwater used for drinking is higher than established human-health standards.
Heavy metal uranium typically accumulates in the kidneys. This can lead to cancer in the kidneys along with other types of cancers such as liver and bone. Uranium exposure can also lead to reproductive issues.
For much more detailed information you can read this publication from the United States Geological Survey.
Uranium is everywhere
The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) estimates that 46% of residents use private wells as the primary source of water for their homes, and that less than 50% of private well owners regularly test their well water.
Secondwind Water used to find uranium only in a specific part of New Hampshire, off of Interstate 89. In recent years, our team has found it in many other areas of the state and even on the border of Maine.
Uranium in well water is a growing problem in the United States. The U.S. Geological Survey study provided an updated, statewide estimate of high levels of naturally occurring uranium (and arsenic) in private well water across New Hampshire.
If you want to know if you have uranium in your water – and to ensure peace of mind for you and your family – get your site evaluation scheduled today and one of our Certified Water Specialists will go over your results with you.