~ by RJ Brown, Certified Water Specialist
So you’ve tested your well water and have found that the amount of uranium in your drinking water exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirement of .03 mg/L or 30 parts per billion. It’s scary, after all uranium is a scary word to most people for obvious reasons. You are not alone, and there is a solution.
Most people find out they have uranium in their drinking water after testing their water as part of a home inspection or, as a new well is drilled during new construction or in replacement of an old well. Some of our customers have also found out after years of living in their homes and never having known to test for uranium in the past. Either way, chances are not many people are comfortable with the idea of having it in their drinking water for their homes.
The first question that comes to mind is usually “How do I take care of this and how much is it going to cost me?” The answer always depends your particular situation. Uranium can be removed from the entire house or you can remove it from your drinking water only. If you want to remove it from the whole house, an anion exchange unit is the best option. This system acts like a water softener, although it doesn’t make your water soft; rather it removes uranium from your water and replaces it with chloride.
These systems typically need annual maintenance and depending on the type of anion system, they can consume quite a bit of salt per year. It is important to know that anion conditioners make your water corrosive. You solve for one problem and then create another which means you have to install an additional system (acid neutralizer) that you wouldn’t have originally needed which increases your upfront cost of installation in addition to another system that requires annual maintenance.
At Secondwind Water Systems, we have a system that will not corrode your water and will not require an additional system.
If you’re interested in lower maintenance and not only removing uranium but having a much higher quality of drinking water, then a reverse osmosis system would be the best solution for you. Reverse osmosis acts by using a special membrane and applying pressure to the membrane. Water molecules are allowed to pass through the membrane and uranium (along with many other contaminants) get rejected and sent to the waste water line.
Two of the biggest complaints with reverse osmosis systems (and things to think about when researching/purchasing) are that the water sometimes doesn’t come out of the faucet fast enough, and the system doesn’t make enough water for the demand. What companies can and will do is install a permeate pump with their systems that “boosts” the pressure of the system after it is made delivering a higher flow to the faucet. These pumps can be quirky and tend to fail frequently. This leads to higher maintenance costs down the road. Some companies add equipment to handle this. They install a very large storage tank to overcome the fact that the system makes the water slow. The only problem with this is obviously the tanks are big and take up a good amount of space in the basement. Another problem, the systems don’t make more clean water until the tank is empty. This means you have a very large amount of stagnant water sitting in an oversized tank for long periods of time before being refilled (think fishbowl without the algae eaters).
We offer a reverse osmosis system that is the highest rated system on the market for flow rate, production and contaminant reduction all from a standard sized system with only a 2.5 gallon storage tank.
If you have, or don’t know if you have uranium in your water, contact us, we’d love to answer your questions.