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Radium, combined (-226 & -228)

Status: National drinking water standard exists

 

Radium is a radioactive element that causes bone cancer and other cancers. It can occur naturally in groundwater, and oil and gas extraction activities such as hydraulic fracturing can elevate concentrations. Read More.

Radium releases radioactive particles that harm health in many ways, causing tumors in bone, lungs and other organs; leukemia; and skin and blood damage. Water utilities typically report radium amounts in picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is a measure of radioactivity in water. The two most common forms of radium are radium-226 and radium-228. They may be reported separately or together.

Federal law allows up to 5 picocuries per liter of combined radium-226 and radium-228 in tap water. Research by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that in some regions of the country, such as the mid-continental region and North Atlantic coastal region, more than 20 percent of sampled wells have radium in levels exceeding the federal drinking water limit. And the legal limit does not equate safety: The EPA estimates that one in every 10,000 people drinking water containing radium at this level would develop cancer over a lifetime.

California set a public health goal much lower than the federal limit - 0.019 picocuries per liter of radium-226 and 0.05 picocuries per liter of radium-228, concentrations that are lower than the detection limit for most water tests.

Click here to read more on radiological contaminants.

2010-2015:

FOUND

50

states detected

22,239

utilities detected

173 million

people served

Health concerns for radium, combined (-226 & -228)

Cancer

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 5 pCi/L

The enforceable federal standard that defines the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water.

pCi/L = picocuries per liter.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level Goal (MCLG)0 pCi/L

A non-enforceable federal health guideline. For cancer-causing chemicals, these health goals are typically set to zero.

pCi/L = picocuries per liter.

States reporting radium, combined (-226 & -228) in drinking water

UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served
California80425,814,100
Texas3,47822,547,883
Florida82614,426,536
Illinois1,47811,031,187
Massachusetts4418,895,257
New York8246,074,275
Pennsylvania5605,550,439
Michigan6545,126,440
Arizona2634,954,124
Colorado5404,675,104
Virginia6384,425,146
Tennessee2894,226,947
Ohio4124,181,563
Alabama3443,940,705
Kentucky3103,570,104
Georgia5213,508,646
Maryland1502,905,267
Utah3452,767,617
North Carolina7282,637,874
Nevada1092,494,608
Minnesota4282,174,440
New Jersey1761,840,455
New Mexico4861,808,395
Oklahoma6401,679,179
Kansas5201,675,705
Louisiana1581,627,014
Wisconsin1241,510,302
Iowa6041,498,290
Arkansas3851,275,704
Nebraska4821,241,326
Mississippi2821,119,148
Missouri4131,100,600
West Virginia2981,094,595
Indiana491,084,853
Washington3811,068,467
Connecticut1551,042,475
Idaho2911,015,782
Delaware209976,516
Oregon208759,876
South Carolina155662,838
New Hampshire477656,050
Maine276429,868
Wyoming243407,151
North Dakota177390,114
Montana323362,612
Vermont246341,373
Alaska176188,178
South Dakota143184,821
Rhode Island1966,545
Hawaii1270
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Utilities with the highest amounts of radium, combined (-226 & -228), 2010-2015

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Fayette Water CompanyManzanola, CO2 of 214.20 pCi/L75
Country Acres Mobile Home Park (la Salle County)Des Plaines, IL1 of 113.10 pCi/L295
Valley Water CompanyManzanola, CO11 of 1112.96 pCi/L270
Live Oak Hills SubdivisionLlano, TX22 of 2212.65 pCi/L60
Cws Peachtree AcresWest Columbia, SC2 of 212.60 pCi/L138
Eureka Water CompanySwink, CO4 of 412.48 pCi/L498
Vroman Water CompanyManzanola, CO6 of 612.45 pCi/L125
Ranch Water Service Inc.Kingman, AZ16 of 1612.11 pCi/L135
South Swink Water CompanyLa Junta, CO9 of 912.01 pCi/L600
South Silver Creek I II & IIIAustin, TX4 of 411.73 pCi/L249
Conroe OaksKaty, TX17 of 1711.52 pCi/L90
Waukesha Water UtilityWaukesha, WI3 of 310.68 pCi/L70,718
Mountain Top WsWarm Springs, GA2 of 210.58 pCi/L117
Signal Mountain Ranch Property Owners Water CompanyBeulah, CO10 of 1010.41 pCi/L66
RansomRansom, IL21 of 219.82 pCi/L483
Lake Texoma Vfw Post 7873Pottsboro, TX24 of 249.73 pCi/L114
BraidwoodBraidwood, IL5 of 59.64 pCi/L6,600
Scarborough GardensPortland, ME1 of 19.55 pCi/L45
City of Brady Water System*Brady, TX59 of 599.25 pCi/L5,500
Lakeland ServicesBrady, TX10 of 109.07 pCi/L58
Vista Verde Water SystemsKirbyville, TX24 of 249.07 pCi/L111
North Holbrook Water CompanyRocky Ford, CO6 of 69.05 pCi/L75
Brookfield Water UtilityBrookfield, WI1 of 18.90 pCi/L29,070
Holbrook Center Soft WaLa Junta, CO6 of 68.78 pCi/L51
Rockville Pipeline CompanyRockville, UT1 of 18.60 pCi/L240
City of MelvinMelvin, TX30 of 308.52 pCi/L300
Terre Du LacBonne Terre, MO18 of 188.28 pCi/L3,217
Willowbank ColonyEdgeley, ND1 of 18.21 pCi/L95
Pinwah Pines EstatesPflugerville, TX16 of 167.96 pCi/L142
Highland CourtDallas, TX17 of 177.95 pCi/L90

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Radium, combined (-226 & -228), but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Waukesha Water UtilityWaukesha, WI3 of 310.68 pCi/L70,718
Brookfield Water UtilityBrookfield, WI1 of 18.90 pCi/L29,070
AndoverAndover, MN15 of 167.14 pCi/L19,310
Bellevue WaterworksGreen Bay, WI1 of 27.08 pCi/L14,800
Delta Charter TownshipLansing, MI21 of 216.39 pCi/L22,000
Sussex Village Hall & Water UtilitySussex, WI3 of 36.35 pCi/L10,573
Fond Du Lac WaterworksFond Du Lac, WI10 of 105.57 pCi/L42,000
Farmington*Farmington, MO3 of 55.42 pCi/L16,318
Inver Grove Heights*Inver Grove Heights, MN9 of 94.97 pCi/L34,189
FaribaultFaribault, MN1 of 14.90 pCi/L23,415
Moore County Public Util. - Pinehurst*Carthage, NC30 of 304.72 pCi/L19,368
Galesburg*Galesburg, IL7 of 74.61 pCi/L33,706
Lugoff Elgin Water AuthorityLugoff, SC1 of 14.60 pCi/L18,984
Clark Public Utilities*Vancouver, WA1 of 24.60 pCi/L82,071
Emerald Coast Utilities Authority*Pensacola, FL11 of 114.45 pCi/L249,872
Loves ParkLoves Park, IL48 of 484.39 pCi/L22,476
Anoka*Anoka, MN6 of 64.25 pCi/L17,243
PeruPeru, IL7 of 74.20 pCi/L11,000
City of White SettlementWhite Settlement, TX26 of 264.20 pCi/L15,483
Marion Municipal Water Department*Marion, IA10 of 104.18 pCi/L34,610
WinonaWinona, MN3 of 34.13 pCi/L27,782
MontgomeryMontgomery, IL12 of 124.11 pCi/L22,576
Moorestown Water DepartmentMorrestown, NJ5 of 54.08 pCi/L19,000
Milan Water DepartmentMilan, TN2 of 24.06 pCi/L10,289
North MankatoNorth Mankato, MN11 of 113.96 pCi/L13,462
Ottawa*Ottawa, IL26 of 263.94 pCi/L18,307
Apple Valley*Apple Valley, MN2 of 23.90 pCi/L49,895
Virginia-American Water Company*Alexandria, VA1 of 13.90 pCi/L28,000
Little Egg Harbor Twp MULittle Egg Harbor, NJ1 of 13.88 pCi/L22,075
City of Beloit*Beloit, WI2 of 23.78 pCi/L37,110

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Radium, combined (-226 & -228), but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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