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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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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.

2012-2017:

FOUND
FOUND ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES

49

states detected

23,998

utilities detected

153 million

people served

49

states over health guideline

23,976

utilities over health guideline

150 million

people served over health guideline

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

Cancer

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EWG Health Guideline 0.05 pCi/L

EWG applied the health guideline of 0.05 pCi/L, defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal for radium-226, to radium-226 and radium-228 combined. This health guideline protects against cancer.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 5 pCi/L

The legal limit for combined radium-226 and radium-228, established in 1976, was based on costs for radium removal, as calculated at the time that the standard was set. This limit does not fully protect against the risk of cancer due to radium exposure.

pCi/L = picocuries per liter

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

UTILITIES REPORTING ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served UtilitiesPeople Served
Texas3,33418,272,1623,27418,246,886
Florida84214,107,47784214,107,477
California43711,199,60146712,426,440
Illinois1,45411,504,8931,3199,628,413
New York1,1048,411,5171,1128,404,443
Massachusetts4485,908,3124495,908,326
Arizona2664,871,4562735,646,791
Tennessee3235,448,7133145,467,285
Michigan7534,790,7407574,785,598
Colorado4364,007,3424384,008,610
Virginia6443,957,6626463,974,270
Georgia5983,963,9205973,963,015
Wisconsin9473,842,1299503,842,964
Louisiana5353,231,6695333,488,742
Kentucky2733,279,5902703,276,132
Pennsylvania7323,228,7767323,229,809
Alabama1893,018,2861923,187,475
Utah3682,950,9813722,951,832
Maryland1422,942,8091432,951,249
Ohio3672,517,3303712,585,713
Indiana2152,267,9622132,254,930
Nevada127865,1831312,216,606
North Carolina7082,163,2627102,195,724
Minnesota4312,174,9314312,174,931
New Jersey1761,868,2081761,868,208
New Mexico4431,725,4525281,819,801
Oklahoma5501,688,3965521,697,390
Nebraska4891,526,5854881,529,585
Washington6421,309,8326641,457,596
Missouri4311,053,5644421,386,265
Idaho4601,109,2544791,135,454
Oregon2011,029,6802011,029,680
West Virginia2941,020,3002851,022,019
Kansas5301,022,4465231,016,572
Iowa557995,779548991,378
Delaware188942,122197947,404
New Hampshire547790,840549793,533
Arkansas322750,765330769,862
South Carolina153563,591155669,668
Alaska296615,598323643,581
Connecticut144557,725145560,822
Mississippi184484,518208559,557
Montana486409,513492451,109
Wyoming273417,904250408,391
North Dakota234391,346224381,653
Vermont240346,002231343,510
Maine259217,883266226,060
South Dakota184200,430186200,851
Rhode Island20158,83920158,839
MORE
LESS

Filtering technologies that reduce radium, combined (-226 & -228)

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

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Ion Exchange

Utilities with the highest amounts of radium, combined (-226 & -228), 2012-2017

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Patterson Valley Water CompanyRocky Ford, CO5 of 522.38 pCi/L120
South Council Creek 2Austin, TX4 of 421.90 pCi/L111
South Silver Creek I II & IIIAustin, TX24 of 2419.28 pCi/L258
City of Brady Water System*Brady, TX121 of 12117.13 pCi/L5,500
Fayette Water CompanyManzanola, CO6 of 616.65 pCi/L75
Eureka Water CompanySwink, CO6 of 616.40 pCi/L498
South Swink Water CompanyLa Junta, CO12 of 1215.08 pCi/L600
Vroman Water CompanyManzanola, CO7 of 713.57 pCi/L125
Valley Water CompanyManzanola, CO12 of 1213.39 pCi/L270
Ranch Water Service Inc.Kingman, AZ24 of 2413.15 pCi/L135
Lakeland ServicesBrady, TX23 of 2313.15 pCi/L53
Tanglewood Forest SubdivisionLivingston, TX20 of 2012.79 pCi/L86
Live Oak Hills SubdivisionLlano, TX24 of 2412.79 pCi/L70
Monterey Rural Water System Inc.Monterey, LA10 of 1012.70 pCi/L5,250
Mountain Top WsIndialantic, GA9 of 912.49 pCi/L121
Cws Peachtree AcresColumbia, SC10 of 1012.40 pCi/L119
Peak View Park LlcWoodland Park, CO3 of 312.07 pCi/L70
FarmingtonFarmington, MO1 of 111.50 pCi/L19,351
Gator Wilderness Camp SchoolPunta Gorda, FL26 of 2611.08 pCi/L44
Killington Center InnKillington, VT2 of 211.05 pCi/L75
Champion Farms SubdivisionTroy, MO16 of 1610.96 pCi/L30
Downsville Sanitary DistrictDownsville, WI2 of 210.45 pCi/L250
Signal Mountain Ranch Property Owners Water CompanyBeulah, CO14 of 1410.42 pCi/L66
Perry County Public Water Supply District 1Perryville, MO15 of 1510.05 pCi/L1,970
May Valley WaWiley, CO42 of 429.96 pCi/L1,500
Lake Texoma Vfw Post 7873Pottsboro, TX24 of 249.84 pCi/L114
Tempe Water Supply Corporation 1Moscow, TX46 of 489.82 pCi/L1,704
Mineral Point PWSMineral Point, MO17 of 179.78 pCi/L359
Vista Verde Water SystemsKirbyville, TX24 of 249.22 pCi/L111
North Holbrook Water CompanyRocky Ford, CO6 of 69.13 pCi/L75
Denali - Rock Creek Hq.Denali Park, AK2 of 29.10 pCi/L220
Conroe OaksHouston, TX24 of 248.90 pCi/L90
Marshview TerraceWaupun, WI8 of 128.49 pCi/L40
Cookson Hills Christian SchoolKansas, OK25 of 268.43 pCi/L150
City of MelvinMelvin, TX38 of 388.40 pCi/L300
Welch Public Works AuthorityWelch, OK21 of 218.28 pCi/L800
Highland CourtDallas, TX24 of 248.26 pCi/L90
Leadwood PWSLeadwood, MO13 of 138.01 pCi/L1,300
Rosewood Hills Property Homeowners AssociationWoodland Park, CO1 of 18.00 pCi/L135
Rochelle Water Supply CorporationRochelle, TX24 of 247.90 pCi/L372
Allouez WaterworksGreen Bay, WI2 of 27.89 pCi/L13,932
White Tail Ridge Lakes EstatesLivingston, TX25 of 257.86 pCi/L213
Fox Lawn Utilities Company Inc.Yorkville, IL23 of 237.84 pCi/L273
Thornhill CondosHampton, NH1 of 17.80 pCi/L175
Cedar Gulch IIRapid City, SD2 of 67.70 pCi/L27
Superior Water Company CpfGilbertsville, PA2 of 27.57 pCi/L500
Lake Arrowhead SubdivisionWaleska, GA9 of 127.55 pCi/L3,120
Cheraw, Town ofCheraw, CO6 of 67.55 pCi/L254
AndoverAndover, MN32 of 347.51 pCi/L19,310
Bonne Terre PWSBonne Terre, MO52 of 547.49 pCi/L4,000

* 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.

UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
FarmingtonFarmington, MO1 of 111.50 pCi/L19,351
Allouez WaterworksGreen Bay, WI2 of 27.89 pCi/L13,932
AndoverAndover, MN32 of 347.51 pCi/L19,310
WinonaWinona, MN20 of 207.38 pCi/L27,782
Bellevue WaterworksGreen Bay, WI1 of 27.08 pCi/L15,365
City of Abbeville Water SystemAbbeville, LA4 of 66.97 pCi/L15,012
Franklin Water UtilityFranklin, WI1 of 16.56 pCi/L22,500
Delta Charter TownshipLansing, MI34 of 346.48 pCi/L22,000
Ashwaubenon Waterworks*Green Bay, WI3 of 36.38 pCi/L17,730
Waukesha Water UtilityWaukesha, WI133 of 1335.95 pCi/L70,718
Sussex Village Hall & Water UtilitySussex, WI76 of 765.67 pCi/L10,573
Inver Grove Heights*Inver Grove Heights, MN12 of 125.48 pCi/L34,189
Fort Dodge Water SupplyFort Dodge, IA11 of 115.25 pCi/L25,206
FaribaultFaribault, MN4 of 44.65 pCi/L23,415
Lugoff Elgin Water AuthorityLugoff, SC1 of 14.60 pCi/L19,671
Howard WaterworksGreen Bay, WI11 of 114.44 pCi/L18,900
Marion Municipal Water Department*Marion, IA13 of 134.44 pCi/L34,610
Naval Air Station Pensacola / Corry StationNas Pensacola, FL30 of 304.29 pCi/L22,600
North MankatoNorth Mankato, MN22 of 224.26 pCi/L13,462
Western SpringsWestern Springs, IL3 of 34.23 pCi/L11,984
Kaukauna UtilitiesKaukauna, WI21 of 234.22 pCi/L13,430
Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI74 of 744.11 pCi/L13,900
WentzvilleWentzville, MO1 of 14.10 pCi/L31,000
Emerald Coast Utilities Authority*Pensacola, FL30 of 304.07 pCi/L249,872
North Aurora*North Aurora, IL18 of 204.06 pCi/L13,764
Coon RapidsCoon Rapids, MN18 of 184.03 pCi/L61,476
Milan Water DepartmentMilan, TN2 of 24.01 pCi/L10,476
AnokaAnoka, MN12 of 124.01 pCi/L17,243
Burnsville*Burnsville, MN4 of 43.95 pCi/L61,262
City of Laurinburg*Laurinburg, NC2 of 23.90 pCi/L17,242
Virginia-American Water Company*Alexandria, VA2 of 23.90 pCi/L28,000
PeruPeru, IL8 of 83.90 pCi/L11,000
Darboy Sanitary District 1Appleton, WI8 of 93.87 pCi/L12,000
MinnetonkaMinnetonka, MN24 of 243.79 pCi/L50,747
Waupun UtilitiesWaupun, WI17 of 173.75 pCi/L11,340
Epcor Water - Anthem*Youngtown, AZ2 of 23.75 pCi/L25,302
De Pere Water DepartmentDe Pere, WI19 of 253.71 pCi/L23,920
South Saint PaulSouth St. Paul, MN22 of 223.63 pCi/L20,250
YorkvilleYorkville, IL37 of 373.57 pCi/L11,404
Loves ParkLoves Park, IL49 of 503.55 pCi/L22,476
FreeportFreeport, IL13 of 133.54 pCi/L26,443
Merchantville PennsaukenPennsauken, NJ14 of 143.51 pCi/L47,144
Gloucester City W DepartmentGloucester City, NJ1 of 13.50 pCi/L12,460
Lauderdale County Water SystemRipley, TN2 of 23.50 pCi/L11,246
SycamoreSycamore, IL41 of 413.50 pCi/L14,000
Ottawa*Ottawa, IL25 of 263.50 pCi/L18,307
Brookfield Water UtilityBrookfield, WI76 of 763.50 pCi/L29,070
Benton City WSCLytle, TX13 of 133.49 pCi/L17,292
Fayetteville*Fayetteville, GA1 of 13.48 pCi/L15,281
Lake Cities Municipal Utility AuthorityLake Dallas, TX1 of 13.35 pCi/L15,000

* 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.