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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
FOUND ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES

50

states detected

22,411

utilities detected

155 million

people served

50

states over health guideline

22,008

utilities over health guideline

152 million

people served over health guideline

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

Cancer

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

Health Guideline 0.05 pCi/L

The health guideline of 0.05 pCi/L for radium, combined (-226 & -228) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as . This health guideline protects against cancer.

pCi/L = picocuries per liter.

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 REPORTING ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served UtilitiesPeople Served
Texas3,49322,552,3923,49322,552,392
Florida81313,923,40682214,144,704
Illinois1,41610,222,4201,41610,222,420
Massachusetts4298,484,3084358,542,655
New York8147,330,4248327,368,651
California1845,658,9382196,304,390
Pennsylvania5485,411,8035605,550,439
Michigan6555,214,3856595,219,971
Arizona2533,745,1812635,008,264
Colorado5254,655,2795404,675,104
Virginia6304,423,7306384,425,146
Tennessee2884,186,7552894,226,947
Alabama3183,746,9483263,812,935
Wisconsin9143,728,6189183,730,019
Ohio3853,519,6553943,591,314
Kentucky3093,552,1043103,570,104
Georgia5173,411,4665173,411,466
Maryland1492,905,2221502,905,267
Utah3402,766,6533452,767,617
Nevada1082,491,6081092,494,608
Minnesota4282,174,4404282,174,440
North Carolina7172,158,9027172,158,902
New Jersey1801,991,0481801,991,048
New Mexico4271,645,3424861,808,395
Louisiana1801,750,7331821,757,336
Oklahoma6291,668,6296401,679,179
Kansas5001,618,1755041,618,878
Nebraska4811,509,5394831,510,064
Iowa5961,364,0396041,498,290
West Virginia3391,234,1063481,250,002
Arkansas3741,234,8423831,247,060
Missouri4101,078,9804111,086,375
Indiana491,084,853491,084,853
Mississippi259913,2832811,073,148
Washington3701,059,3183811,068,467
Connecticut1531,039,8621551,042,475
Idaho2821,011,2852911,015,782
Delaware207969,031209976,516
Oregon208759,876208759,876
South Carolina148537,987155662,838
New Hampshire466639,994477656,050
Maine270425,297276429,868
Wyoming240406,143243407,151
North Dakota177390,114177390,114
Montana260264,107323362,612
Vermont245341,133246341,373
Alaska169183,735176188,178
South Dakota136183,373143184,821
Rhode Island1966,5451966,545
Hawaii12701270
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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
Farmington*Farmington, MO1 of 111.50 pCi/L16,318
Mountain Top WsWarm Springs, GA2 of 210.58 pCi/L117
Signal Mountain Ranch Property Owners Water CompanyBeulah, CO10 of 1010.41 pCi/L66
Marshview TerraceWaupun, WI4 of 410.07 pCi/L40
RansomRansom, IL21 of 219.82 pCi/L483
Lake Texoma Vfw Post 7873Pottsboro, TX24 of 249.73 pCi/L114
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
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
Welch Public Works AuthorityWelch, OK24 of 247.93 pCi/L800

* 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
Farmington*Farmington, MO1 of 111.50 pCi/L16,318
Allouez WaterworksGreen Bay, WI2 of 27.89 pCi/L13,932
AndoverAndover, MN15 of 167.14 pCi/L19,310
Bellevue WaterworksGreen Bay, WI1 of 27.08 pCi/L14,800
Franklin Water UtilityFranklin, WI1 of 16.56 pCi/L22,500
Delta Charter TownshipLansing, MI21 of 216.39 pCi/L22,000
Ashwaubenon Waterworks*Green Bay, WI3 of 36.38 pCi/L17,730
Waukesha Water UtilityWaukesha, WI137 of 1376.16 pCi/L70,718
Sussex Village Hall & Water UtilitySussex, WI61 of 615.25 pCi/L10,573
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
Clark Public Utilities*Vancouver, WA1 of 24.60 pCi/L82,071
Lugoff Elgin Water AuthorityLugoff, SC1 of 14.60 pCi/L18,984
Western SpringsWestern Springs, IL1 of 14.50 pCi/L11,984
Emerald Coast Utilities Authority*Pensacola, FL11 of 114.45 pCi/L249,872
Loves ParkLoves Park, IL46 of 464.36 pCi/L22,476
Anoka*Anoka, MN6 of 64.25 pCi/L17,243
Platteville WaterworksPlatteville, WI2 of 24.25 pCi/L11,224
Howard WaterworksGreen Bay, WI17 of 174.25 pCi/L18,900
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
Milan Water DepartmentMilan, TN2 of 24.06 pCi/L10,289
North MankatoNorth Mankato, MN11 of 113.96 pCi/L13,462
Virginia-American Water Company*Alexandria, VA1 of 13.90 pCi/L28,000
Apple Valley*Apple Valley, MN2 of 23.90 pCi/L49,895
Whitewater WaterworksWhitewater, WI10 of 103.84 pCi/L14,000

* 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.

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