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US to test local wells for traces of uranium - you will not guess where

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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 12:36 PM
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US to test local wells for traces of uranium - you will not guess where /

Drinking water could be tainted

Thousands of private drinking wells across New England may contain harmful levels of naturally occurring uranium, environmental officials say. Federal researchers are launching a study of 1,600 home wells in Massachusetts to better understand where hotspots might exist.

Uranium - which at high levels can cause kidney problems - has been identified in the region's geology for decades. But most states began closely monitoring it in public drinking supplies only about five years ago, after the US Environmental Protection Agency set new limits and monitoring requirements for the heavy metal.


Some environmental officials are worried about what's not being tested: the water consumed by the more than 2.5 million people in New England - 400,000 in Massachusetts - who get drinking water from private supplies.

Those supplies are governed by a patchwork of legal rules that often leave testing up to the owner.


The US Geological Survey is launching the home water sample study, which also is examining naturally occurring arsenic, to help figure out where future public water supplies should - and should not - be located.


Studies have also linked arsenic in drinking water to neurological problems and developmental delays in children. The EPA strengthened the drinking water standard to 10 parts per billion, down from 50 parts, in 2001, but gave public water systems until 2006 to comply.


Water contamination by uranium and arsenic is expected to become more prevalent as housing development pushes into rural areas without municipal water supplies. Upwards of 9,000 wells are drilled in Massachusetts alone each year. As water becomes less plentiful, state officials are looking at places to expand public water supplies, possibly in bedrock.

there is an interactive map of toxic sites, etc.

kidneys are necessary
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