It has recently been reported that uranium in drinking water has increased significantly since 1990; in fact, in some parts of California the uranium in public water supplies has seen as much as a seventeen percent increase. U.S. Geological Survey researchers say that the increased uranium contamination is coming from year-round farming, irrigation, over pumping of underground water reserves and the pervasive drought in the southwest.
Uranium is a naturally occurring element and with the increase in irrigation and farming, is beginning to leech out into our water supply. Irrigated plants produce a weak acid that is leeching uranium out of the ground’s sediment and it is finding its way into ground water. Considering the drought that many southwest areas are facing, this groundwater has become one of the primary sources for water, which is why uranium is showing up in so many water supplies.
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set standards for the allowable levels of uranium in drinking water, this does not apply to privately owned wells. One of the problems that the Associated Press reported is that authorities are doing little to inform the public about this increased risk of uranium contamination. Due to this oversight, many homeowners are drinking uranium contaminated water without even know it.
There has been no health risk associated with showering or bathing with uranium contaminated water, however there is a significant health risk associated with drinking it. Due to its toxicity as a heavy metal, the EPA has established that it carries a risk of kidney damage and also an increased cancer risk. As such, it is vitally important to determine if there is uranium in your drinking water and take steps to mitigate it if it is present.
The good news is that uranium can be easily and efficiently filtered out of drinking water with the use of a reverse osmosis system or an ion exchange drinking water system such as our LINX Drinking Water System. If you have any questions on uranium or how to filter it out of your drinking water, one of our water specialists would be happy to answer them for you, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.