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KDHE Issues Violation After Radium Found in Local Drinking Water - KOAM TV 7

KDHE Issues Violation After Radium Found in Local Drinking Water

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FRONTENAC, KANSAS -

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment issues a violation to the City of Frontenac after several water tests showed high levels of radium.  The violation was based off an average of results done off the City's drinking water. 

Radium is found in rock and soil, and scientists have classified it as a carcinogen.  Keeping radium out of water wells is a problem in this area, and areas across the nation, because many wells go deep into the rock and soil.  This map, from the Environmental Working Group Organization, shows Frontenac is one of the worst in the region for radium contamination.

Frontenac resident Michael Hagerty is having an ordinary lunch with a simple water and two sides of questions.

Hagerty asks, "How much is bad for you?  How much is safe for you to drink?"

We recommend water filtration," says Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist with the Environmental Working Group Organization.

"It might not be an immediate cause for an alarm if you see this level once and it's for a short period of time," says Temkin.  "But, according to a study by the Kansas Geological Survey, it seems like areas of ground water in Kansas have struggled with radium contamination for some time."

Water results for radium in Frontenac were based on the average results of quarterly tests done in 2016 and 2017, and showed 6 PCI/L.  The EPA's standard is 5 PCI/L.

"It's not something we can't handle.  We're providing a water service, and it's something water services encounter.  It's an issue we'll solve," says Frontenac City Administrator Brad Reams.

Reams says the City has switched over to a different well that has been testing below government guidelines for radium.

"KDHE shared with us that really the most feasible thing for a city of our size and a domestic system of our size would be blending of waters, coming out of both wells," Reams.

Frontenac's water will be tested for radium quarterly this year.

"Just because the federal level is legal, doesn't always mean it's safe," says Temkin.

"I guess it just depends on your personal preference," says Hagerty.  "I have no problem with it.  It does not bother me enough to stop drinking it."

The KDHE says any additional violations may result in additional enforcement action.  Click here to view a letter the KDHE sent to the City of Frontenac.

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