Radon Testing Reveals High Levels in PA

If you live or have family or friends living in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, testing your water for radon may be a good idea before drinking anything out of the tap. Government testing found radon concentration levels in the water that exceeded health standards. Samples were also found to contain arsenic or methane in levels higher than recommended safety standards.

Tests were first carried out in 2014 by the US Geological Survey to assess groundwater and the environmental effects of mining and gas extraction efforts. Property owners participated voluntarily.

Wells were randomly selected and some were located near mining sites.

“As in many parts of the state, water quality data were lacking in Lycoming County,” said Gross, a physical scientist with the USGS’ Pennsylvania Water Science Center.  “This study provides much-needed information. The number of water samples was relatively small, so we can’t draw definitive conclusions about water quality throughout the county. But we want residents who get their water from private wells to know about our results, and to be aware that the EPA recommends regular testing of private drinking water wells.”

Water Samples Above Recommended Levels

Radon detection revealed radon-222, a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in some types of rock. Radon 222 is the second largest cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. Two thirds of all water samples in the county tested above recommended levels.

“One of our goals was to collect baseline information, so future studies can determine whether there is a relationship between human activities and well water chemistry,” Gross said. “The variations in water quality that we saw can generally be explained by natural processes. In some instances human activities may play a role. For example, we found a wide range of levels of chloride, or salt, from less than 1 milligram per liter to nearly 1,000 milligrams per liter. The higher levels could be from road de-icing salts.”

Radon is an odorless but deadly gas. Whether you own your home or live in an apartment, radon testing is recommended for the health of the family. According to the EPA, radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, including 2,900 nonsmokers. At 20 pCi/L, the radon exposure is estimated to be 250 times the risk of drowning. At even 4 pCi/L, the exposure is thought to be five times the risk of dying in a car crash. At these levels, the EPA recommends a UV air cleaner and radon eradication.

As of June 2018, new homes and buildings in Powell, Ohio will be required to mitigate radon; which is a radioactive gas prevalent in Ohio. Could this be the first step in future regulation for radon mitigation systems nationwide? Existing homes and commercial buildings will not be affected by the new regulation in Powell City. If you’re worried about the radon status in your apartment, home or office building, give us a call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We’re available to service radon mitigation in Dayton Ohio, as well as in the neighboring cities and communities of Ohio.