Uranium in Drinking Water
Uranium is a naturally occurring element in groundwater in some portions of Connecticut. However, there is not enough data to know where uranium levels are elevated. It gets into drinking water when groundwater dissolves minerals that contain uranium. The amount of uranium in well water will vary depending upon its concentration in bedrock. However, within high uranium bedrock types, there is a large amount of variation within small areas. Levels of naturally occurring radiation in water are not likely to be high in shallow wells. Therefore the potential exists for deep bedrock wells in Connecticut to have uranium, although most will be very low. High levels of uranium indicate the potential for radon and radium also to be present.
Naturally occurring uranium has very low levels of radioactivity. However, the chemical properties of uranium in drinking water are of greater concern than its radioactivity. Most ingested uranium is eliminated from the body. However, a small amount is absorbed and carried through the bloodstream. Studies show that elevated levels of uranium in drinking water can affect the kidneys. Bathing and showering with water that contains uranium is not a health concern.
To find out if you have uranium in your drinking water you must test for it. The Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends conducting an initial screening test for “gross alpha.” If this initial and less costly analysis indicates there is little or no gross alpha, then there is no need to conduct additional testing. If, on the other hand, the results indicated high gross alpha, then the water should be re-sampled and analyzed for additional compounds.