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How to Remove Radon From Tap Water

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that results when uranium breaks down in soil, rock or water.
The gas can seep into homes and other buildings through cracks, joints or gaps. It can also enter through the water supply. If there is radon gas in tap water, then showering and doing laundry can cause radon particles to be emitted into the air. Particles of radon can get trapped in lungs and cause lung cancer. If a building has elevated levels of radon in the air or water, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends taking steps to reduce those levels. .

Step 1

Test your tap water. Water that comes from a well—either a public well from which water is piped to homes, or a private well—is more likely to contain radon than surface water, such as water collected from rivers. To find out how to test the tap water in your home for radon, contact your state radon office, or call a professional.

Step 2

Decide where to install a mitigation system. The EPA recommends installing an aeration system or a filter to reduce the amount of radon in tap water. Install a mitigation system in one of two places: where the water enters the home (point-of-entry) or where the water comes out of a tap (point-of-use). A point-of-entry filter will treat all of the water that comes into the home. A point-of-use filter will filter only the water that comes out of a particular tap. It will not protect from breathing in radon particles that could be released into the air from all of the faucets or showers in the home.

Step 3

Choose an aeration system or a filter. Two types of point-of-entry systems are available to reduce the amount of radon in your water. An aeration system removes from 95 percent to 99 percent of the radon in your water. The system costs between $3,000 and $4,500 to install and between $50 and $150 a year to operate. This type of filter is more efficient than a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter. It must be cleaned once a year, and it requires a vent to release the radon to the outdoors. A granular activated carbon filter system removes from 85 percent to 99 percent of the radon in your water. It costs between $1,000 and $3,000 to install, with no operating costs. This type of filter is good for moderate levels (around 5,000 pCi/L) of radon and is not as efficient if you have higher levels of radon in your water. The unit may need a radiation shield installed around it.

Step 4

Call a professional to install the mitigation system.

Tips

  • You cannot smell, taste, see or feel radon. The only way to find out if there is radon in your home's air or water is to do the appropriate tests.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images