Archive for July, 2012
Is Radon in Water a Concern in Wilmington, Delaware?
If you live in Wilmington, Delaware, you are most likely concerned about the quality of the water and air in your home. One of the most dangerous potential contaminants that you should be monitoring is radon, which can infect the water supply in a house.
Radon is a gas that is odorless, colorless and radioactive. It is created when radium decays, and it can be found in the soil and water in many parts of the country. In fact, private wells are more at risk for radon contamination than soil deposits near the surface, so they should be inspected regularly. In sufficient concentrations, radon is a known carcinogen; it is especially likely to cause cancer of the lungs when a person inhales the radon in water that escapes from a house’s water supply into the air.
Radon in Water and Its Risks
Radon in water may get into the air from contaminated water during activities like showering, washing clothes and other ordinary water-related tasks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends maintaining standards for radon in water of up to 300 pCi/L for public water supplies, according to the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, many have found radon levels in their own water supplies far above this level — especially in homes that are supplied by private wells.
Wilmington is in New Castle County; recent testing shows that the average indoor radon levels in the air in this county are 2.7 pCi/L. This is below the accepted safety cutoff of 4.0 pCi/L, according to the EPA. However, studies of the radon levels in a selection of homes and apartments in Wilmington have shown that about 10 percent of them do contain potentially dangerous radon levels. To make sure that this does not happen to you, be sure to have your home tested if you live in this area.
How Can Radon in Water be Removed from Your House?
Radon in your home could come from either the ground around the house or from the water supplied to it. If you are worried about radon, especially if you own a well, you should have SWAT Environmental test both the air and the water. A different type of test will be required for each.
Radon is not usually a problem from a public water system due to the fact that the water there is treated and processed so that any radon that may exist is released into the air through the processing plant’s aeration system — although there can be exceptions. Private wells, however, can often be contaminated with radon.
Radon in water can be removed through a variety of mitigation processes; SWAT Environmental’s radon experts can determine which is best for your situation. Possible options to protect your home include the installation of specialized aeration systems or granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration systems. Do not attempt to deal with waterborne radon on your own; the risk to your health and that of your family is too high.
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What is Radon Abatement?
Many households in the Wilmington, Delaware region are at risk for radon contamination. Radon is a radioactive, naturally occurring gas that seeps up from the bedrock. It generally enters a house through its foundation and sometimes through its well water. Exposure to radon gas puts members of the household at a significantly elevated risk for lung cancer, so the issue should not be taken lightly.
Radon abatement from SWAT Environmental is a general term for the process of lowering interior levels of radon gas. First, the home should be tested for radon gas; since it has no odor or color, you cannot detect it on your own. Home radon gas tests are available at most hardware and home supply stores. The radon test kit should be set up on the lowest accessible point in the home, generally in the basement or the crawl space. Before the test, all windows, vents and doors in the test area should be closed for at least 24 hours.
When Radon Abatement Is Needed
You should contact SWAT Environmental immediately if you learn that your home contains unsafe levels of radon gas. There are several ways that their experts can eliminate radon from a home or at least greatly reduce its levels. For example, one common type of radon abatement is active soil pressurization, in which a suction device pulls contaminated air from the soil under the house. After the home is sealed, the contractors run a pipe into the floor of the basement and run it out to the roof. They will also install a specialized fan, either in the garage or the attic, that will then draw air from under the house, preventing the gas from getting inside.
If necessary, the SWAT Environmental contractor can also install a heat recovery ventilator, or HRV. This system brings more fresh air into the house, which dilutes the amount of radon it contains. Though all the rooms in the home can be treated this way, most contractors do so only for the basement except in specific situations. Another benefit of HRV is that it lowers the pollution level of the home in general. The drawback, of course, is that it can significantly increase energy bills.
The Need for a Radon Abatement Professional
You may well wonder whether the radon abatement process is something you can handle yourself — especially if you are used to performing a significant number of do-it-yourself projects around the home. However, considering how serious the health consequences of radon exposure are, it is best to hire specialists from SWAT Environmental to handle this particular problem. They will be licensed, experienced and familiar the unique issues that impact radon abatement in the Wilmington area. After the radon abatement process is completed, make sure you continue to monitor your home’s radon gas levels to ensure that no new problems arise that could put your family at risk.