Water Remediation Technology, LLC (WRT) is installing and operating its third radium-removal water treatment system in the community of Elburn. The third system follows two previously installed and successfully operated radium removal systems in the Village of Elburn, located 45 miles west of Chicago. Elburn has grown quickly in recent years, and the third WRT system was installed to meet the drinking water needs of additional residents. WRT has been successfully operating radium removal systems at the community’s two other active wells since 2006.
Under a 20-year contract, WRT removes radium from three wells that provide drinking water to approximately 4,800 people in Elburn. As with the two systems installed in 2006, the new treatment system lowers the amount of the contaminant in the water to a level below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) requirements, ensuring that the city has safe drinking water. WRT will also be responsible for the environmentally safe handling and removal of the radium from the treatment site to a remote licensed facility, preventing future contamination in Elburn.
The radium concentration in the well water prior to it being treated averaged about 19 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). The EPA’s guidelines allow for a maximum radium presence of only 5 pCi/L, and the current WRT treatment systems have reduced the radium concentration to an average of 0.46 pCi/L. According to the EPA, radium can be found naturally in soil, water and food at low concentrations. But chronic exposure to radium can lead to an increased risk for serious health problems like cancer and anemia.