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Water Remediation Technology, LLC (WRT) is continuing to make drinking water safer for residents in Wisconsin, installing and operating a fourth radium-removing water treatment system in the state.
Under a 20-year contract, WRT will remove the contaminant from a well that provides drinking water to some 12,000 people in Pewaukee, located 15 miles west of Milwaukee. The treatment system, capable of processing 183,000 gallons of water a day, will lower the amount of radium 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 Pewaukee.
“While investigating treatment options we found that other systems were more involved from an operations standpoint. This could have increased operating, maintenance and chemical costs, as well as additional staff time spent maintaining the other treatment systems,” said Jane Mueller, utility superintendent, City of Pewaukee Water & Sewer Utility. “WRT’s treatment system is straightforward, simple and automated. Our employees monitor its progress but otherwise remain hands-off, allowing them to focus more on customer service and the maintenance of the city’s water system.”
The radium concentration in the well water prior to it being treated was 8.7 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). The EPA’s guidelines allow for a maximum radium presence of only 5 pCi/L. According to the EPA, radium can be found naturally in soil, water and food at low concentrations. But chronic exposure to radium could cause health problems, including acute leucopenia, anemia and the formation of bone, head and nasal passage tumors.