Alpha Emitters Contamination in Tampa Bay Drinking Water
Alpha emitters are radioactive particles that can contaminate drinking water supplies and pose health risks if consumed over long periods of time. In areas surrounding Tampa Bay, Florida, certain aquifers and groundwater sources have tested positive for alpha emitters, raising concerns for residents relying on private wells or public water systems drawing from compromised sources.
What are Alpha Emitters?
Alpha emitters are radioactive elements that decay and release alpha particles. Alpha particles are essentially helium nuclei made up of two protons and two neutrons. They carry a positive charge and have very little penetrating power, not able to pass through skin or clothing. However, if ingested or inhaled, alpha particles can damage internal tissues and organs.
The most common alpha emitters found in water supplies are radium, radon, and uranium. These naturally occurring elements are present in rock and soil. As water passes through the ground, it can dissolve these radioactive particles and transport them into groundwater aquifers or private well systems.
Health Concerns of Alpha Emitters
The EPA has set a maximum contaminant level goal of 0 pCi/L for combined radium-226 and radium-228 in drinking water. Prolonged exposure to radium and other alpha emitters above this level carries health risks including:
The health concern stems from internal ingestion or inhalation of alpha particles which irradiate organs and tissues. The chances of health problems increase the longer someone consumes water contaminated with elevated levels of alpha emitters.
Alpha Emitter Contamination in Tampa Bay Region
Certain geographic areas in and around Tampa Bay have aquifers testing positive for alpha emitter contamination. Some of the at-risk locations include:
East Lake-Orient Park
Palm River-Clair Mel
Sun City Center
Town 'n' Country
St. Pete Beach
New Port Richey
New Port Richey East
The Floridan Aquifer system that provides much of the groundwater to the region has areas of alpha emitter contamination from naturally occurring radium and uranium deposits. In addition, pollution from fertilizers, industry, or oil drilling can introduce radioactive particles into aquifers. Any private wells drawing from compromised areas of the Floridan Aquifer may contain unsafe levels of alpha emitters.
Municipal water systems are required to regularly test for radioactive contaminants and take corrective actions if they exceed the maximum contaminant level. However, private wells do not fall under EPA testing regulations. Homeowners relying on private wells in the at-risk regions should have their water independently tested for alpha emitters.
Water Treatment Solutions for Alpha Emitters
To remove alpha emitters from drinking water, specific filtration solutions are required:
Water softeners use ion exchange resin beads to filter out radium and other heavy metals. They can effectively reduce alpha emitter particles.
Multi-stage carbon block filters screen out many radioactive contaminants. They are an economical option for homes and businesses.
Whole house filtration combines several treatment stages like carbon filters and water softeners to eliminate radium, radon, uranium, and other alpha emitters throughout plumbing systems.
UV rays destroy any pathogens or volatile organic compounds that may occur alongside radioactive particles. UV is often part of a complete filtration system.
Chlorination neutralizes radioactive particles and sanitizes water of harmful bacteria. Retention tanks allow proper contact time for the chlorine treatment.
An ozone injection system oxidizes contaminants like uranium and radium while disinfecting pathogens. It is extremely effective for alpha particle removal.
RO utilizes a membrane to filter out dissolved ions and particles bigger than water molecules like radium and uranium. It provides high quality drinking water.
Large scale water treatment for businesses uses specialized equipment like neutralizing filters, ozone injection, and UF membranes to remove all heavy metals, bacteria, and alpha emitters.
Purpose-built systems to treat private well water and eliminate radioactive contaminants, pathogens, solids, and metals for safe drinking water.
The right water treatment system will remove risky alpha emitters and ensure the highest quality drinking water from any source. Systems can be tailored based on specific contamination levels and volumes required. For homeowners and businesses relying on at-risk groundwater in the Tampa Bay region, annual testing along with adequate filtration is recommended.
Call to Action
Protect your home and family by testing your private well or water supply for alpha emitters and other contaminants. Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions offers comprehensive testing and high-quality, customized water filtration systems for any need.
Take advantage of seasonal promotions and financing options to upgrade your water quality today. Investing in clean, pure water is always worthwhile.
EPA - Alpha Emitters https://www.epa.gov/radiation/radiation-basics#alpha
CDC - Radium in Drinking Water https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/PHS/PHS.asp?id=790&tid=154
Florida Department of Health - Radon and Drinking Water from Private Wells