Combined Radium 226/228 Contaminant in Tampa Bay Drinking Water
Combined radium 226/228 is a radioactive contaminant that is sometimes found in drinking water wells throughout Florida, including in Tampa Bay area counties like Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando. This contaminant comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. While radium 226 and radium 228 dissipate relatively quickly in nature, they can build up in well water if the geology allows it. Prolonged exposure to radium in drinking water has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, making this contaminant a health concern for homeowners relying on private wells or small municipal water systems drawing from the Floridan Aquifer.
Presence of Combined Radium 226/228 in Tampa Bay Drinking Water
The cities and neighborhoods of Apollo Beach, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Carrollwood, Cheval, Citrus Park, Dover, FishHawk, Gibsonton, Lake Magdalene, Lutz, Mango, Palm River, Plant City, Progress Village, Riverview, Ruskin, Seffner, Sun City Center, Temple Terrace, Thonotosassa, Town 'n' Country, and Wimauma in Hillsborough County have all had detections of combined radium 226/228 in either private wells or public water systems at some point, though not necessarily across the entire area.
In Pinellas County, combined radium has been detected in parts of Bay Pines, Bayonet Point, Gulfport, Hudson, Hudson Beach, Kenneth City, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, and Treasure Island.
The Pasco County cities and neighborhoods of Bayonet Point, Dade City, Elfers, Holiday, Hudson, Hudson Beach, Lacoochee, Land O' Lakes, Moon Lake, New Port Richey, New Port Richey East, Odessa, Port Richey, San Antonio, Shady Hills, Trinity, Wesley Chapel, and Zephyrhills have seen radium 226/228 in well water tests over time.
In Hernando County, Brookridge, Brooksville, Ridge Manor, Spring Hill, Timber Pines, and Weeki Wachee have had occasional detections of combined radium.
Is Combined Radium 226/228 a Health Concern?
Yes, combined radium is considered a health concern due to its radioactivity and link to cancer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), long-term exposure to radium 226 or radium 228 in drinking water can increase your risk of developing cancer. This contaminant emits ionizing radiation that can damage DNA and cause genetic mutations that sometimes lead to cancerous tumors.
The EPA has set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 5 pCi/L for combined radium 226/228. If readings exceed this limit over time, your risk of adverse health effects goes up. Children and infants may be especially susceptible.
Water Treatment Solutions for Removing Radium 226/228
Fortunately, combined radium can be removed from drinking water using the right treatment approach. Options include:
Water softeners use ion exchange resin beads to remove radium through an exchange process with sodium. Periodic resin bed regeneration is required.
Solid carbon block filters certified to remove radium can eliminate this contaminant through adsorption. Filters need occasional replacement.
Multi-stage whole house systems with sediment pre-filters and radium-specific filters can remove radium from all water entering a home.
Ultraviolet systems destroy radium's radioactivity, reducing its health risk. UV bulbs need changing per manufacturer recommendations.
Chlorine oxidizes radium and allows it to precipitate out of the water for removal through filtration. Requires chlorine monitoring and supplementing.
Ozone oxidation changes radium particles into insoluble compounds that can be filtered out. Needs proper ozone monitoring.
RO units with tight membranes reliably reduce radium through rejection. Pre-filters prolong membrane life.
Large-scale treatment combinations for public water systems and businesses. Custom engineered.
Whole-home well water systems designed to address multiple contaminants like radium.
Professional water testing is recommended to determine the specific treatment required to reduce radium in your water to safe levels per EPA standards. Proper system maintenance is also essential.
Florida Department of Health Radium Fact Sheet
CDC on Radium: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp145-c1-b.pdf
EPA on Radium in Drinking Water
Schedule Your FREE Tampa Bay Water Test today at 727-236-7161 to assess your water quality and get expert recommendations on addressing any radium contamination. Take advantage of our special financing options and discounts on water treatment systems that effectively remove radium 226/228 from your water supply. We service all of Tampa Bay with NSF-certified systems tailored to your needs. Get clean, radium-free water for better health!