Radionuclides in Drinking Water


Modification of Existing Treatment

If non-treatment options are not available or practical, the next step is to consider whether you can modify existing treatment (if available) to remove radionuclides while continuing to meet the original goal of treatment. For example, if your system is currently using lime softening, it may be possible to modify the treatment to more effectively remove radium. If your state allows point-of-entry (POE) devices (i.e. water softeners) they could also be modified to remove uranium by adding a small amount of anion exchange resin. Check with your state drinking water program regarding state or EPA requirements for ownership, monitoring, and maintenance of POE and point-of-use (POU) devices. Evaluating existing treatment should involve raw water monitoring and a careful consideration of how the presence of other contaminants will impact treatment effectiveness, contaminant levels (including radionuclides) in treated water, and disposal options.

If there are no available or economical non-treatment options and if modifying existing treatment is not possible, the next step is to evaluate treatment technologies. Deciding which treatment option is most appropriate for your system will require you to think carefully about source water characteristics, system size and location, average demand, waste disposal options, and operator skill level, among other things. You should work closely with your consulting engineer and your state to evaluate your treatment options, as your state may have restrictions on using certain treatment technologies to comply with a maximum contaminant level (MCL).