Conn. says uranium found in 16 public wells
HARTFORD - Tests on 16 well systems in Connecticut in the past year have shown uranium contamination in the water, according to state Department of Public Health records.
All residential public water systems serving 25 or more people must be tested quarterly for uranium. At the end of the third quarter in September, nine systems in four towns were out of compliance, according to the records, which were reviewed by The Hartford Courant. Seven other systems that had violated the uranium standard earlier in the year were in compliance after the latest round of tests, the newspaper reported yesterday.
State health officials said no health problems have been linked to the contamination, and they do not expect any at the levels that have been found.
The contaminated sites include Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, a mobile home park in Killingworth, and 10 condominium complexes in Brookfield.
Brian Toal, with the state agency's water section, said letters have gone out to all the towns affected by the contamination, recommending they alert nearby private well owners to make sure the problem isn't more widespread.
Federal health officials allow 30 parts per billion of uranium in well water.
The water supply at Johnson Memorial Hospital contained an average of 38 to 42 parts per billion of uranium over the past year, tests show. The hospital, which is being bought by the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, has proposed a $500,000 plan to address the problem through filtration.
"I am aware of our levels and the limits set" by the EPA, "and I am very comfortable drinking the water," Peter J. Betts, the hospital's interim chief executive officer, told the newspaper.
Some areas are more susceptible because the underlying bedrock may contain uranium. Most of the contaminated sites are in the western part of the state.
During testing in the third quarter of this year, six condominium groups in Brookfield with a combined 1,740 residents were found with uranium above the federal standard, according to the health department. The amounts ranged from 41 to 257 parts per billion.
Brookfield has been dealing with radioactive elements in its water for two decades.