The State has just informed us that the average uranium levels of Well #3 over the last four quarters is at, but not above, the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Therefore we do not have to shut down this well at this time.
The following table shows the quarterly uranium test results for Well #3 over the last four quarters, measured in parts per billion (ppb) and picocuries per liter (pCi/L):
|Test Date||Results (ppb)||Results (pCi/L)|
|July 7th, 2020||30 ppb||20.1 pCi/L|
|July 16th, 2020||31 ppb||20.7 pCi/L|
|September 1st, 2020||31 ppb||20.7 pCi/L|
|November 12th, 2020||32 ppb||21.4 pCi/L|
|January 5th, 2021*||23 ppb||15.4 pCi/L|
|January 19th, 2021||30 ppb||20.1 pCi/L|
|April 2021||33 ppb||22.1 pCi/L|
*This test was taken shortly after restarting well #3, which had not been run for about a month, and is considered erroneous.
This is good news in the short-term as it means we can continue to keep Well #3 on standby as a back-up to well #1 (which is currently our lead well).
While it is far from ideal for Well #3 to have reached the maximum allowed level because we are primarily pumping water from Well #1 we are minimizing the concentrations of uranium in our drinking water. Well #3 is only used if the demand exceeds the capacity of Well #1, which hasn’t been the case since we moved Well #3 to be the standby at the end of last year. According to research, exposure to uranium in drinking water for a short time should not have a negative impact on your health.
Despite the State informing us that Well #3 isn’t above the MCL for uranium, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the quality of our drinking water our Water Company is continuing with the installation of the temporary uranium treatment and are hoping to bring this online late June to early July, depending on the timing of State approvals.
As you can see in the table above, while the average calculated by the State is at the allowable MCL, this is only because of the anomalous test result on January 5th, which was significantly below the previous test results. This test was taken shortly after restarting Well #3, which had not been run for about a month or so, and was considered erroneous by our Water Quality Manager. The test was redone two weeks later and came back above the MCL. The State is required to average these two samples taken in January when calculating the totals for the four consecutive quarters, skewing the results. This is why they haven’t yet cited Well #3.
There is no change at this time to the irrigation prohibition or the short and intermediate-term actions that are underway. Our Water Company is continuing on as planned and we will continue to work towards an easing of the irrigation prohibition at some point through the summer if all goes well.