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County Executive Leopold Urges Residents to Take Advantage of Private Well Testing for Radium
Annapolis, MD (December 12, 2006) - Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold is reminding residents that legislation providing assistance to property owners who purchase treatment systems to mitigate high levels of radium in private wells is still available.
"Legislation I sponsored in 2003, allows for matching funds by the State to provide a reimbursement of up to 25 per-cent of the total cost of mitigation for radium in private wells," said County Executive Leopold. "This was a pilot program signed into law in 2003 and has not been fully utilized."
To date, County residents from Pasadena, Severn and Severna Park have taken advantage of the program and more than $2,500 has been paid to eligible homeowners. The County Executive is urging residents to sign up for the program, which has two years remaining on the payback. "This money is available for any resident who tested for radium since the program began in 2003. The clock doesn’t run out until June of 2009 and residents can still get reimbursed for the money they put out," said Mr. Leopold.
The Radium Pilot Grant Program provides financial aid to residential well owners to remove radium or gross alpha from well water. Implementation of the program is subject to the availability of funds in the State budget.
"The Department of Housing Community Development is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Marylanders," said DHCD Acting Secretary Shawn S. Karimian. "Thanks to our partnership with Anne Arundel County, DHCD is proud to offer financial assistance to combat the potential health problem of radium-tainted wells."
The Department of Housing and Community Development can only award a grant to a well owner wh (1) lives in a county that participates in the program; (2) has installed a water treatment system that removes excess radium or gross alpha; and (3) does not earn more than 110% of the statewide or metropolitan statistical area median income (Family income totaling $80,000). Counties that choose to participate in the program must process grant applications from well owners. DHCD must match the grant awarded by the county and make a formula available to the counties that uses a sliding scale based on income so that lower income well owners will be eligible for larger grants. The combined county and State grant cannot exceed 25% or be less than 10% of the cost of the treatment system installed by the well owner. The bill authorizes DHCD to adopt regulations to implement the program.
" Radium in drinking water does not pose an immediate health threat, but may have adverse health effects over the long-term," said County Health Officer Fran Phillips. "Various treatment devices, such as a water softener, ion removal or reverse osmosis system, will effectively remove radium from home drinking water. So, for households using well water in the northern part of the County, it makes good sense to install a treatment system. This Program offers important financial help for lower income residents to do so."
The Radium Pilot Grant Program reminder is part of County Executive Leopold’s commitment to ensure water quality throughout the County.
For more information on well testing, contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Well Construction/Water Quality Program at (410) 222-7398.