County Executive Announces Free Radium Testing for Private Well Owners in North County
Radium Grant Program Continues to Assist Income-Eligible Homeowners
Annapolis, MD (June 6, 2007) - In his on-going efforts to expand the Radium Grant Program, County Executive John R. Leopold is encouraging private well owners in Northern Anne Arundel County to test their well water for radium, a radioactive element which can cause cancer. The first 50 callers from the identified area (see map) will receive free well water screening for radium.
"I sponsored legislation in 2003 to assist income eligible County residents with the cost of radium-reducing water treatment systems," said County Executive Leopold. "I also initiated the 2007 bill to make the Pilot Radium Grant Program permanent. There is no greater priority than public health and safety, and in a high cancer rate county, it is imperative to do all that we can to provide financial assistance. This free well water screening for radium for the first 50 callers will go a long way to motivate homeowners to have their wells tested, and for those who qualify, receive assistance with the cost of treatment installation."
Radium is a naturally occurring element found in rock that can dissolve into groundwater. Although radium does not pose an immediate health threat, over time it can attach to bone and possibly increase the risk of certain cancers. It can be effectively removed from well water by installing a specialized treatment unit.
High levels of radium have been found in two-thirds of the private wells tested in northern Anne Arundel County. Groundwater in other areas of the county has not been found to contain elevated levels of radium, and the County’s public water meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for drinking water.
If test results show that the well water exceeds EPA standards for radium and related particles, the homeowner can apply for the Radium Grant Program. The Anne Arundel County Department of Health, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, will reimburse up to 25 percent of the cost of radium water treatment systems. Grants are made based on income eligibility.
To receive radium screening, well owners in Northern Anne Arundel County should call the Department of Health’s Well Water Program at 410-222-7398. The first 50 callers will receive free screening. More information and an application for the Radium Grant Program are available by calling 410-222-7398 or by visiting www.aahealth.org.
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