On this Website, we will endeavor to regularly inform you about news at Gilbert-Summit Rural Water District.
Radium in Drinking Water
What is radium and why is it present in water?
Unstable radioactive elements are found in a wide range of concentrations in all rocks, soil, and water. The most common radioactive elements, uranium and thorium, decay slowly and produce other radioactive elements, such as radium, which in turn undergo still further radioactive decay. These radioactive product elements have different chemical properties, decay at different rates, and emit different levels of radiation energy than either uranium or thorium. The two most common isotopes of radium are radium- 226 and radium-228. Radium-226 has a long half-life (1,600 years) compared to that of radium-228 (5.75 years). A half-life is the time required for half of the initial amount of the radionuclide to decay. Radium-226 decays by emitting the nucleus of a helium atom (alpha particle), whereas radium-228 emits an electron (beta particle). Radium is only moderately soluble in water and only under certain geochemical conditions (Zapecza and Szabo, 1988); radium-226 and radium-228 are equally soluble. Radium can enter ground water by dissolution of aquifer materials, by desorption from rock or sediment surfaces, and by ejection from minerals during radioactive decay.
What should I do?
You do not need to use an alternative (e.g., bottled) water supply. However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.
What does this mean?
This is not an immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. This is a naturally occurring radioactive material found in soil, water, rocks, plants and foods. This higher level was only measured at one of our eight wells. All of our water is mixed or blended, therefore this level of radium is not representative of what is actually supplied to our customers. Nowhere in the system have we measured levels of radium above the MCL. How does this level of risk compare to other risks in life? It is approximately the same as the risk of dying from lightning strikes, or tornadoes or hurricanes.
The USEPA MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) for radioactivity in drinking water is set at the level of a 1 in 10,000 risk of a fatal cancer if 2 liters of water per day is consumed for 70 years.
An interesting thought to ponder is that one Brazil nut contains more radium than what the average resident ingests through water in a year.
What happened? What is being done?
The Water District has begun the process of evaluating and purchasing a proven filter system for radium removal. These filter systems are not “off the shelf” systems but are purpose made and require installation of extra piping to connect plus a building to house them in, all with a substantial cost attached. (See pictures below) The last time we installed filters, the cost was about $400,000.00 each. The normal DHEC permit is required for construction, but an added permit is required for Radioactive Material, as the filters will accumulate radium in higher concentration, which again DHEC controls. Once all of the required DHEC permits are issued and construction is completed, the filter will be placed into operation.
For more information, please contact Mark Forrester at (803) 892-5544 or P.O. Box 172, Gilbert, SC 29054. More information about radium may also be obtained on the web at:
HWY #378 Waterline Construction
Construction on a waterline along Hwy #378 from SpoolWheel Road to Hammock Bay is underway and should be complete by July 2021. This waterline will improve redundancy and water supply to the area.
The District office will be closed:
Friday, January 1 - New Year
Monday, January 18 - MLK Day
Monday, February 15 - Presidents' Da
Friday, April 2 - Good Friday
Monday, May 31 - Memorial Day
Monday July 5 - Independence Day
Monday, September 6 - Labor Day
Thursday, November 11- Veterans Day
Thursday/Friday, November 25 & 26 - Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, December 23 - Early Closing 12:00 pm - Christmas Eve
Friday/Monday, December 24 & 27 - Christmas
Friday December 31 - New Year
1 - New