Radium discovered in Beloit well, exceeding health standards

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BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) -- The City of Beloit says radium has been discovered in one of its wells. It exceeds the levels allowed in state and federal health standards.

Courtesy: MGN

Radium is formed when uranium decays, and can be found in rocks and soil in parts of Wisconsin.

The city said in a release Monday that there is no immediate risk from radium as long as it is short-term exposure. The city says in the case of this well, residents should have only been exposed to short-term levels of radium.

However, long-term exposure to radium is known to increase the risk of cancer, especially in bones, according to the Wisconsin DNR.

When radium was discovered, the city shut off the well, and will turn the well back on when “mitigation practices have been implemented,” according to a release.

The radium was discovered in one well in tests on Nov. 7, 2018, March 13, 2019, June 26, 2019 and Sept. 18, 2019.

The city says they can reduce radium levels in several ways:

• Blend high radium water with water from sources containing lower levels of radium.
• Find an alternative water supply or construct a new well into a low-radium aquifer.
• Soften or apply another effective radium removal treatment technique to the water supply.

The city of Beloit directs all questions or concerns to the Director of Water Resources, William Frisbee, at 608-364-6699 or Frisbeew@beloitwi.gov.