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New Jersey Radon Outreach Includes Guidance on Radioactivity in Drinking Water

by Margaret Henderson

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Radon Section has developed outreach strategies to educate the public about radon risks. Radon information includes data on indoor radon test results collected over almost 30 years and guidance on radioactivity in water from private drinking water wells. Public interest in radon and the role of drinking water in increasing indoor radon have prompted detailed information on the prior testing and guidance on testing drinking water.

The Radon Section provides a Radon Potential Map (2015) that includes data on more than one million radon indoor tests, performed between 1985 through 2014. Levels exceeding 4 pCi/L, the recommended USEPA action level, have been found in every area of New Jersey, regardless of radon potential designed by the map.

Additionally, the Radon Section provides guidance on radioactivity in drinking water, based on the geographic location within the state. Because radioactivity in drinking water can result in health risk from radon that escapes to the indoor air, the Radon Section publishes information on drinking water testing and encourages testing all homes for radon.

The department has published specific guidance for both North and South Jersey:
• A North Jersey Homeowner’s Guide to Radioactivity in Drinking Water: Uranium
• A South Jersey Homeowner’s Guide to Radioactivity in Drinking Water: Radium

Both guides indicate that radioactivity in drinking water is not a new phenomenon in New Jersey and the purpose of the guide is to provide information to homeowners who want to test their private drinking water wells. The North Guide notes the areas in New Jersey where high levels of uranium in drinking water are most likely to be found. The South Guide notes that the southern New Jersey’s Cohansey aquifer has shown elevated levels of naturally occurring radioactivity. Both guides discuss health effects, testing methods and remediation possibilities.

For more information, contact:
NJDEP - Radon Section
Anita Kopera, Supervisor
Mail Code 25-01
PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
Phone (609) 984-5425
(800) 648-0394