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High uranium concentrations found in ground water in NE Washington, USGS study finds


May 17, 2018
By Ground Water Canada

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Washington State – Wells in northeastern Washington State often have high uranium concentrations, sometimes as much as 40 times the level considered safe for drinking water, indicates a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The study, led by researcher Sue Kahle, hydrologist and lead researcher, sampled water from 13 wells and looked at historical data on uranium concentrations.

Uranium concentrations of ground water samples from six of the 13 wells exceeded the maximum contaminant level for uranium. Uranium concentrations in water samples from two wells were 1,130 and 1,180 μg/L, respectively: nearly 40 times the maximum contaminant level, the USGS said in an abstract.

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The study concluded that more data collection and analysis are needed in rural areas where self-supplied ground water withdrawals are the primary source of water for human consumption. Of the roughly 43,000 existing water wells in the study area, only 1,755 wells have available uranium concentration data, and some of those data are decades old, according to the abstract. | READ MORE