I happen to live about two miles from Madison CT.
From the New Haven Register:
Uranium found in Madison water
MADISON Ă˘â‚¬â€ť District officials will disable all water fountains at two schools and supply bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes after the schoolsĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ water tested positive for elevated uranium levels.
Superintendent of Schools David Klein advised parents Friday that uranium, a mildly radioactive substance that can cause kidney disease, was found Thursday in water at both Kathleen H. Ryerson Elementary School and Dr. Robert H. Brown Middle School.
The uranium level was found to be 110 parts per billion, more than three times the standard accepted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for public water systems that supply homes, Klein said.
There is no standard for schools, and no testing is required for schools, said Brian Toal, an epidemiologist at the state Department of Public Health.
The tests were done after an anonymous source told school officials Oct. 28 that elevated uranium levels were found in the groundwater at a nearby property.
The Department of Public Health does not expect people who consumed the water to suffer any adverse health effects, Toal said Friday.
As a precaution, town employees will disconnect all water fountains this weekend and begin using water coolers in the halls and kitchens beginning Monday and until further notice, Klein said.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“I think the school district is responding very thoughtfully. WeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve responded expeditiously, and I think weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve put together a plan, starting Monday, that is all about the safety of the occupants of the schools,Ă˘â‚¬ť he said.
For the first week, the coolers will cost the school district about $555, Director of Facilities Bill McMinn said. He said he will determine future orders based on consumption.
No other Madison schools were affected because their water is provided by the Connecticut Water Company, which tests for uranium and other impurities, Klein and Department of Public Health Director John Bowers said.
Toal said students and staff exposed to the uranium need not take any action.
He said he has seen levels in Connecticut of more than 1,000 parts per billion not cause adverse effects.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“We just donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t want people, parents, to be overly concerned. If their children were drinking a reasonable amount of water, … we would not expect any adverse effects and thereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s no medical testing that would be recommended or even be useful,Ă˘â‚¬ť Toal said.
Usually, in situations when there are elevated uranium levels, building owners drill a new well or install a filtration device, Toal said.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“We will be continuing to talk to the state Health Department about any further action that we can take,Ă˘â‚¬ť Bowers said. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Treatment is going to be very difficult.Ă˘â‚¬ť
Klein said he has not determined the probable cost of supplying water to the schools, and remedying the uranium levels, or where the money would come from in the budget.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“We just wanted to make sure we did the responsible thing and we will find the money to do the right thing,Ă˘â‚¬ť Klein said.
Several parents Friday said that although they were somewhat concerned about the uranium levels, they were confident in the administrationĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s ability to handle the problem.
Maggie Mayer, a parent of students at both schools, said that while she found the news startling, she trusted that the situation would be handled and would not result in any health problems for her children.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“I think what did concern me is the possibility that they havenĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t been testing the water all along,Ă˘â‚¬ť Mayer said, adding that she wished school officials had taken action when the tip came in Oct. 28. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“I understand that they probably didnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t even think that this was a concern, but thatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s two more weeks of exposure that the kids didnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t need to have.Ă˘â‚¬ť
A meeting, where residents can ask questions and discuss concerns, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the Brown Middle School auditorium.
It was mentioned on the news that the “source of the uranium has not yet been determined.” Well, I can tell you what the source is right now: the local geology. Yes, that’s right. Uranium, as far as minerals go, is just not rare at all. It’s actually quite common to find uranium in a variety of rock and soil types.
The fact that the levels are “three times higher” than the federal standard for residential drinking water shouldn’t really be any reason for concern. The standards are set very conservatively and considering that most kids would be limited to a few sips from a drinking fountain, the exposure is basically neglidgable. 110 ppb is a bit higher than normal but still not really high enough to really get worried about.
Another thing to consider is that many of the students from this school likely go home to drink from wells that have just as much uranium in the water, if not more. All things considered, bringing in bottled water seems a bit silly and expensive. However, I can’t fault the school for feeling the need to. I’m sure that if they did not immediately shut off the “uranium” water fountains there would be plenty of parents screaming bloody murder about it.
Of course, if you go by the word of those who believe that Iraq, Afgahnistan and Bosnia are all contaminated forever and full of victums of depleted uranium, then shouldn’t all the students be dead by now? Or at least have some kind of hideous tumor growing on their head or something? Guess not.