CITY OF PEWAUKEE - Increased radium levels in city water has officials working on a treatment plan to try to solve the problem.
There is no immediate health risk, according to the most recent notice posted on the city's website. However, the radium levels are in violation of state and federal safe drinking water regulations.
Specifically, for the second quarter of 2017, the levels of combined radium exceeded the threshold of 5 picocuries per liter (PC/L) maximum containment level (MCL) in one of the city's wells. The average of four quarterly samples collected in 2016 was 5.567 PCI/L. The fourth quarter of 2016 was in compliance with the radium standard.
Those who drink water above the maximum recommended levels over many years are more at risk for getting cancer. Utility Superintendent Jane Mueller recommended residents look at their consumption levels to determine their risk.
The city has notified residents, as required by the state Department of Natural Resources.
The city first learned of issues with the well in late 2015, and according to Mueller, it has been sending public notices out quarterly with the water bills informing residents of the issue.
Mueller said the city's public works department is finalizing a treatment plan and hopes to send it to the DNR by the end of July.
"We've got all the engineering studies done, and we have to get DNR approval before we start construction on this treatment system for Well 1," Mueller said. "I'm hoping we're able to go out to bid by the fall or winter of 2017."
Until then, the city has been minimizing the use of the well with the increased radium levels, although it may need to use the well during periods of high demand and main flushing.
The city has also blended water from the 11 other wells serving the city to further dilute the radium levels.