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ATTENTION: Private Well Owners in Amador County
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2016
Contact: Diana Evensen, MSPH
Amador County Public Health
Public Information Officer
California’s groundwater may contain naturally occurring radioactivity. Radioactive
minerals occur irregularly in California’s bedrock, and when dissolved in water, radionuclides are
colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Unlike community water systems, private wells in California are not
routinely regulated or monitored for contaminants like radionuclides. As a result, well owners are
responsible for ensuring their drinking water is safe.
In some well water, the concentrations of radionuclides exceed public drinking water standards, called
maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). Long-term exposure to radionuclides above the drinking water
standards increases one's risk of cancer and/or kidney problems. It is recommended that consumption of
water containing levels of radionuclides above the MCLs be avoided, and that bottled water be used for
drinking and cooking purposes.
In May 2016, water quality testing was performed for a groundwater well drilled near the City of Jackson
for a small community water system. The well was found to contain radionuclide levels in excess of the
State MCLs. More information is needed to determine if the water quality of this water well is an anomaly,
or if elevated naturally occurring radioactivity exists in private water well supplies in the surrounding area.
The Amador County Environmental Health Department intends to conduct additional investigation in the
Although there is technology available for removing radionuclides from drinking water, treatment requires
ongoing maintenance and monitoring to ensure proper performance. Should you be interested in having
your water supply tested for radionuclides, please contact a California certified laboratory. For a list of
laboratories in our area, please call Amador County Environmental Health Department at (209) 223-6439.
If you are seeking more information about radionuclides in drinking water, the US EPA has a very helpful
website for private well owners: https://www3.epa.gov/radtown/private-wells.html