timberland earthkeepers chelsea boot Committee Looking For Brandon Water Fix
It’s tough news to swallow; high radium levels in drinking water in almost every state, including in Brandon, South Dakota. This story first aired on CBS This Morning, featuring a new report by the non profit environmental working group looking at levels of radium found in many water utilities. Radium is just one of hundreds of contaminants found in drinking water systems nationwide like arsenic, pesticides and metals including lead. The study found Brandon’s radium level does not exceed federal guidelines, but people in Brandon are still concerned. The City Administrator says the City is working on fixing it.
Most of us can get water any time we want from the faucet. As the saying goes, there’s ‘water, water everywhere.’ However, Timothy Wakefield Jr. is hesitant to drink a drop of it.
Wakefield is an engineer and on Brandon’s Water Development Committee. He says the issues with Brandon’s water isn’t new information, and he’s been concerned since the City issued a watering ban last summer.
“We’re pumping the aquifers under the ground. The contamination levels are increasing and they’re going to continue to increase,” Wakefield said.
Brandon’s City Administrator Bryan Rhead says he’s aware of the issue,
and has been for a while.
Brady Mallory: “People in Brandon; are they in any danger because of this water?”
Rhead: “No, they are not. The radium in our water is below the MCL (Maximum Contaminant Levels). It’s considered a chronic contaminant, based on a lifetime of exposure. It’s not an acute contaminant that gets you sick, or worse, right now.”
Wakefield sees it differently.
“There’s a lot of talk we pass all the tests, but the EPA says over and over again that radium is a known cancer causing agent and the only safe level of radium is zero,” Wakefield said.
Brady Mallory: “It is below this federal limit, the amount of radium is small enough. The EPA says any amount is dangerous. Who’s right?”
Rhead: “The EPA is right. They’re correct.”
Rhead says the City is trying to lower the radium levels to fix the problem. That includes looking at updating infrastructure and adding more water sources, but he says the process could take a few years.
“It’s a fairly extensive study. We want to look at all water sources that are available to us and compare and contrast water quality, water quantity,” Rhead said.