Radium found in a quarter of Bountiful City residents’ drinking water

Aug 24, 2021, 6:11 PM
radium south salt lake water alert...
Photo: Adobe Stock

BOUNTIFUL, Utah –People who live in the northeast corner of Bountiful have extra radium in their water. But Bountiful water officials say there’s no emergency.

A notice was sent to residents who live from 400 East Orchard Drive east toward the mountain, and Millbrook Way north to the Centerville border. Bountiful City Water says that that quarter of the city’s water comes from one impacted well.

“Not an emergency, just a public notice stated that we’ve found traces of radium in the drinking water,” said Bountiful City Water Department Director Craig Christensen. “It’s coming from our 17.8 well.”

While radium is radioactive, Christensen said that the odds of becoming sick are small.  

“Two liters a day for 70 years,” Christensen said. “That will give you a 1 in 10,000 chance more of possibly getting cancer.” 

Image provided by Bountiful City Water Department.

According to Christensen, drought is the ultimate cause of extra radium. With the wells more taxed during a drought, dissolvable solids are more likely to seep into the drinking water. 

Bountiful City Water Department Assistant Director, Jerry Wilson elaborated on why it’s happening.

“During drought, the wells have to run a lot more, and we have to take a lot more out of the ground, and this causes the aquifer to have to produce more than it normally does.

And this causes the dissolved solids (in) the water to be pulled out with that water. You’re kind of getting to the bottom of the barrel of the aquifer because it’s not recharging as fast.”

City water officials say people can help by reducing water usage, especially if they use culinary water for their yards.

Christensen says in Bountiful, that’s everyone who lives above Bountiful Boulevard from Muller Park road and to the north. 

Other reading:

South Salt Lake reports elevated manganese levels in drinking water

Utah’s drought is forcing cities to ship in drinking water


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Radium found in a quarter of Bountiful City residents’ drinking water