Our Review of
EPA's Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon
Radon in Water
Introduction: This page is part of our series reviewing the EPA's Radon guidebook Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon. The purpose of our review is to inform Tahoe area homeowners and home buyers about what the EPA says to do regarding high Radon levels in the Lake Tahoe area. Mostly, the guide focuses on Radon gas that creeps into homes. However, Radon is also high in Tahoe area well water, which is the source of municipal drinking water.
The EPA explains that Radon in your home's indoor air can come from two sources, the soil or your water supply, pointing out that Radon entering through the soil is a much larger risk than Radon in the water supply.
The public utilities at Lake Tahoe are concerned enough about Radon in the water to include warnings, such as this one from North Tahoe Public Utility District, "Breathing air containing radon can cause cancer. Drinking water containing radon may also cause an increased risk of stomach cancer." Consumer Confidence Report of North Tahoe Public Utility District.
The EPA recommends that homes with water coming from wells should have the water tested; because they say, "The Radon in your water supply poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk."
Just when you thought you could go back into the shower! The EPA does state that "research has shown that your risk of lung cancer from breathing Radon in air is much larger than your risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with Radon in it. Most of your risk from Radon in water comes from Radon released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes."
So, what's a Tahoe homeowner to do? The EPA recommends, "If you are concerned that Radon may be entering your home through the water and your water comes from a public water supply, contact your water supplier."
The EPA Radon guide does not go into detail about how to fix high radon levels in home water sources, however their website does give the following helpful information about two types of devices that remove radon from water:
- Granular activated carbon (GAC) filters (which use activated carbon to remove the radon), and
- Aeration devices (which bubble air through the water and carry radon gas out into the atmosphere through an exhaust fan).
How to lookup more info about these devices? Go to NSF International; Water Quality Association; or the Underwriter's Laboratory.
This series is provided to inform about Radon at Lake Tahoe and beyond. On each page, you can view more by clicking on one of the navigation links below.
Home Air Quality Monitors
A Radon detector is only one home monitor that you can use to check the indoor air quality of your home at Lake Tahoe and beyond. Here's a handy link to home air quality monitors and other air quality products.