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CANONCITO, NM — The Canoncito Water Association has signed a 10-year contract with Water Remediation Technology, LLC (WRT) to remove radium from water from two of its wells, according to an August 13 PR Newswire press release.
The contract also calls for Wheat Ridge, CO-based WRT to be responsible for the environmentally safe handling and removal of the radium media from the treatment site to a licensed facility, the release said.
The current radium concentration in the wells, which serve about 100 residents in Canoncito, is 11 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), more than twice the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) maximum radium limit of 5 pCi/L.
In 2005, the New Mexico Environmental Department ordered the Canoncito Water Association to improve the quality of drinking water by late 2008 or face fines and other civil penalties. In 2006, the EPA deemed the water in Canoncito unsafe to drink. Residents have been using bottled water for drinking and cooking.
Radium, found naturally in soil, water and food at low concentratios, can cause certain health problems such as anemia and cancer if it is consumed over a period of time.
According to the release, WRT and association officials are going over the designs of the system and should have it in place by November 2008.
When installed, the system will be able to process more than 6.7 million gallons of water annually.
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