Cañoncito, NM – Water Remediation Technology, LLC (WRT) is increasing its presence in the West with its first contract in New Mexico to remove radium from drinking water supplies to ensure that it is safe enough for residents to consume.
WRT’s system will treat water from two wells that service about 100 residents in Cañoncito, a residential area approximately 15 miles east of Santa Fe. Not only will WRT be treating the water under the 10-year contract with the Cañoncito Water Association, but it will also be responsible for the environmentally safe handling and removal of the radium media from the treatment site to a licensed facility, preventing future contamination in the area.
“WRT’s system and process is easy to operate and use,” said Ramon Lucero Jr., project manager at Souder, Miller & Associates, an engineering and consulting firm that works with the Cañoncito Water Association. “With the other radium treatment processes we considered, we would have had to dispose of the waste ourselves and hire a certified operator to run the system, which would have incurred additional costs. WRT’s system takes the burden off of the association because the company removes and disposes of the waste for us.”
According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radium can be found naturally in soil, water and food at low concentrations. But if it is consumed over a period of time, radium could cause certain health problems such as anemia and cancer.
The current radium concentration in the wells in Cañoncito is 11 pCi/L (Pico curies per liter), more than twice the EPA’s maximum radium presence limit (5 pCi/L). In 2005, the New Mexico Environmental Department ordered the Cañoncito 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 Cañoncito unsafe to drink, forcing residents to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.
WRT and association officials are going over the designs of the system and should have it in place by November 2008. When installed, WRT’s treatment system will be able to process more than 6.7 million gallons of water annually. Colorado-based WRT also services clients in several other states, including California Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.