Archive for July, 2012
Waterborne Radon and the North Carolina Radon Program
According to the Center for Disease Control, radon contamination is estimated to cause thousands of deaths each year. The waterborne radon problem in North Carolina may not be as deadly as in the hardest-hit states, but it is still a significant enough problem that residents should educate themselves about the dangers of radon in water and how to protect themselves from it.
The North Carolina Radon Program was founded to educate residents about the dangers radon poses and how to protect themselves. The program’s goal is to have homes built with radon-resistant construction techniques and to have information on testing and mitigation revealed to homeowners during the transfer of real estate. They also want to see schools tested for radon — a process that homeowners should have performed regularly in their own homes. The program is currently setting environmental goals and developing grass-roots coalitions to spread awareness about radon risk and reduction methods. Citizens can contact them with any questions or concerns they may have about either airborne or radon in water.
The Dangers of Radon in Water
The danger of radon in drinking water begins when water from an underground source such as a well becomes contaminated — which can happen easily since radon is naturally created underground. Radon gas contaminated water can cause lung cancer in humans when the radon particles escape into the air. These particles can severely damage the lung’s tissue over time after they are inhaled. Drinking radon-contaminated water can also damage other internal organs such as the stomach, potentially even causing stomach cancer. However, the most severe health problems tend to arise from inhaling the radon after it escapes from the water.
Techniques to Mitigate Waterborne Radon
If testing finds that your home’s water is contaminated with radon, you will need to have SWAT Environmental purify it. Aeration and absorption are the two main techniques used to remove radon from a water supply. Aeration methods such as Packed Tower Aeration mitigate radon from large flows of water by trapping it in water bubbles. The raw water is sprayed into a tower until it trickles down onto plastic packing. Air is then pumped into the packing to enhance the radon’s removal so it can be channeled into a reservoir tower below. Lastly, the air containing the radon gas is released from the top tower, preventing it from entering your home.
Another aeration method, Diffused Bubble Aeration, mitigates the radon gas by injecting air into the water. The radon gas becomes trapped in the bubbles as they rise. The gas is then vented out of the system when it reaches the top unit. Cascade Aeration is the simplest method of removing radon from water. It uses a series of steps similar to a waterfall for the water to flow over. Ventilation then removes the gas from the unit.
Absorption is the other primary method used to remove radon in water. This technique uses granular activated carbon to absorb the radon gases. The carbon becomes saturated with the radon over a period of time, cleansing the water of the contaminant. To ensure continuous decontamination of water, the carbon must be replaced or regenerated by steam cleaning periodically. In some cases, multiple systems will be necessary to complete remove the radon from your home’s water supply.
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Radon is a silent killer that slips under the radar in many homes. It is an invisible and odorless gas that is estimated to kill between 5,000 and 25,000 people per year. When radon builds up to excessive levels, it can be extremely damaging to your health; in fact, for non-smokers, radon is the most common cause of lung cancer. It is the second most common cause of lung cancer in general.
How do you know if you need to have radon abatement done in your Charlotte, North Carolina home? Your senses will not be able to tell you; fortunately, there are tests that can determine whether or not your home contains excessive levels of radon gas.
Testing Before Radon Abatement
For the most accurate results, rely on SWAT Environmental’s specialists for radon testing. A short term test will give you two to ninety days to determine the level of radon in your home. A long term test could take three months or longer, but it will be much more reliable. After the test has been completed and its results analyzed, SWAT’s radon experts will be able to tell you whether or not there are excessive levels of radon in your home. You can also perform a do-it-yourself version of this test if you wish, although it may not be as accurate as the professional version.
Having Radon Abatement Performed
If testing determines that there are excessive levels of radon in your home, you should next contact a SWAT Environmental specialist, if you have not already done so. These specialists are experts in how to remove radon from a house and prevent its return — a process known as radon abatement.
SWAT Environmental’s radon abatement specialists know what is needed to help mitigate radon levels in any house. This level of training and expertise is particularly important for two reasons: first, because every house’s structure, radon problem and optimal solutions vary — there is no “one size fits all” solution. Second, because the stakes during radon abatement are very high. A poor quality job could put your entire family at risk for lung cancer and other serious health problems.
What Puts You at Risk for Needing Radon Abatement
Generally, the biggest culprit during a buildup of radon will be found in the basement. Not only is this area of the house closest to the ground that produces radon, but it also tends to have the worst air ventilation. Once the gas begins to build up in the basement, it can spread to the rest of the house.
For the sake of your health and your family’s health, you must take the threat of radon gas contamination seriously. Ensuring that a quality radon abatement specialist does his or her job as soon as a problem arises could quite possibly save your life or that of someone in your family.