The village of Oswego, Ill., broke ground last week on Water Remediation Technologys (WRT) state-of-the-art technology that safely reduces and removes radium from the drinking water while saving the community millions of dollars. U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert secured federal funding to pay for a portion of the public health and safety project.
"The leaders of Oswego and Speaker Hastert are to be commended for their commitment to preserving the environment and protecting the health and safety of community residents," said WRT president Charles Williams. "Oswego and WRT are taking the cleaner approach by working together to remove this radioactive substance from the drinking water to keep Illinois families safe."
Like more than 100 Illinois communities, Oswegos water exceeded the levels of radium considered acceptable by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA set a Dec.8, 2003 deadline for communities to comply with the mandate to remove radium from the water.
"Although the EPA deadline has passed, communities still have time to opt for a progressive approach that will leave the environment safer and cleaner," said Williams. "The best long-term solution for the land, environment and the drinking water is to remove the radium altogether so that Illinois residents are not threatened by this radioactive substance in future years."
In addition to removing the radium from the drinking water and transferring it to an out-of-state licensed waste disposal facility, the WRT process is simple to operate and municipal workers are not required to handle the radioactive material.
Other radium removal alternatives discharge the radium into the sewer and spread the resulting sludge on Illinois farmland. That process also results in some discharge of radium into area rivers and streams.
WRTs process is "the most environmentally sound and cost-effective method to deal with this problem," said Oswegos village administrator Carrie Hansen.
Oswego village president Craig Weber said besides being a cleaner process, WRT saves Oswego millions. "Its going to provide us with safe drinking water and (contracting with WRT) is going to save us more than $2 million in the process."