Cost of removing radon from water

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cabfranc
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Cost of removing radon from water

Post by cabfranc »

We moved into a new house about a 6 months ago. The house had high radon levels in the basement and a mitigation system was installed as part of the real estate transaction which successfully lowered the levels.

We recently decided to test the well water for radon and the numbers can back high. Apparently the standards for radon in water are all over the map. EPA has no standard for private wells. Our state has no standard, but several neighboring states do. Our levels were more than 3 times higher than the maximum in neighboring states to remediate. (Apparently radon in water is a health hazard in some states but not others.) I have had several estimates for a mitigation system (aeration) at around $10K. I was shocked at this price. Also, I have researched options and apparently carbon filters are less expensive, but every contractor gave me a reason why I should install the more expensive system.

Has anyone dealt with this and what kinds have prices have you paid?

The lack of guidelines the apparent weak relationship of radon in water to health problems, and some of the hard sells from businesses who install these systems is giving me a little pause.
exodusNH
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:21 pm

Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by exodusNH »

cabfranc wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:49 pm We moved into a new house about a 6 months ago. The house had high radon levels in the basement and a mitigation system was installed as part of the real estate transaction which successfully lowered the levels.

We recently decided to test the well water for radon and the numbers can back high. Apparently the standards for radon in water are all over the map. EPA has no standard for private wells. Our state has no standard, but several neighboring states do. Our levels were more than 3 times higher than the maximum in neighboring states to remediate. (Apparently radon in water is a health hazard in some states but not others.) I have had several estimates for a mitigation system (aeration) at around $10K. I was shocked at this price. Also, I have researched options and apparently carbon filters are less expensive, but every contractor gave me a reason why I should install the more expensive system.

Has anyone dealt with this and what kinds have prices have you paid?

The lack of guidelines the apparent weak relationship of radon in water to health problems, and some of the hard sells from businesses who install these systems is giving me a little pause.
CDC says either can be used: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinki ... radon.html, but you might have disposal issues with the carbon systems.
hicabob
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Location: cruz

Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by hicabob »

Aeration appears to work well to get rid of radon gas in H2O. If in a climate where you can have an external water tank a bubbler is easy. I have a bubbler, which amounts to a fish tank pump/stone in a 5000 gallon tank, which is kept full with well water, to get rid of the sulfur smell.

https://www.usradonmanagement.com/aeration.php
harikaried
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by harikaried »

cabfranc wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:49 pmOur levels were more than 3 times higher than the maximum in neighboring states to remediate
I have no actual experience here, but do you have other sources of water that have lower radon levels? It seems like if 1 part well water is combined with 2 parts no-radon water, that would seem to have a diluted radon level matching the neighboring state's max?
Tamales
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by Tamales »

Radon in water seems potentially pretty serious. Given the variations you've found across US states, I'd be inclined to look for info from other countries since there are many countries with far higher natural radon levels than the US and maybe they have more information and consensus on levels in water to be concerned about (whether those documents or websites are in English is a separate question).

Here's a world map of radon by country that may help narrow it down: http://mclaughlincentre.ca/research/map_radon/Index.htm
(they also have a kml file if you have Google Earth installed).
Anyway, just a thought.

edit: a quick search brought up this document for Sweden (in English) and they cite a level for private wells.
https://www.osti.gov/etdeweb/servlets/p ... 0of%20age.
On quick scan, it looks like an informative document.
rightdecisions
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by rightdecisions »

Where is your new house located?

We bought a house in the Colorado mountains. When performing the inspection, a radon test was ran by the inspector. With this info we needed to resolve/lower the radon.

Got on the internet and started reading about what radon is about. Bad stuff. Silent killer. Not all states deal with this.

Had someone give us a quote to install a system that piped the radon gas out from basement of a sump to outside the house. Kinda complicated not knowing anything. Cost was $2-3k.

Went forward with purchase of the house and this was the first thing I started looking at. I ran my own test with an electric device and then home depot tests. Home depot tests were actually the best and accurate. I ended up installing the radon system myself. Was not that hard after all. Took my time and cost me $500 in materials...maybe.

Ran my electronic and home depot tests again and significantly decreased the radon to almost nothing. Very pleased and safe.

This was just getting the gas out of the basement. It was coming in from the sump area. I did not deal with radon in water.

We do have a water filtration system. Is radon removed...not sure. I need to look into that.

Where is your water coming from? Comes from a well? Ours comes from the city...meaning its processed and cleaned. Now that I think of it we shouldn't have an issue with radon in water.

You are correct in being concerned. Its serious stuff.
bberris
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by bberris »

Radon would not be removed by a filter. Aeration will remove it.
mengo
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by mengo »

Would definitely act if any adult is a current or former smoker or if kids in house.
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hand
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by hand »

cabfranc wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:49 pm (Apparently radon in water is a health hazard in some states but not others.)
...
The lack of guidelines the apparent weak relationship of radon in water to health problems, and some of the hard sells from businesses who install these systems is giving me a little pause.
I appreciate the frustration, but the real differentiation here obviously isn't the health hazard, but rather the official definition of the hazard and the legislation of remediation. If states were conflicted on whether or not seatbelts were a safety measure and only some mandated wearing a seatbelt, what would you do?

I'd suggest the same approach here - treat the most advanced guidelines as your minimum standards, and proceed accordingly with the best remediation you can afford unless there is some reason the radon risk is not applicable to you and your family.

...and of course, wear your seatbelt!
exodusNH
Posts: 1992
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by exodusNH »

rightdecisions wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:38 pm Where is your new house located?

We bought a house in the Colorado mountains. When performing the inspection, a radon test was ran by the inspector. With this info we needed to resolve/lower the radon.

Got on the internet and started reading about what radon is about. Bad stuff. Silent killer. Not all states deal with this.

Had someone give us a quote to install a system that piped the radon gas out from basement of a sump to outside the house. Kinda complicated not knowing anything. Cost was $2-3k.

Went forward with purchase of the house and this was the first thing I started looking at. I ran my own test with an electric device and then home depot tests. Home depot tests were actually the best and accurate. I ended up installing the radon system myself. Was not that hard after all. Took my time and cost me $500 in materials...maybe.

Ran my electronic and home depot tests again and significantly decreased the radon to almost nothing. Very pleased and safe.

This was just getting the gas out of the basement. It was coming in from the sump area. I did not deal with radon in water.

We do have a water filtration system. Is radon removed...not sure. I need to look into that.

Where is your water coming from? Comes from a well? Ours comes from the city...meaning its processed and cleaned. Now that I think of it we shouldn't have an issue with radon in water.

You are correct in being concerned. Its serious stuff.
By the time city water is pumped, treated, and then travels to you, it's almost certainly radon-free.

It comes from the natural decay of uranium. Wells, just like basements, make it easy for the gas to diffuse out.

NH has radon issues due to the granite in "Granite State". Uranium is a natural component of granite.
valleyrock
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by valleyrock »

Reverse osmosis will not remove radon, either.

Depending on where you live, you could go with bottled water delivery. Bottled water has its own issues, of course, and can be expensive, but it's an option.

I'm a water engineer, and I advise people with wells to invest extra money to test the water for many things other than the minimum bacteriological requirements and radon. A certified lab can also measure cheaply a lot of heavy metals and a surrogate organic compound measurement (e.g. VOC, volatile organic carbon) for a few hundred dollars or so. I did a quick check and lab prices seem to vary widely, but your state will have a list of certified labs, so go with one of those nearby, not some water treatment sales person with a home test kit. A good lab might have a special package for well analysis for people who want to be more thorough than the minimum. Then use the lab results to help decide if more analysis would help, and how far to go with a treatment system.
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snackdog
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by snackdog »

If you don't have a cistern, this could be a good excuse to install one and get all the benefits of having one. Then I think it is cheaper to drop in a bubbler.

Otherwise, the GAC systems are usually cheaper ($1500) vs a full-on aeration system ($5000 and up).

EPA estimates 18 Americans per year die of radon in water, so not a huge risk to the average person, but perhaps only 18 have radon in their water...

Radon is one of those very fuzzy things. It is really only known to have killed people working in Uranium mines at tremendously high radon levels (>50 pCi/L) for decades. Extrapolation is made to homes with much lower levels where it seems to affect people who are predisposed to lung cancer from smoking.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5950923/ This study showed that below levels of 22 pCi/L, there was no increase in lung cancer.
bberris
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by bberris »

Really the cheapest solution is bottled water. You don't need to remove radon from the toilet flush.
Spring garden
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by Spring garden »

I would think radon in water would have health hazards via two mechanisms 1) raising air concentration and inhalation hazard, and 2) ingestion which I would think would be tempered by limited penetration of alpha particle through gastric contents and thus smaller attributable risk.
I might try a whole house granular activated charcoal filter and see what it does for levels in the water, because i suspect discounted present cost of filters to be much less than aeration system.
I respectfully disagree with prior posters that bottled water is sufficient. Due to the inhalationion route of exposure, untreated water in showers, toilets, dish water, etc would all be off-gassing radon and increasing pulmonary exposure.
bberris
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by bberris »

OP says he tested the basement and installed mitigation so airborne radon should be in the limits, whatever the water content is.
jsiulinski
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by jsiulinski »

I had a Bubble Up radon water filtration system put in 4 years ago. It cost $5k all in. I had also gotten a quote for another system (can't remember the name), and was quoted $7,500.
Topic Author
cabfranc
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Re: Cost of removing radon from water

Post by cabfranc »

Thanks for the helpful links. I've been looking at the literature on radon in water. National Academies did a study (now 20 years old) that indicated "negligible" risk from drinking the water and a "very small risk" from inhalation such as when showering. Probably it makes sense to remediate based on nearby state guidelines. However the price is shocking to me (quoted between $7k-$12k for areation system). Given how common well water is, probably many people with excessive radon do not know it and could not afford to remediate it.
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