Waukesha was once again in the news last week when city officials submitted to the DNR a lengthy supplement to augment its application to withdraw water from Lake Michigan.
Waukesha is seeking water from Lake Michigan to address the city's future water needs; Lake Michigan water would also help provide a solution to the high levels of radium in Waukesha's current water supply. So what is radium, and why do Waukesha residents need to be concerned about it?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radium is a naturally occurring radioactive metal that occurs at low levels in almost all rock, soil, water, plants and animals.
Some types of rocks, however - including shales, granites and sandstones - can contain a higher percentage of radium than others, according to a public notice released last year by the Waukesha Water Utility.
Waukesha's wells draw from formations containing sandstone and shale, which may be the cause of the higher levels of radium in the city's water.
Long-term exposure to ingested or inhaled radium increases the risk of diseases such as lymphoma, bone cancer, leukemia and aplastic anemia, says the EPA.
However, the Waukesha Water Utility says the immediate health risk from radium in the city's water is negligible.
"The water is safe to drink, and seeking of alternative water sources of unknown bacteriological or chemical quality is not recommended," says the public notice.
What do you want to know? E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Longtime City of Waukesha attorney Curt Meitz won't run for re-election
- Waukesha man pleads guilty, gets life sentence for triple homicide
- Waukesha man charged in motorcyclist's death
- Police Report: Dec. 5
- Donations help Hope Center's clients stay warm
- Women's Center gets $4,000 Packers grant
- Get in the spirit downtown this month
- Hardees shuts down well before its lease expired
- Final suspect in shooting near Waukesha Woodman's turns himself in
- Food drives creating lasting bonds for Waukesha neighborhoods