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Uranium levels now at safe levels in school water system

KENT — Darrell Smith, chief of the public health drinking water section at the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said the department is keeping an eye on uranium levels in a water system at the Marvelwood School.

A problem was discovered during an inspection during the fourth quarter of 2007. Uranium levels in a water system that provides water to faculty housing were found to be higher than the state allows.

“The state standard is 30 micrograms of uranium per liter, and in the fourth quarter of 2007 the water contained 32 micrograms of uranium per liter,” Smith said. “However, the water system to the faculty houses has historically had issues with compliance. The system is currently in compliance, with test results varying between 29 and 30 micrograms of uranium per liter during 2008.”

If the uranium remains at its current level, Smith said there should not be any adverse health effects for water users in the faculty houses.

“However, it’s possible that they could drift in and out of compliance,” Smith said. “They have several options they could pursue to remedy this, including developing a new well on their campus or blending the water system with another system that’s on campus. If they go out of compliance and continue out of compliance with uranium levels, then we would require them to look at these options.”

Smith said the uranium levels in the other water system on campus are fine.

Scott Pottbecker, headmaster at Marvelwood School, did not return calls asking for comment for this story.

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