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Great Lakes Article:

Elburn considers radium treatment proposal
By Dan Chanzit
Kane County Chronicle, IL
04/16/03

ELBURN Village officials will consider an alternative proposal to remove radium from the water supply.

Trustees this week reviewed a proposal by Colorado-based Water Remediation Technology, which suggests a new method to filter the water and disposing of the radioactive waste.

"It's new technology," village engineer Bill Gain said, "but the science is there for it."

The village is running out of time to decide how to remove the radium, Gain said. The village risks not qualifying for low-interest loans from the state. The village also risks being fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for failure to comply with radium reduction deadlines.
Village President James Willey said WRT contacted the village to suggest the treatment method. The company offered to pay for a month-long pilot program to show the method removes radium effectively.

"It definitely has some possibilities," Willey said. "It certainly is worth taking a look at."

Whether the village could save money with the WRT method is unclear, Village Administrator David Morrison said.

"That will be part of the final analysis," he said.

In February, the village agreed on using the ion exchange method, but that program requires the village to buy salt and upgrade the village's water system. If implemented, the method would move the radium to the village's wastewater treatment plant.

"What happens when the Environmental Protection Agency realizes that?" Willey asked. "We haven't solved the problem. We've just moved it."

Radium naturally occurs in deep wells around the region. The state wants municipalities including Batavia and Geneva to lower the concentration.

The federal government in 1976 approved the Safe Drinking Water Act, but restrictions did not take effect until 1991 and 1996. Radium is among elements that the EPA wants removed from drinking water.
Other cities and villages in central Kane County are in various stages of the radium removal process. Some considered buying Lake Michigan water from the DuPage Water Commission. Lake Michigan water meets the state's radium requirements.

Last year, Batavia officials agreed to implement the hydrous manganese oxide absorption method to remove its radium. That system is under construction, and city officials expect it to be ready in a year. Geneva plans to use the same method.


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