considers radium treatment proposal
By Dan Chanzit
Kane County Chronicle, IL
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
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
"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