- When was the City made aware of the radium level being out of compliance?
The City received verbal notice from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in January, with a formal written notification dated January 30, 2023.
- How high are the radium levels?
The most recent test samples, taken on September 12, 2023, show that the rolling annual average level of combined radium—types 226 and 228—at the Inver Grove Heights Water Treatment Plant was 5.1 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), which is under the allowable drinking water standard for radium, or Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), of 5.4 pCi/L.
- What steps are being taken by the City of IGH?
The City has contracted with a chemist to take City water samples and make recommendations regarding operational changes in the water treatment process to lower radium levels as quickly as possible. These operational adjustments, including additional sampling and radium testing above and beyond MDH testing requirements, have already been implemented and are being monitored for effectiveness.
- Should I boil my water?
No. Boiling water does not remove radium.
- Should I drink bottled water?
The City is not recommending drinking bottled water. If you have a specific health concern, please consult your healthcare provider.
- Can children drink City water?
Yes. If you have a specific health concern, please consult your child’s healthcare provider, or you can visit the MDH website for more information at: www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/contaminants/radionuclides.html.
- Will a carbon filter remove radium from water?
No. Carbon filters, such as Brita filters, are not recommended for removing radium.
Some other water filters, such as reverse osmosis filters, are recommended for removing radium. Water customers that utilize home water treatment systems, such as water softening and distillation, are also likely reducing radium concentrations through these additional treatment processes.
- Is City water safe for bathing, swimming and brushing teeth?
Yes. Radium must be ingested in high concentrations over extended periods of time (i.e., several years) to adversely affect health.
- Will the City be updating its water treatment plant to better address radium removal?
Yes. The City of IGH was one of the first in Minnesota to treat drinking water for radium using sand filtration. These filters have aged, and technology has improved since they were installed in 1998 and updated in 2006. The City has budgeted approximately $5 million to update the City’s water treatment plant in 2024, including updating its filtration systems to better address radium removal. Because the City has only one water treatment facility, it cannot take the facility completely off-line while the system is updated, requiring that the filter replacement occur in a phased manner to keep the water treatment facility operational.
- Where can residents find more information?
Please visit the City’s website at www.ighmn.gov/waternotice for more information on the radium notice. This site contains additional resources for water consumers, including past IGH Consumer Confidence Reports, which are annual water quality reports issued by the City, and links to more information about radium from the MDH.
- I didn't get a notice in the mail. Why not? How can I get one?
Notices were sent in February 2023 to every property that receives water from the IGH water treatment facility. If you are a renter, your landlord might have received the notice for your address, or if you have a private well and do not use City water, you would not have received a notice. Additionally, some residents who receive a water bill from the City of IGH actually get their water from either the Eagan water treatment facility or the South St. Paul water treatment facility. In these cases, you would not have received a notice about radium levels in your water because your home or business does not get City of IGH water.
Per the City's compliance agreement with MDH, the City is providing quarterly updates in its Insights newsletter. These updates can be viewed at ighmn.gov/newsletter.
- I have a private well. How do find information about radium levels in my drinking water?
Private wells are not as deep as the aquifers from which the City sources its drinking water, and therefore the water in private wells comes from different ground strata. The City does not have data on radium levels in private wells on properties within the City of IGH. For more information on how you can test your private well water, please visit the Dakota County Water Testing website at: https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Environment/WaterResources/WellsDrinkingWater/Pages/radium.aspx or the Minnesota Department of Health Well Testing website at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/wells/waterquality/index.html.