National Radon Awareness Month 2021 is coming to a close. Radon remains the second leading cause of lung cancer for general population…#1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Besides some refinements in National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) training and techniques, not much has changed with airborne radon mitigation technology. Active Soil Depressurization (ASD) remains the primary mitigation strategy for reducing elevated airborne radon concentrations in both residential and commercial buildings. It remains the “go to” mitigation technique because it is highly effective, has a low impact on heating and cooling cost, is economical to run, and requires little maintenance.
Waterborne radon is a secondary contributing factor to elevated indoor radon concentrations. The majority of most home’s elevated indoor radon concentrations originate from soil gas entry into the home. This primarily occurs through the slab. When water containing radon is utilized in the home (i.e.; showering, laundry etc.), the waterborne radon off – gasses from the water and becomes airborne. Unlike airborne radon mitigation where technology has changed very little; waterborne radon mitigation has seen some significant developments in aeration system technology.
Aeration is recognized by the EPA as the best available technology for waterborne radon removal. This is because there is no collection of radon as there is with granular activated carbon (GAC), and removal efficiencies remain fairly consistent throughout the service cycle. GAC removal efficiencies decline as the carbon becomes loaded with other contaminants in the water. Today’s aeration systems generally consist of a built-in submersible pump to deliver good water pressure. Variable frequency drive pumps are also available to deliver great water pressure. Regardless of manufacturer; aeration systems will incorporate a blower, and some form of agitation component whether it be a bubbling chamber, or diffuser to create enough turbulence in the water to separate the radon from the water. Today’s aeration systems can deliver removal efficiencies of up to 99%. GAC can also deliver robust radon removal efficiencies.
The first step is to test. If the current pandemic has taught us anything; it’s the value of “knowing”. Knowing if you have a problem is the first step in fixing the problem. January is designated as Radon Awareness Month for a reason. Wintertime is generally worst case scenario for indoor airborne radon concentrations. Therefore; testing now will let you know if you and your family are being exposed to elevated radon. Unfortunately; many people will test once – in the middle of summer, get a low result, and think they have no issue. Meanwhile; the family is exposed to high radon levels for extended periods of time…when we’re in our homes the most. Covid 19 has dramatically altered work and lifestyles for many of us. Primarily; we’re spending significantly more time at home. We’re in our home environment much more than ever before.
Ultimately; our goal is lung cancer risk reduction. Lowering radon levels in both air & water is effective risk reduction. Our goal is to reduce radon concentrations as low as possible. Not every home can be reduced to < 1.0 pCi/l. There are even some homes that are difficult to reduce below 3.0 pCi/l. But the majority homes are able to be reduced below 4.0 pCi/l – if not 2.0 pCi/l. Reducing your indoor airborne radon concentrations to < 4.0 pCi/l, which is the EPA Action Level, provides meaningful lung cancer risk reduction. The State of CT recommends action if waterborne radon levels exceed 5,000 pCi/l. Aeration & GAC technology can easily accomplish this goal. Many of us watch the foods we eat, what we drink, and exercise when we can, all in the name of trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Why then, do we not monitor & remediate when necessary, the air we breathe & the water we consume, in an environment we have control over? – our homes!