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interview with epa and deq on water radiation

Yother says these monitoring stations are recent constructed. The EPA didn’t take air borne radiation monitoring seriously until the Fukushima incident, and they were in a serious hurry to set up a proper network after the disaster. ”Buying the equipment just a year ago was impossible,” says Yother.

Using NETC.com is easy if you are familiar with Google Maps. A marker indicates the city, you can zoom in and out for a closer look, and RADCON levels are indicated by color marker signifying levels 1 (N.O.R.M. - Natural Occurring Radioactive Material) to level 5 (Alert). This service is free and requires no registration. For $20 a year, you can subscribe to their warning service that alerts you by text if a RADCON Level 5 warning is happening within 500 miles of your location. It also gives you access to a detailed archive on the NETC.com site.

Yother believes that we are receiving harmful radiation from the Fukushima reactor, both from the air and the water. “RADCON levels will spike during rain and snow storms, and Geiger counters will spike when testing freshly fallen snow.” RADCON levels do go up when Salt Lake City has a storm coming in.

I then spoke with the government agencies about what I had recently learned from Yother, and to ask the single question: “Have you tested any water for radiation since 2012?”

It was rather difficult to reach the right person at the EPA to ask this question. Eventually, I spoke with Lisa McClain-Vanderpool of the Region 8 EPA office in Colorado. Our discussion was short, and I was directed to email Enesta Jones in DC, who did not respond to emails. McClain-Vanderpool did, however, verify that no water samples have been taken by Region 8 to be tested for radiation. The only water samples received have been tested for mercury.

The DEQ turned out to be the most helpful of the bunch. By the time I spoke with Philip Globe, thoughts of purchasing a stock pile of carbon water filters and giving up fishing were dancing in my head. Globe eased my fears a bit.

Globe is the senior License Review Inspector for the local DEQ. Quite knowledgeable in all things radiation, he inspects and monitors industrial radiation in our community. He personally conducted a field count with a gamma spectroscopy system on rivers and lakes in our area one week after the Fukushima incident. He reported “very low man-made radiation.” Globe went on to educate me about the readings from the NETC and how levels fluctuate. “Any detection after rain or snow of radon coming out of the soil is naturally occurring.” Globe went on to say “there are no problems with our local rivers, lakes, and streams”.

However, in all this good news from Globe and the DEQ, he reported that no water samples were tested for radiation.

Again, water samples taken are only tested for mercury.

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