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Elevated radium levels detected in Brookfield drinking water

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The City of Brookfield says their drinking water is in violation of State and Federal Safe Drinking Water Regulations due to elevated levels of combined Radium-226 and Radium-228. 

In a letter released to residents dated September 17, 2018, the city says The Water Utility collected combined radium samples from the Bishops Woods Well on Bishops Lane in May 2017, November 2017, March 2018, and June 2018. The average combined radium result was 6.75 pCi/L, which exceeds the safe standard Maximum Contaminant Level of 5 pCi/L. 

The letter says residents do not need to take any precautions and do not need to use an alternative water supply like bottled water. 

“It's not something that will affect you on the short term by any means. If you are worried you can consult your doctor,” John Carlson, Superintendent of Water Utility said.

According to the letter, radium 226 and 228 is a naturally occurring element and that there is not an immediate risk but some people who drink water contaminated with high levels of radium 226 or 228 over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer. 

The City of Brookfield says The Water Utility is working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop a plan to fix the problem. 

Civil and Environment Engineering Assistant Professor Matthew at UW-Madison Matthew Ginder-Vogel recently got funding from the DNR to study wells across the state.

"We are trying to figure out why it is so widespread and how we can help utilities," said Ginder-Vogel. 

Updates will be posted on the City of Brookfield website here. 

Those with questions are encouraged to call John Carlson, the Superintendent for the city's Water Department, at 262-796-6717. For answers to frequently asked questions about the city's water, please click here. 

For more DNR resources and general information on contaminants in drinking water click the highlighted links. 

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