Radiation Test Guide and Application Form
221 State Street
Augusta, Maine 04333
Tel #: 207-287-1716
TDD #: 207-287-4479
Fax #: 207-287-6832
- What Every One Should Know About Testing Your HomeFor Radiation. Why should I test?
- What tests should I do?
Real estate transactions and health concerns often trigger testing of drinking water for many contaminants. Testing for radioactive elements is often overlooked when considering the numerous tests available. Yet radioactive elements can exist at unsafe levels in both the air in the home and in drinking water from drilled wells.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed from naturally occurring elements in the rocks and soil. It can filter through the soil and enter the basement of the home. It can also dissolve in the water and be released to the air in the home as you use the water. Radium and uranium, the naturally occurring elements that produce radon, can also dissolve in well water. These elements emit a type of radiation known as alpha radiation. Some people who drink water with high levels of alpha emitters over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer and other health problems.
Radon and other alpha emitters can be detected through laboratory tests. These test kits are available at the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory and at private laboratories. A list of laboratories can be obtained from the Radiation Control Program at the DHS Division of Health Engineering. NOTE: State law requires that radon testing in homes other than your own be done by persons registered with the Radiation Control Program. Remember – treatment methods are available which can reduce levels of any of these contaminants to acceptable levels!
Short Term Radon Air Test
This test is recommended for all homes. It measures radon present in the air in the home, but does not tell by what pathway it entered the home. Testing devices come in various shapes and sizes, but all are designed to test for a number of days, usually less than one week, and then be returned promptly to the laboratory for analysis.
- Short Term Radon Air Results - mailed 2 business days after sample receipt.
Radon Water Test
This test is recommended for drilled wells and tests only for radon present in the water. It requires a special small vial to obtain the water sample and must be returned promptly to the lab for analysis.
- Radon in Water Results - mailed 2 business days after sample receipt.
Gross Alpha Test
This test detects the presence of any elements in the water that emit alpha radiation except radon and is recommended for drilled wells. It requires about one-half gallon of water to process. This test does not indicate what specific element is present, but only checks for any alpha emitters. Therefore, in some cases, more specific follow-up tests need to be done to determine whether a result is satisfactory or whether treatment is recommended. HETL is currently the only laboratory in Maine certified by EPA to do this test.
- Gross Alpha Testing - requires approximately 2 weeks.
This test also might be recommended in some cases as a follow up to a high gross alpha test. It measures only the element uranium that might be present and requires a 120mL sample.
- Uranium Testing - requires approximately 2 weeks
This test would be recommended in certain cases as follow up to a high gross alpha test and requires about 1 gallon of water for analysis. It looks only for the element radium but includes analysis for the two common isotopes of radium.
- Radium Testing - requires approximately 6 weeks. ( method requires long ingrowth periods )