Aiken seeing raised radium levels in water

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) — Some people living in a part of Aiken say that they’ve had enough with notices from the city about increased levels of radium.

A notice that has been sent 16 times to people living in the area says that radium levels in the drinking water are higher than standards allow. The area spans from Croft Mill Road all the way up to I-20. The notice also says that over time, ingesting this water can lead to certain kinds of cancer.

“I go and talk to the water company and they tell me it's just a little bit of radium,” said Ashley Robinson who has received this notice several times, “it won't kill you they say.”

Radium is used in the production of several radiography devices like x-ray machines. Workers us it to inspect metals parts for flaws that could cause machines to malfunction. Radium can also be found on the very end of lightning rods to help attract lightning strikes to hit the end of the rod.

“It's stressful,” said Robinson,” I feel like our water should be properly cleaned. I mean it’s just awful.”

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says that they are aware of the issue and charged the city of Aiken to fix the issue. Aiken officials say they are treating the water and having consultants looking at the problem.