Radon occurrence in groundwater from 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania

Evaluation of radon occurrence in groundwater from 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania, 1986–2015, with application to potential radon exposure from groundwater and indoor air
Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5018

“Results from 1,041 groundwater samples collected during 1986‒2015 from 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania, associated with 25 or more groundwater samples with concentrations of radon-222, were evaluated in an effort to identify variations in radon-222 activities or concentrations and to classify potential radon-222 exposure from groundwater and indoor air. Radon-222 is hereafter referred to as “radon.” Radon concentrations in groundwater greater than or equal to the proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) for public-water supply systems of 300 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) were present in about 87 percent of the water samples, whereas concentrations greater than or equal to the proposed alternative MCL (AMCL) for public water-supply systems of 4,000 pCi/L were present in 14 percent. The highest radon concentrations were measured in groundwater from the schists, gneisses, and quartzites of the Piedmont Physiographic Province.

In this study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, groundwater samples were aggregated among 16 geologic units in Pennsylvania to identify units with high median radon concentrations in groundwater. Graphical plots and statistical tests were used to determine variations in radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor air. Median radon concentrations in groundwater samples and median radon concentrations in indoor air samples within the 16 geologic units were classified according to proposed and recommended regulatory limits to explore potential radon exposure from groundwater and indoor air. All of the geologic units, except for the Allegheny (Pa) and Glenshaw (Pcg) Formations in the Appalachian Plateaus Physiographic Province, had median radon concentrations greater than the proposed EPA MCL of 300 pCi/L, and the Peters Creek Schist (Xpc), which is in the Piedmont Physiographic Province, had a median radon concentration greater than the EPA proposed AMCL of 4,000 pCi/L. Median concentrations of radon in groundwater and indoor air were determined to differ significantly among the geologic units (Kruskal-Wallis test, significance probability, p<0.001), and Tukey’s test indicated that radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor air in the Peters Creek Schist (Xpc) were significantly higher than those in the other units. Also, the Peters Creek Schist (Xpc) was determined to be the area with highest potential of radon exposure from groundwater and indoor air and one of two units with the highest percentage of population assumed to be using domestic self-supplied water (81 percent), which puts the population at greater potential of exposure to radon from groundwater.

Potential radon exposure determined from classification of geologic units by median radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor air according to proposed and recommended regulatory limits is useful for drawing general conclusions about the presence, variation, and potential radon exposure in specific geologic units, but the associated data and maps have limitations. The aggregated indoor air radon data have spatial accuracy limitations owing to imprecision of geo-coded test locations. In addition, the associated data describing geologic units and the public water supplier’s service areas have spatial and interpretation accuracy limitations. As a result, data and maps associated with this report are not recommended for use in predicting individual concentrations at specific sites nor for use as a decision-making tool for property owners to decide whether to test for radon concentrations at specific locations. Instead, the data and maps are meant to promote awareness regarding potential radon exposure in Pennsylvania and to point out data gaps that exist throughout the State.”

Link to Study 

Water Testing Radon

Air Testing Radon

Radon Air Monitoring

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DCNR Announces Improvements To PA’s PaGWIS – Private Well Owner Database

DCNR Announces Improvements To PA’s PaGWIS
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently announced improvements to the PA Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS) private water well database. PaGWIS is a repository of half a million water well records dating back to 1965. Changes to the database include the addition of more than 1,600 springs found in the Commonwealth, and improved search tools, data packages, and report formats.

To find out more, please see the link below:
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/news/DCNR_20032750.pdf

Get Your Water Tested 

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Pennsylvania Ticks – Yes they are a problem

Pennsylvania has led the nation in  confirmed Lyme disease cases each year since 2011.   When detected early, Lyme disease
and other tick borne diseases can be   treated. Left untreated, tick borne   diseases can cause a whole host of problems. Early
diagnosis is important in  preventing long term complications.

After coming inside, always check yourself for ticks. The target areas, head and hair, armpits, back of knees, and waist line/middle of the body,  are prime spots to find a tick as they seek out out-of-the-way crevices and warm spaces. Look closely, they are  smaller than a freckle.

If a tick does manage to attach itself   to you, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the  tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
Pull upward with steady,  even pressure. Avoid twisting  or jerking. Clean the bite area and see a physician.   If possible – Save the Tick!

TickBrochure_FINAL

More about Lyme Disease and Ticks

Autoimmune Illness and Lyme Disease Recovery Guide: Mending the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Unlocking Lyme: Myths, Truths, and Practical Solutions for Chronic Lyme Disease
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Pike County Pennsylvania – Conservation Events for April 2017

Conservation Events in April 2017

The month of April is filled with environmentally themed events. Below is a list of events. Be sure to visit the Events Calendar at www.pikeconservation.org or like Pike County Conservation District on Facebook to be sure you are kept up to date.

April 8- Pike Wayne Trout Unlimited Banquet: Reservations required; contact John Hochreither: 570-352-8303 or by email: john.hochreither@pwtu.org.

April 9- Pike Wayne Trout Unlimited River Clean-up: Visit www.pwtu.org/ for more information.

April 17- Pike County Conservation District Roadside Clean-Up: Contact Michele Long at mlong@pikepa.org or by phone 570-226-8220.

April 21-23- Hawley EarthFest: Contact Rebecca Holler at rholler@pikepa.org or by phone 570-226-8220 or visit www.hawleyearthfest.com/.

April 23-30- Conservation District Week: Contact Pike County Conservation District 570-226-8220 or follow us on Facebook to see the various events during the week.

April 27- Pike/Wayne Envirothon: Contact Rebecca Holler at rholler@pikepa.org or by phone 570-226-8220.

April 29- Pocono Environmental Education Center Earth Day: Visit www.peec.org/ for more information.

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Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) and Your Water

“A study by the U.S. Geological Survey published in 2002 brought attention to PPCPs in water. In a sampling of 139 susceptible streams in 30 states, detectable yet minute quantities of PPCPs were found in 80 percent of the streams. The most common pharmaceuticals detected were steroids and nonprescription drugs. Antibiotics, prescription medication, detergents, fire retardants, pesticides and natural and synthetic hormones were also found.

The potential human health risks associated with minute levels of PPCPs in water in general and drinking water in particular is still being determined. Until more is known, there is much the public health and environmental protection community can do to educate the public about taking proactive steps concerning the use and disposal of PPCPs.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are a diverse group of chemicals including:

  • all human and veterinary drugs
  • dietary supplements
  • topical agents such as cosmetics and sunscreens
  • laundry and cleaning products
  • fragrances and all the “inert” ingredients that are part of these products

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are introduced to the environment as pollutants in a variety of ways, including:

  • intentional disposal of unneeded PPCPs (flushing)
  • bathing or swimming
  • discharge from municipal sewage systems or private septic systems
  • leaching from landfills
  • excretion by humans and domestic animals
  • runoff from confined animal feeding operations
  • discharge of raw sewage from storm overflow events, cruise ships, and some rural homes directly into surface water
  • accidental discharges to a groundwater recharge area
  • loss from aquaculture
  • spray-drift from antibiotics used on food crops.”

Other Resources
pharmaceuticals-PPCPs
ppt_ppcp_Presentation

Water Treatment – Point Of Use for PFOS and PFOA = NSF P473

Technical References

Handbook of Membrane Separations: Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Food, and Biotechnological Applications, Second Edition

Personal Care Products and Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater and the Environment

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Scare Pollution Why and How to Fix the EPA by Steve Milloy

Scare Pollution Why and How to Fix the EPA   

(Note: if you are a student or fact based professional or an environmental advocate (science based) – we recommend you read this book because it is clear the process of making and developing environmental regulations has moved away from the scientific method.  If you are a social justice warrior or an organizer or advocate, we also recommend reading this book, because if you really want to be an honest broker you should be open minded and get the facts.)

What is Scare Pollution about? Scare Pollution reveals the shockingly fraudulent science behind EPA’s flagship regulatory program which has been used to destroy the coal industry, justify global warming rules, and assert EPA’s control over our fossil fuel-dependent economy. Author Steve Milloy’s exposé tells the story of how he uncovered the fraud via his investigative journalism, original scientific research and revealing interactions with EPA, Congress, federal courts and green activists.

What is Scare Pollution’s main theme? EPA’s economy-destroying rules depend on the false claim that particulate matter (i.e. soot from smokestacks and tailpipes) is so toxic it kills 570,000 Americans per year. EPA claims even brief exposures to typical outdoor levels in the U.S. can kill almost instantly. Milloy thoroughly debunks this claim in multiple and creative ways ⎯ thereby clearly revealing the outrageous and costly fraud EPA has perpetrated on Americans.

What’s timely about Scare Pollution? President-elect Trump promised to rein in the out-of-control EPA. Scare Pollution shows just how out-of-control EPA is and offers a road map for reforming the agency.

What are some of Scare Pollution’s highlights?

Milloy Uncovers EPA’s Illegal Human Experiments – After EPA falsely claimed before Congress that inhaling even tiny amounts of soot was deadly, the agency sought to justify those outrageous claims with illegal experiments on elderly and sick subjects making them inhale diesel exhaust in an “exposure chamber.” EPA even experimented on 10-year old children with diesel exhaust.

The Exposure of EPA’s Secret Science – To avoid scrutiny of its false claims, EPA hid scientific data for more than 20 years – despite numerous demands from Congress including by subpoena and bills passed. Scare Pollution shows how Milloy discovered a treasure trove of data and led a team of scientific researchers to debunk EPA’s claims with new data.

Finally, a Much-Awaited Explanation of the Likely Cause of Historical Episodes of ‘Killer’ Air Pollution. EPA often cites fatal historical air pollution incidents to needlessly alarm the public about current air quality. Milloy finally debunks these claims with convincing analysis pointing to the likely actual culprit(s).

Who endorses Scare Pollution?

“As a leader in the fight to protect our environment and public health for nearly three decades, I am keenly aware of the scientific shortcomings of EPA’s agenda-driven air regulations that impose significant costs on our economy while yielding no meaningful benefits. Scare Pollution provides great insight into these problems and contributes to a timely discussion for how to reform the EPA.”
– Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works

“Twenty years ago, I chaired the committee of independent science advisors reviewing EPA’s determination that fine particulate matter causes mortality at concentrations commonly experienced in outdoor air in the US. Most of the advisors doubted the EPA’s finding for a number of reasons including the lack of a plausible biological mechanism, but the agency set stringent standards anyway. Scare Pollution confirms the committee’s original doubts in unique and compelling ways, and indicates that EPA’s human exposure scientists do not believe the Agency’s determination either. It’s a must read for those interested in how science is used at the EPA.”

– Dr. George T. Wolff, former Chairman of the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.

Notes (From Brian Oram):

1. I am in the middle of reading this book  (Scare Pollution, 2016) – I was shocked.  My entry into Environmental Education and Earth Sciences included reading books like: “The Beaches are Moving”, “A Sand County Almanac”, “Silent Spring”, “Love Canal”, “Environmental Law” and  “Our Stolen Future”.

2. After going through the hysteria associated with global cooling and calls for quick action in the 1970s and 1980s, it seems that emotions and not science and logic were taking hold.  Then in the 1990s, I started to see the rise of the environmental or social justice movement and began to see science being used more as a political tool than a fact-based tool.  There also appeared to be a rise in the application of environmental issues to some of the”softer” sciences, such as: sociology.

3. By 2000, I was near the peak of my professional career and it was clear environmental regulations were becoming less based on science and facts, but based on court cases and settlements by environmental advocacy groups.   I have been an advocate for science and fact based regulations, not what seems corrected or fair.  It is about facts, not fear and we make positive change through honest debate based on facts and we do not make environmental laws or economic decisions based on a hypothesis.

4. In 2009 to current, I have actively tried to be a fact based professional and scientist, but it is clear the problem has been a verbal and media assault on science and the facts and in many cases we no longer have active debate, discussion, and the scientific method is operating in reverese.   This condition can be easily seen by reviewing the hysteria associated with natural gas development, land development  (Clean Stream Regulations), erosion and sedimentation control (riparian buffer zones),  climate change, and suggestions by some state regulators that the fact that something was peer reviewed means it is correct and can be used to write laws.

5. Very sad to say that I think the social justice warrior and voice may be winning, I only hope that the scientific method stays the foundation of how we make decisions as a community.   Do not let the 12 Monkeys Win !   My first attempt at this fight was in 2016 April as part of  Keystone College National Public Health Week.    Local Article on the Presentation – “Social media hype can turn misleading stories into needless widespread panic, he said.”

I have never recommended a book to read – this is the first, but I strongly recommend “Scare Pollution“, 2016.

I also like “Human Caused Global Warming“, but I really wish the author hired and used an editor.

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Your Drinking Water and Your Health

Your Drinking Water and Your Health by Brian Oram
Even though 60% of the human body is water, water is a resource that is often taken for granted. The primary concerns with water relate to having adequate quantity of the proper quality. In terms of hydration, drinking water is probably one of the best ways to keep your body healthy. Water is used in your body to help maintain your temperature and ensures the proper operation of your circulatory, digestive, and neurological systems. Water is one of the pathways that potential contaminants and disease causing agents can enter the body, so the quality is also important. Therefore, we need drinking water of adequate quantity of the proper quality.

When the body is not properly hydrated, our body’s response is to make us feel thirsty, but if you miss this clue watch out for dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, confusion, palpitations, and fainting. If over hydrated, you can become water intoxicated or hyperhydration. If hyperhydration occurs, the kidneys can not process all the water and the system becomes overwhelmed. There are phone apps and other tools to help you to remember to drink enough water, but our general recommendation is if you feel thirsty it is time to get a drink and given a choice pick water.
Water comes in many forms, which can include premium bottled water, tap water, spring water, carbonated water, soda, coffee, tap water, nutrient infused water, juices, and purified water. Of all these, it is my professional opinion that we just need to drink water. The two most common sources of drinking water for a community is either public water or a private water source. A public water source is always regulated by both the federal and state governments and many may call this city water or tapwater, but well or spring water may be from a public or private source. If you get your water directly from a well or spring, this is a private source and this is not commonly regulated.

If you get your water from city water, the most common health concerns are related to the presence of chlorine-by-products or corrosive by-product in the United States, the public water supply systems are disinfected using various forms of chlorine and phosphate is added to attempt to control corrosion. The chlorine is used to disinfect the water, but it can react with naturally occurring organics to form trihalomethanes, i.e., a potential carcinogen; while phosphate will react with the metals in the water to form a scale or coating on the inside of the piping, see “Flint, Michigan”. If you are on well water, the most common problems are the presence of bacteria and elevated levels of salts in the water, like nitrate, chloride, and sulfate, or corrosive water. In some cases, the water may contain elevated levels of radionuclides and trace metals, like arsenic, iron, lead, and manganese. The quality of the drinking water depends on type of water, location, level of treatment, the condition of your plumbing, and your home or house. In some areas, the community is concerned about pipelines and natural gas development, but a hidden problem may be the existing quality of their drinking water.

For citizens, our general recommendations related to drinking water are:
1. City Water Customers- Review any annual “Consumer Confident Reports” produced by your water supplier and act accordingly.
2. Private Water Sources –Get your water tested, at least annually, and have the results review by an expert.
3. Look out for potential problems with your drinking water, based on what you can see, taste, smell, or otherwise detect with your senses or problems that may be caused by the water.
4. Download our free “Know Your H20 Phone App” or visit our website – all Free.
A few short phrases we should try to remember.

We ALL Live Downstream !
Groundwater and Surface water are Connected!
We are Part of the Water Cycle – Not just an Observer!

Websites of Interest
Consumer Confidence Reports
https://www.epa.gov/ccr/ccr-information-consumers

Neighborhood Hazardous Reports and Water Testing
http://www.knowyourh20.us

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Nationwide Program: Community Environmental Report Your Home Health Status and Know Your H20?

Nationwide Program:
Community Environmental Report
Your Home Health Status and Know Your H20?

Direct Link to this Nationwide Program-
Visit Us at http://www.knowyourh2o.us

Know Your H20?

We Launched Two – New Phone Apps and they are Available for IOS and Android Platforms

  1. Know Your H20? – Know Your H2O? is an educational tool that can help you diagnose the problem with your water. This app will lead you through a series of questions to pinpoint the issues with your water. You can reach your diagnosis through describing symptoms that are effecting your home, your health, or the water itself. This App is linked to the Water Research Portal.
  2. Baseline Water Testing (Pennsylvania) – The PA Baseline Testing mobile app is an educational tool for residents of Pennsylvania who are impacted by Oil & Gas Development or Subsurface Coal Development. By selecting which factor impacts your region, you can discover various recommendations and tiers of water testing that can help bring you piece of mind about the safety of your drinking water. Got Data? You can also submit your own testing data and results to help continue to build the PA Clean Water Team’s database.

The Nationwide Program

  1. The program helps you to identify the existing and historic environmental hazards in your community.
  2. We are working with a national environmental database search company to offer a report to help you understand your home or your future homes environmental health status within a community.
  3. We are doing this by taking a snapshot of the current and historic environmental concerns and hazards in the community and a review of select criminal activity.
  4. Featured Activities or Issues: Old Landfills, Leaky Fuel Tanks, Hazardous Waste Sites, Department of Defense Facilities, Superfund Sites, Radiological Sources, Clandestine Drug Labs, Floodplains and Wetlands and more.
  5. Report cost $ 55.00 per property, payable to the Keystone Clean Water Team.

Questions – please contact us at (570) 335-1947 or email the program manager, Mr. Brian Oram, at bfenviro@ptd.net.

Keystone Clean Water Team – 501c3
15 Hillcrest Drive, Dallas, PA 18612
http://www.pacleanwater.org

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.
http://www.bfenvironmental.com

@KnowyourH20

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Starting Off the New Year Right – Drinking Water Water Resources Sustainability

Starting Off the New Year Right

by Brian Oram

Happy New Year, I would like to propose we make one additional commitment this year.  This commitment is to care about the water we drink as we try to remember how we impact or influence the quality and quantity of the water resources.  Although it is the beginning of a new year (wishing you GOOD Luck in 2017!), for the water cycle the new year started in October.  This is the time of the year when the aquifer begins to recharge. Many people are unaware that the aquifer must recharge, it is not infinite.  In Pennsylvania and the Northeastern United States, we are blessed with having abundant water resources, but something we should not take for granted.   In 2016, we had an interesting election year that brought up many concerns. Also in the news, came a reminder of the limitedness of the water.  A number of regions of Pennsylvania were put on a drought advisory and many small streams, springs, and even a few shallow wells dried up, i.e., no water.  With 2016 in the rear-view mirror, I would like to suggest a few small steps to help move us forward in a positive direction.  These steps are as follows:

  1. Learn about how and where you get your drinking water – Does your water come from a private source or city water supply source?
  2. If the water is from a private well- When did you have the water tested? For parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, it is not uncommon for about 40 to 50% of private wells to have a problem that may make the user or a guest sick.
  3. If you are on a city water source- Have you ever looked at the Annual Confidence Report about the quality of your drinking water? The most common problem with community water sources is elevated levels of trace metals like lead and chlorine by-products like trihalomethanes, i.e., suspected carcinogens.  For information on water testing, please visit water-research.net.
  4. Are you using your water wisely? There are ways to use our drinking water resources more efficiently.   A website titled, wateruseitwisely.com, offers over 100 tips on how to best use water.  My favorite tip is “Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four”.  There are over 4 million households in Pennsylvania, this one lifestyle change could save 41.6 billion gallons of water.  This is only one change!
  5. Our surface water and groundwater are connected, and “we all live downstream”. This phrase means that how we use the groundwater resources directly impacts the surface water resources and we all are interconnected.  Therefore, when using cleaning products, chemicals, or managing a waste we all live downstream from someone else.   For example, the biggest source of man influenced global oil pollution is not massive spills or leaks.  Only 8% of man influenced oil pollution comes from pipelines and major releases. The biggest sources are the small leaks from our boats, cars, and other means of transportation and the improper disposal of waste oil by individuals.
  6. Know Your H20? – it is important to know how you can influence the quality of the water resources, but it is also important to know the historic hazards in your community that may be contributing to a problem. With this in mind, it is important to learn about the historic hazards in your community and surrounding your home.  The Keystone Clean Water Team offers neighborhood or community hazard survey reports for communities within the Unities States.  The 501 c3 offers a few free reports each month.  To get more information about this program, please visit – knowyourh20.us.

The best way to start off the New Year is not with a significant lifestyle change, but baby steps.   Make a few basic commitments and make small changes that will help you and your family save and conserve water, check the quality of your drinking water, learn about the hazards in your community, and perhaps implement 1 item each month that will save and conserve water.   It is important to remember that the less water you use, the more money stays in your pocket.

A few short phrases we should try to remember.

We ALL Live Downstream !

Groundwater and Surface water are Connected!

We are Part of the Water Cycle – Not just an Observer!

You can help – Make A Donation !

 

 

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Professional Forest Industry Association, ProFIA “Fuel for Friends – Looking for Families

The Professional Forest Industry Association, ProFIA, is once again looking for recommendations for their annual program, “Fuel for Friends”. As the cold days are increasing in number, those that are struggling financially have a difficult time staying warm. Through this program, ProFIA donates a free cord of firewood to a family in need. If you know of a family who is finding it difficult to afford heat this winter please contact me so I can forward their information to ProFIA for consideration. We will be meeting tonight.

Kind Regards,

Kelley

Kelley S. Thornton
Forest Specialist

Wayne Conservation District
648 Park Street
Honesdale, PA 18431

Phone: 570.253.0930 ext. 3954
Email: kthornton@waynecountypa.gov

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