Uranium is perhaps one of the most recognizable, silver radioactive metals out there, and it can be found in various places such as in rocks, in the soil, and even in water.
Uranium finds its way into our environment because of leaching from emissions from our nuclear plants and the nuclear industry overall, then the release of mill tailings, even natural deposits are a great factor, alongside the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and other fertilizers that have uranium in them.
Uranium has seeked its way into the environment, and ultimately has crossed roads with human life and other life forms itself.
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Uranium?
The University of Nebraska Lincoln study shows that about 78% of places where uranium is found, there is nitrate present there as well, which makes the uranium very soluble , and it goes underground and mixes with the groundwater, making it more dangerous.
The only solution known to man, and the two most accepted and logical ways approved by the EP to filter uranium out of your water streams are:
- Reverse Osmosis (RO)
- The Ion Resin System
Yes, Reverse Osmosis Remove Uranium. Let’s learn more about this in detail
Uranium has a lot of negative and harmful side effects on the human body, let’s dive in and find out what this dangerous radioactive element can do, once it finds its way inside your body.
Uranium, if found in drinking water, can be cause for a lot of concern, and it is a major problem throughout the world and in the U.S as well.
But the problem isn’t only reserved to water, in fact, if uranium comes into contact with anything such as groundwater or soil, it contaminates the vegetables, the living microorganisms which affects humans indirectly, because we consume the same vegetables that grow out of that uranium contaminated soil.
Uranium, much like other toxic and radioactive substances, such as radium, they might not be cancerous or carcinogenic per say, but they start building up and collecting inside your bones.
The EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) has classified them as cancerous and carcinogenic because of this very reason, because consumption of uranium in excess amounts is very dangerous.[footnote]https://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclide-basics-uranium[/footnote]
That can lead to an elevated risk of getting cancer, an imminent threat of liver damage and eventual failure, or in worst case scenarios, both can happen simultaneously.
Not only that, but uranium has an adverse and toxic effect on the kidneys as well, and not only kidneys, but the research and studies have shown uranium finds its way into the skeleton, the liver, into the lungs, in the blood, and even in the muscles!
This means the whole body will become affected, and the damage is irreparable because Researchers at the University of New Mexico and Tufts have reported long spread damage in terms of reproduction and genetic areas. Yes, it is that bad, and it will kill a person, very painfully and very slowly, so it is essential to keep oneself safe and away from any sort of Uranium exposure.[footnote]https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Jamie-L-deLemos-39400776[/footnote]
Prolonged or excessive exposure to uranium can lead to radiological and chemical toxicity. Kidneys are the most affected organs. [footnote]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK158798/[/footnote]
This toxic substance can find itself inside your body by inhaling or even directly consuming the substance, which leads to its entry into the bloodstream. This is where the real damage starts to kick in.
About 50 mg to 150 mg is considered a high and dangerous amount, and it can cause acute kidney failure and even death.
A low amount is considered to be 25 mg to 40 mg and can be traced by the finding of dead cells and protein in the urine. But, if the dose is lower than 25 mg the kidneys can repair themselves, but it takes a long time to do so.
Uranium isotopes are known to release alpha particles, and are deadly when inhaled or ingested. This can cause cancer especially to those people who work in a nuclear surrounding as the exposure over a long time tends to lead to the development of cancer due to the radiation and the probability of getting cancer increases over time due to the constant exposure to the radioactive substance.
How can you check your Water Well for Uranium?
There are two ways you can remove Uranium from your well water and they are namely, Reverse Osmosis Systems, and an Ion Resin System. You should check the water of the well every 5 years, for substances such as fluoride, arsenic, lead, radon, manganese and uranium. You can go to a lab and request for a Uranium test, or you can also consult a water filtration expert on the matter.
This water filtration system has the capability of removing a lot of pollutants and contaminations from any water source, and those include Uranium which is a microscopic substance.
This water filtration system is equipped with layers and filters and membranes which are essential for the removal of Uranium from a water source.
These Reverse Osmosis systems are of two types
- Big ROs
- Little ROs
The small RO can fit under your kitchen sink and a big one can be set up for your entire house. The kitchen sink point is called the “point of use”, whereas the whole house system is called the “point of entry”.
The point of use kitchen system costs much less than the entire house system, and it doesn’t filter all the water of the house. The more expensive and effective system is the whole house system and it comes with a hefty price as well.
This system resembles the water softeners but it is much more complex than that. It is situated at the stream where the water enters your house, and it filters and cleans all of the water that will be used inside the house.
There is a maintenance check that happens every month to check for salt levels, and there is a fix up that is done every year by a professional, and the anion tank is changed every couple of years.
A point that is important to mention here is that the size of the system has to be proportional to the amount of uranium in the water. This is because the increase in uranium levels in the water will not be filtered effectively by a small filtration system.
If you have a private well, there isn’t any requirement to test drinking water, but you should still get it checked, better safe than sorry. Uranium is a tasteless and odorless substance, and is found in bedrocks. The problem arises when a well is drilled into a bedrock that has uranium in it.
That makes the well water contaminated with Uranium. This well water should be tested for Uranium and using the basis of those results, you should get a filtration system that suits your needs.
The test for Uranium is called the “ICP-MS” and you should ideally get this water tested every 5 years. If you have done that already, the next step would be to check the efficiency and proper working of your filtration system.
The treatment for this Uranium contaminated water can be done in various ways like the aforementioned Point of use (POU) and the Point of entry (POE). Uranium finds itself into your body and bloodstream by either ingestion orally or through inhalation.
Consulting a water treatment specialist is a great way to know what the situation is and what the best cause of action can be.
What is the best Water Treatment for Uranium
The treatment of Uranium actually depends on what kind of state it is found in, but Uranium can generally be reduced by Cations and Anions. The efficiency of the Reverse Osmosis System will filter out about 95% to 98% of the Uranium that can be found in any water body.
The mechanism of ultrafiltration is used to further filter and clean the water, coupled with activated alumina which ensures maximum filtration.
The EPA ( US Environmental Protection Agency) has directed and recommended the use of Reverse Osmosis systems to protect people from the dangers and harms of chemical and radioactive substances that include radium, alpha particles, beta particles, photon emitters and uranium. [footnote]https://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/radionuclides/radionuclides.cfm?action=Rad_Reverse%20Osmosis[/footnote]
These systems can filter out and clean the water up to 99% from these dangerous substances. The high pressure pump that can be found in these systems makes the water rush into a membrane at great speed, and that removes the ions and large debris from the water.
These membranes are very small, about 0.0001 micron small, and the toxic substances are left behind and get caught in the membranes.
The only toxic substance that can pass through are solvents, organic chemicals such as radon and chlorine, and pesticides. Gasses can pass through as well, and that includes dissolved gasses as well.
However, these filtration systems are equipped with activated carbon chambers which help reduce the toxicity and the amount of these substances. You might have to get a pre filter installed before you get the reverse osmosis system.
The pros of using this filtration system are that it filters a large quantity of water, and can remove viruses and radioactive substances which include uranium, and it filters 99% of radionuclides and contaminations from the water.
It can even filter sea water which is deemed unfit for drinking and it can filter it into clean water that is fit for consumption. The cons of this system are that it is expensive as it needs the filters to be changed regularly which can cost up to 300$.
The Reverse Osmosis Systems are different from the typical Carbon Filtration Systems as Reverse Osmosis Systems can filter about 99.99% of the impurities and particles which can be as small as 0.002 micron. Whereas the Carbon Filtration systems can remove particles and impurities which are about 1 micron small.
The tap water that comes in homes leaves as clean water from the plant, but as it travels miles and reaches your home, it can bring a lot of impurities and contaminations with it.
The point of use and the point of entry mechanisms ensure that the ‘clean’ water that enters the filtration system is purified of the contaminations the tap water brings.
That ensures that the water you are drinking is clean, and fit for consumption and it will not contain any harmful substances that might hurt or harm you.
This is the reason the Reverse Osmosis Systems are very effective and they should be installed so one does not suffer from diseases contaminated and impure water can bring. So yes, the answer is that Reverse Osmosis Units are 99.99% effective and highly efficient.
Conclusion | Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Uranium?
In this day and age, it is extremely important that everyone has a clean source of drinking water that is fit for consumption and is not harmful.
Groundwater has started depleting and the process of drilling and obtaining it has gotten more tough, and there will come a point where the groundwater will completely finish, and that is a scary thought.
Getting a Reverse Osmosis Unit might look like a huge investment at this point, but it is actually a long term investment, because it ensures that there is a clean supply of drinking water.
It is predicted that the groundwater sources will be depleted as soon as 2025, and that is just around the corner. Getting a system that filters 99% of the water that comes in the house seems like a great idea now, doesn’t it?
We would recommend doing so too, because water is essential to life and because of the rapid growing industries, the clean water streams are affected by toxic substances and waste by factories and industries.