- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The eastern Iowa cities of Dyersville and Farley have long dealt with persistently high levels of radium in their drinking water, and now officials in one of those communities are taking action.

The Dyersville City Council on Jan. 6 approved a $1 million project for a filtration system that aims to lower radium levels, the Telegraph Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1mYlSV1 ).

Dyersville Mayor Alvin Haas said the project is a preventative measure for the community, whose residents receive notices in the mail about high levels of the substance.

“Our drinking water is very safe,” he said. “If it were not safe, we would immediately make sure everybody was notified. This is more a preventative action we’re doing to make sure there’s no problem down the road. We don’t want to gamble with our drinking water.”

Radium is naturally occurring in the area, said Ann Pham, an environmental program supervisor for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“It is naturally occurring in the northeast region,” she said. “That is pretty typical of the groundwater there.”

But ingesting excessive levels of the substance can lead to higher risks for cancer in some people. Dyersville and Farley have levels that are not considered imminently dangerous, but they surpass the state-mandated threshold. Nearby municipalities appear to be immune of the radium concerns.

City officials in Farley are monitoring how Dyersville addresses the issue, those no immediate action is planned. Farley Mayor Jay Hefel said any option will not come cheap.

“They’re all expensive. When you’re a small town, that hurts. That takes money from other capital improvements or projects you’re trying to take care of.”


Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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