The RMU Water Department has been notified of radium levels exceeding the standard limit set by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The standard for combined radium is 5 pico curies per liter (PCI/L). The level of combined radium was 8 PCI/L at Well 12 on Hayes Road for the 2nd quarter of 2018.
This is not an emergency; however, Rochelle Municipal Utilities discloses all violations to customers. If it were an emergency, all affected customers would be notified immediately. Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive element that is present in varying amounts in rocks and soil within the earth’s crust. Small amounts of radium also can be found in groundwater supplies.
Radium is an ongoing issue in Rochelle. Over the past several years, the Utility has dealt with radium in Well 11 near Rochelle Township High School. That well was taken offline and a radium treatment plant is being built at the location. Earlier this year, the City of Rochelle contracted with Illinois State University to conduct a research study to evaluate the groundwater in our area.
RMU is working with the Illinois Environmental Agency to evaluate the water supply and researching options to correct the problem. These options may include treating the water to remove the radium. We anticipate resolving the problem within 2 months. Well 11 will come on-line and Well 12 will be turned off.
For more information, please contact Rochelle Municipal Utilities at 815-562-4155.