Well-irrigation water has uranium

Asked July 5, 2015, 8:51 AM EDT

I plan to establish a vegetable garden in Maine. I can't find literature on the use of uranium contaminated water. The levels are above the allowable for human consumption so we're installing reverse osmosis for drinking, but that's not practical for irrigation.

Knox County Maine

1 Response

I'm in New Brunswick, just up the road from Maine, and also have uranium in our well water (46 µgl, over the 30 µgl standard) and use reverse-osmosis filtration for drinking. According to a Heath Physics Society factsheet, citing research by Neves O, Abreu MM. ("Are uranium-contaminated soil and irrigation water a risk for human vegetable consumers?" Ecotoxicology 18:1130–1136; 2009: see http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q10693.html), there should be no problem unless your uranium levels are extremely high (over 900 µgl). If your vegetable garden is outdoors, most irrigation will be in the form of rain and not your well water, so again, reducing concerns. I would only be concerned if your crops were being grown under cover and entirely dependent on well-water that had extreme levels of uranium contamination.