Uranium in Maine Drinking Water – Private Wells

Have you recently tested your home’s drinking water supply for Uranium? According to the State of Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL), if your water comes from a private well, and you live in Cumberland County, it may be a wise idea to do so.

Up until the last few years, very few homeowners in Maine had ever even considered the possibility of the contaminant Uranium being found in their family’s drinking water supply.

In large part due to the efforts of the EPA, the state of Maine and the residential real estate industry this has finally changed.

Uranium has always been with us. It just simply wasn’t being tested for, on a mainstream basis, until only about 3 – 4 years ago.

What is Uranium?

Uranium is a naturally occurring carcinogenic mineral found in the bedrock below our homes. Uranium is especially prevalent in the Northeastern region of the United States.

Uranium is carcinogenic (cancer causing) when a person consumes water with high enough concentrations and/or when lower levels are consumed over a long enough period of time.

For more information on Uranium please visit the EPA’s resources page for Uranium and Radionuclides basics or visit the State of Maine’s tip sheet on Uranium.

How Does Uranium Get Into Your Water?

If your home has a private drinking water supply you most likely have either a dug well or a drilled well. Uranium is most commonly found in drilled wells, not dug wells.

When a drilled well is installed it is created by drilling down through the top soil until the uranium maine waterwell penetrates bedrock. The cracks found in that bedrock then allow underground water to flow freely (hopefully) into the newly created well.

The downside to this simple age-old well drilling system is that quite often whatever minerals (like Uranium, Hardness or Iron) happen to be present in the bedrock below your home, are quite often carried into your home via that very same well that provides your family’s drinking water.

And in Maine, Uranium found in bedrock is in no short supply.

Uranium in Maine Wells

The table below, prepared by the Maine Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, shows private well water samples tested between the years 1999 and 2013.

During that period the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory tested a total of 46,855 private wells. More than 3,000 of those wells were in Cumberland County

The results – 23.5% of those wells tested in Cumberland County came back above maximum guidelines for Uranium contamination, topping the list for Uranium contamination by region.

maine water uranium

Have you Tested for Uranium?

If you have never tested your well water supply for Uranium, or if it has been several years since doing so (well chemistry can change on a regular basis) we strongly recommend taking this important first step.

Testing is simple and affordable.

If you are testing your own water, and looking for a state certified testing facility to obtain a testing kit from, you can visit the State’s list of Certified Water Testing Laboratories.

If you are more comfortable having a 3rd party performing water testing for you, please contact our offices at (207) 675-3272.

We’ll be happy to assist you with any testing or treatment related questions you might have. We can also set up a convenient time to come to your home or facility and take care of the testing for you.


Images: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Artesian_Well_(PSF).png