Uranium in community water systems

For Minnesota's community water systems:

What is uranium and how does it get in water?

Uranium is a type of radionuclide (radioactive material). Radionuclides from naturally occurring sources, like rocks and soil, can get into groundwater and surface waters in Minnesota. Uranium and other radionuclides can be found in small amounts in Minnesota's groundwater. In general, surface water does not contain radionuclides at levels of concern.

Health effects of uranium

Different doses of radiation cause different health effects. Drinking water that has uranium in it would put you in contact with very low doses of radiation every day. You have a higher risk of getting cancer if you drink water with uranium in it every day for many years.

Standard for uranium in community water systems

All community water systems test for uranium and ensure levels meet the Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standard, or Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Uranium and other levels of radioactivity in water are measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of water. The MCL for uranium is 20 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is the same as 30 micrograms per liter (ug/L).

All community water systems provide drinking with uranium below the standard

No community water systems in Minnesota have exceeded the MCL for uranium.


Mean uranium levels in Minnesota community water systems

 
The federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for uranium is 20.1 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
 
The federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Uranium is 20.1 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

Maximum Uranium levels of Minnesota community water systems

 
The federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for uranium is 20.1 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
 
The federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Uranium is 20.1 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

Most drink water with uranium below the MCL

Population served by community water system mean uranium concentration, 2017

Uranium level Number of Systems Population Served Percent
0 - 5 122 853,114 92.8%
5+ - 15 6 53,809 5.9%
15+ - 30 10 12,198 1.3%
30+ 0 0 0.0%

What can be done about uranium in drinking water?

All community water systems test for uranium and ensure levels meet the EPA standard. If a system's uranium level was to exceed the standard, the system would notify customers and make changes to reduce the level.
You can find the level of uranium your community water system detected by reading their Water Quality Report (also known as a Consumer Confidence Report [CCR]). Call your community water system to get a copy of your CCR, or find it online at Search for Your Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

Related resources:

Safe Drinking Water Act Standards

CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking-Uranium and your health

Radionuclides Rule: EPA Drinking Water requirements for states and public water systems