Aquifers Contaminated With Uranium – Health Of 2 Million People Is In Danger


Level of uranium has increased in the aquifers in the Midwest and California that has been engaged in serving over 2 million people there. It has been reported that the increase in the level of uranium is 180 times than its limit set at which is safe.

A U.S Geological Survey has been done recently in which 275,000 samples were taken from groundwater the study of which was published Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

In the survey, two major aquifers were involved for the gathering of data that were High Central Valley and High Plains. Data from both of the aquifers disclosed that the uranium level has exceeded in the groundwater. A maximum level for contaminants have been set by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is (MCL = 30 μg/L.

Scientists who belonged to Nebraska-Lincoln University conducted the research and their research also found that the nitrate level has also increased which has a very strong link with level of uranium.


According to the reports that came from the research, 78 percent of the sites which were contaminated with uranium had link with the presence of nitrate which is a contaminant found very commonly in the groundwater. Animal waste and the chemical fertilizers which are the main sources of the creation of this pollutant in the groundwater. Due to the nitrate and its chemical reactions, it mobilizes the uranium as well that occurs naturally due to such reactions. Through reactions, radioactive mineral are oxidized and uranium becomes soluble in water.

The results of the research showed that the nitrate acts as a primary pollutant in this whole scenario and it becomes the cause of creation of uranium which is the secondary contaminant in the groundwater.

Karrie Weber who is the researcher and demonstrated the findings of the study and its importance. According to her, Uranium is the contaminant that is spread very quickly and to far extent and responsibility of the creation of such pollutant is on us as we are producing nitrate which is primary contaminant and it gives birth to the secondary contaminant.

The aquifers are serving almost one sixth of the farmland of United States. If we consider the quantity of water which is being drawn from these two aquifers, we can come to know that economically, how significant these aquifers are. Nation is being fed on them and they are very important for them but the importance is also for the health of the nation as well. The water will of no worth if you are not able to drink it or use for the purpose of irrigation.

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