Joliet Illinois Wants To Dump More Radium On Open Lands

subsurface injection biosolids sludge photo

Subsurface injection of biosolids, aka "sludge." Image

This strange tale is a synopsis of a lengthy story related by the Chicago Tribune. Dozens of municipalities in northeastern Illinois, including such Chicago suburbs as Joliet, Bartlett, and Batavia, are required to remove radium before distributing the water to customers. These communities get their water from deep wells near natural uranium deposits that degrade to radium. Radium content of the raw well water must be lowered before distribution, to preclude customers from being exposed to radon gas - a radionuclide stemming from breakdown of radium - while they shower and cook.

Peoria wants to add more of the captured, radium-laced precipitant to dried sewerage sludge, so the blend can be used as fertilizer. The alternative is to ship it to hazardous waste landfills. Naturally, it's cheaper to spread it on open land. Problem is, if that land is later developed, you are increasing exposures to radium for those who would live and work on it. The part I can't figure out is this.Why not just move to Chicago and drink Lake Michigan water like God intended?

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