Levels of Radium Above Drinking Water Standards


Dear Customer,


Our water system recently violated a drinking water requirement. Although this is not an emergency, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct this situation.


Your water system is supplied by 12 groundwater wells. To ensure safe drinking water is delivered to you, all of the well water is rigorously tested for dangerous bacteria and more than 130 different contaminants, including radium. Water tests from one well, the Terranova well, exceeded the standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL) for radium, a known carcinogen. The standard for radium is 5 pCi/L, based on an average of 4 quarterly samples. The average level of radium for the 2nd-quarter-2017 through 1st-quarter-2018 compliance period was 6.6 pCi/L.


When the elevated levels for radium were discovered, FCWSA began conducting additional tests in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The most recent tests conducted in March 2018 confirmed that water from the Terranova well still contained elevated levels of radium.  When FCWSA received the fourth-quarter test result in May confirming continued elevated levels of radium in the well, it was immediately shut down. It will remain out-of-service until FCSWA constructs an additional treatment system and testing confirms its radium levels are safe.


On average, the Terranova well produces 10-15% of the water delivered to New Baltimore customers. Because your system’s drinking water is blended, and the other 11 wells met federal and state standards throughout 2017 and 2018, the water was determined to be safe to drink and it remains safe to drink today.  The 2017 Annual Water Quality Report for the New Baltimore Water System, which includes the three quarterly tests collected in 2017, is distributed with this notice.


You do not need to use an alternative (e.g., bottled) water supply. However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor. This is not an immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.


FCWSA was always in accordance with state water testing requirements. Due to the radium levels we uncovered, we received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from VDH. Because of the nature of drinking water violations, we can only be given a Notice of Violation after the last round of test results is received.


We have started to design and construct a treatment system to remove the radium from the water; however, it will take time to build the treatment system. We hope to have it in operation within the next three months. 


For more information, visit our website at www.fcwsa.org. Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. 

For more information about Radium click here


Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority