NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

Philadelphia Says Radioactive Water Not Related To Japan Events

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Water Department is attempting to track down the source of radioactive iodine found by federal authorities in the drinking water supply drawn from the Schuylkill River.

Chris Crockett of the Philadelphia Water Department says there’s no cause for panic over the discovery by the US Environmental Protection Agency of elevated levels of iodine-131.  He notes that hospitals and pharmaceutical comapnies upriver are among the potential sources of the radioactivity.

“The water is safe to drink for the public, and people should continue to drink the water and use it as normal without any changes,” he says.

Crockett says the water samples were actually collected last summer, months before the events in Japan, so there isn’t a connection to the nuclear events there.

And he says that when the water department received the government’s lab test results earlier this month, it took immediate action at treatment facilities, especially the Queen Lane plant in East Falls, where levels were the highest of 69 test sites in the country.

“We’ve also enhanced our treatment by adding carbon to the water treatment process to help provide additional removal of the iodine-131,” Crockett says.

While common sources of iodine-131 are related to nuclear reactors or weapons, Crockett says it’s also used by hospitals to treat patients with thyroid illnesses.

He says the city is working with federal and state authorities to track down the source.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Comments

One Comment

  1. concerned citizen says:

    Without testing for other isotopes, it is more difficult to determine the cause of origin of the iodine 131. If other products of nuclear fission are present in the water, they would serve as a marker that this is NOT related to patient excretion. Levels of iodine 131 have exceeded 3 picoCuries/L at Queen Lane off and on since 2007. There were peaks in October 2007, Jan 2009, August 2010 and now the present elevation above 2 picocuries/L. There was no effort to identify the origin of the iodine 131 when tests started coming back high nearly 4 years ago? If you want to get to the cause, you look at the other isotopes. But oops…Queen Ln stopped testing for a bunch of the isotopes dating back to 2007.

  2. momof3 says:

    Hmmm…I posted a link where you can see historical data at Queen Lane showing elevations not just in august 2010, but also in Jan 09, and October 2007 of levels exceeding 3 picoCuries/L. This is not even close to a new development in Philadelphia; someone has been aware of this issue for years. The site I linked to also shows no testing for cesium 137 or any isotope of radium since 2007. This means we don’t know what the total amount of radioactivity in the water; just that from iodine 131. It makes it impossible to declare it “safe” to consume X numbers of liters. Also, someone needs to go on record as to whether RAINwater at Limerick and TMI would have levels of 90 to 100 picoCuries (some of the higest in teh nation) of iodine 131 *if* the elevation at Queen Lane is due to patients excreting iodine 131. Do they excrete enough to make our RAINwater test high for iodine 131?

    1. momof3 says:

      and my earlier link to the EPA ‘s site where you can see historical data for Queen Lane disappeared. Any particular reason my earlier comment was removed?

  3. Disappointed says:

    Why is it so hard to find a radio-active distribution source? Shouldn’t it be a high priority to find out why? I bet you this is the last article we see on this one. Hush hush.

    Good job CBS.

  4. Charmaine Hurst says:

    What do you mean the water department is attempting to track down the source? It was something going on 8 months ago! And in the same sentence say we should continue drinking the water and use it without any changes.That is not fair to keep the city residents in the dark.Mean while something could be really bad and the water is making us sick1 DO NOT WAIT UNTIL A TRAGIC THING HAPPENED WHEN SOME PEOPLE GET SICK ,AND HAVE TO BE HOSPITALIZED! THEN THE WATER DEPARTMENT WANT TO ACT ON A SOLUTION TO FIX THE PROBLEM.IT WAS A PROBLEM LAST YEAR AND THE WATER DEPARTMENT DID NOT KNOW HOW AND WHERE AND WHY AND WHERE WAS THE LEAK COMING FROM.THEY PROBABLY STILL DON`T.AND THE THING ABOUT DRINKING BOTTLED WATER.SOME STORIES ABOUT BOTTLED WATER IS NOT REALLY SPRING WATER BUT FILTERED WATER OR PURIFIED WATER.AND THE PLASTIC IS TOO MUCH FOR THE PLANET AND IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY TO SPEND 3.00-6.00 ON A PACK OF 24-28 BOTTLES OF WATER.WELL I AM CONTINUING ON DOING WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING,DRINKING BOTTLED WATER!!!!I AM DOING WHAT I THINK IS RIGHT! HOW DO THE WATER DEPARTMENT GOING TO THINK PEOPLE WILL TRUST WHAT THEY SAY? I HAVE MY OWN MIND AND I FOLLOW IT!

  5. grumpy says:

    Sounds like someone was attempting to cover up a leak. Did you ever notice that the standard comment is always: NOT HARMFUL…………..til some dies! Who can we trust?

  6. Confused says:

    Why did it take 8 months to find this out?????

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Philly

CBSPhillyStyle
Iconic Philly Foods Guide

Listen Live