CT Basement Systems Radon Blog by Matthew A. Bednarz V.P.

ARSENIC,HARDNESS, IRON, MANGANESE, URANIUM,RADON... (Clone)

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Tue, Mar, 15, 2016 @ 12:03 PM

 blog header

I typically try to focus our blog topics on content that can help people discern what to do when dealing with radon or water quality issues.  If you, or someone you know, is contemplating buying a home with water quality or radon issues...we can help.

My goal of this post is to give perspective of scale to the the problems some people face when dealing with radon and water quality issues...and hopefully make those of us who feel they have an insurmountable situation - better.

Radon in Air concentrations:  We successfully mitigated a home in Glastonbury, CT (new construction), with an indoor airborne radon concentration of 900 pCi/l

Radon in Water: We successfully mitigated a home in Ridgefield, CT with a waterborne radon concentration that spiked as high as 1.7 million pCi/l.

Contact us for Radon Testing  in Air & Water

Arsenic: We installed an absorbtive media treatment system to succesfully remove an arsenic level of 24 ug/l from a private well in Weston.

Bacteria: We've installed numerous Ultra Violet Light sterilization systems for E-coli and coliform bacteria problems throughout CT and Westchester County NY.

Coliform bacteria 

Chlorides: We installed a whole house reverse osmosis system to successfully remove a chloride level of 720 mg/l in a Stamford, CT home.

Hardness: We've installed water softeners to remove hardness concentrations as high as 48 grains per gallon.

Hard water comparison

Iron in water: We've installed numerous iron filtration systems throughout CT to remove iron concentrations as high as 26 mg/l.

Contact us about  Iron Removal

Manganese in well water: We've installed oxidation / filtration systems to remove manganese concentrations as high as 7.5 mg/l

Nitrate: We've installed reverse osmosis systems to remove nitrate levels as high as 16 mg/l

pH: We've adjusted low pH water from as low as 4.6 to neutral (7.0) with a chemical injection system.

ph chart

Tannins: While not commonly tested; tannins can be difficult to remove from water...we've seen levels as high as 5 mg/l...and successfully lowered them.

Uranium: We have successfully removed uranium concentrations as high as 1,600 ug/l.

Click Here to contact us for  Uranium Testing Today!

The point of referencing the aforementioned high concentration contaminant levels that we've fixed is not for bragging rights.  It's purpose is to illustrate that treatment options exists for any level of contaminant, no matter how severe.

Contaminant levels in both air and water can, and do, fluctuate.  I've seen many homeowners lulled into having a false sense of security because at some point, they performed one test that had favorable results, and never tested again...only to find out at some point that there is a problem. 

Drilling a new well, not buying a dream home, moving to another house, not occupying certain areas of a home, are all alternatives that will avoid having to deal with these situations.  But there's a better option.  We have the ability to solve most any radon or water quality issue to keep you and your family safe and protected in the home that you love.

 cozy home

 

Topics: radon in water, arsenic, hardness, radon in air concentrations, manganese in well water, iron in water

ARSENIC,HARDNESS, IRON, MANGANESE, URANIUM,RADON...

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Mon, Aug, 31, 2015 @ 11:08 AM

 blog header

I typically try to focus our blog topics on content that can help people discern what to do when dealing with radon or water quality issues.  If you, or someone you know, is contemplating buying a home with water quality or radon issues...we can help.

My goal of this post is to give perspective of scale to the the problems some people face when dealing with radon and water quality issues...and hopefully make those of us who feel they have an insurmountable situation - better.

Radon in Air concentrations:  We successfully mitigated a home in Glastonbury, CT (new construction), with an indoor airborne radon concentration of 900 pCi/l

Radon in Water: We successfully mitigated a home in Ridgefield, CT with a waterborne radon concentration that spiked as high as 1.7 million pCi/l.

Contact us for Radon Testing  in Air & Water

Arsenic: We installed an absorbtive media treatment system to succesfully remove an arsenic level of 24 ug/l from a private well in Weston.

Bacteria: We've installed numerous Ultra Violet Light sterilization systems for E-coli and coliform bacteria problems throughout CT and Westchester County NY.

Coliform bacteria 

Chlorides: We installed a whole house reverse osmosis system to successfully remove a chloride level of 720 mg/l in a Stamford, CT home.

Hardness: We've installed water softeners to remove hardness concentrations as high as 48 grains per gallon.

Hard water comparison

Iron in water: We've installed numerous iron filtration systems throughout CT to remove iron concentrations as high as 26 mg/l.

Contact us about  Iron Removal

Manganese in well water: We've installed oxidation / filtration systems to remove manganese concentrations as high as 7.5 mg/l

Nitrate: We've installed reverse osmosis systems to remove nitrate levels as high as 16 mg/l

pH: We've adjusted low pH water from as low as 4.6 to neutral (7.0) with a chemical injection system.

ph chart

Tannins: While not commonly tested; tannins can be difficult to remove from water...we've seen levels as high as 5 mg/l...and successfully lowered them.

Uranium: We have successfully removed uranium concentrations as high as 1,600 ug/l.

Click Here to contact us for  Uranium Testing Today!

The point of referencing the aforementioned high concentration contaminant levels that we've fixed is not for bragging rights.  It's purpose is to illustrate that treatment options exists for any level of contaminant, no matter how severe.

Contaminant levels in both air and water can, and do, fluctuate.  I've seen many homeowners lulled into having a false sense of security because at some point, they performed one test that had favorable results, and never tested again...only to find out at some point that there is a problem. 

Drilling a new well, not buying a dream home, moving to another house, not occupying certain areas of a home, are all alternatives that will avoid having to deal with these situations.  But there's a better option.  We have the ability to solve most any radon or water quality issue to keep you and your family safe and protected in the home that you love.

 cozy home

 

Topics: radon in water, arsenic, hardness, radon in air concentrations, manganese in well water, iron in water

Private Water Wells - Real Estate Transactions

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Wed, Aug, 27, 2014 @ 12:08 PM

private water wells

 

We've experienced several consecutive quarters of expanded water quality testing and treatment system implementation for "exotic" well water contaminants for homes with private water wells. These "exotic" contaminants are not included in a standard potability analysis...otherwise known as the CT Basic Profile, which is why I refer to them as "exotic." Uranium, arsenic, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and waterborne radon are contaminants readily found in our New England private water wells.

From a home seller perspective; any of these contaminants uncovered at the 11th hour of negotiations can jeopardize an otherwise amicable transaction. From a home buyer perspective; the discovery of one or more of these issues can tarnish the image of what they otherwise perceived to be a clean, safe, place to call; "home."

A home owner with a private water well should test their water quality annually. Ground water is "ever changing" and contaminants such as the aforementioned exotics can creep into a private water well undetected. Regular water quality monitoring just makes sense for protection of everyone's health that uses the water in the home. This will also establish a history for the home owner so that when it is time to sell, it can be demonstrated to the buyer that the water quality was monitored regularly, and if problems were ever found; what steps (if any), were taken to rectify them. If nothing else - awareness of issues can prevent expensive last minute surprises!

A home buyer interested in buying a home with a private water well should not walk away from such a home merely because a problem has surfaced with water quality. Any quality issue can be rectified. Granted - some problems are more complex than others - but there's a solution for every one.

water treatment solutions

Through the years, I've heard a myriad of opinions and comments regarding well water vs. city water. One of my favorites; "We come from NYC...it has the best water in the world!" I often wonder if any of those people who've made those comments ever considered just how old some of the distribution systems are that deliver water throughout the city. Furthermore; every time I go to a restaurant that has municipal water...I can instantly smell the chlorine residual in the glass of water they bring to the table. Municipal water isn't all it's cracked up to be!

So what do you do if you're a Realtor listing or showing your buyers a home with a private water well? My recommendation is to make your clients aware of the facts. A standard potability analysis doesn't tell the whole story, there's an additional costs for these test, any problem is fixable...and let your client decide how to proceed.

Topics: radon in water, arsenic, private water well, well water quality, uranium

ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING FOR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Fri, Jul, 25, 2014 @ 15:07 PM

 

 Environmental Testing

Environmental testing for real estate transactions can become a contentious issue if administered improperly.  The negative impact can be further exacerbated by an erroneous interpretation of results.  Comments made by disgruntled property owners such as; "we've lived in the home for years and we're still here!" serve no useful purpose, and prove nothing more than they've been blessed with good genes...it doesn't mean that radon, arsenic, or whatever environmental contaminant in question isn't harmful.  We do not offer abatement services for mold or asbestos, so this article will focus on our areas of expertise.  

  Radon in air, radon in water, general water quality (potability), and "exotic" contaminants such as uranium, arsenic, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) in drinking water are just some of the environmental issues that can turn an otherwise amicable property sale into a contentious transaction.  Overall property values will be negatively impacted if these problems are severe enough...not to mention the potential health ramifications to the home's occupants if left unchecked.  Mold & asbestos are examples of other environmental hazards lurking in homes.  

The statement: "Timing is everything" is true for many situations we encounter in everyday life.  This is also true when talking about environmental testing for real estate transactions.  As an example; Climatic conditions prior to - and during an airborne radon test can have a dramatic affect on the test results.  A thunderstorm with high winds will create a substantial spike in airborne radon concentrations.  A clear, calm, mild stretch of weather will yield the lowest possible results.  Winter conditions will yield higher airborne radon concentrations vs. summer like weather due to the "stack effect".

stack effect

The impact to well water quality from climatic conditions is less predictable.  Sometimes a water well can demonstrate an almost instant "change" from a passing a rainstorm...or climatic "event" (ie; pH drops down).  Other times it may take weeks or months for changes - if any - to occur.  Regardless of any climatic events...ground water is "ever changing", and therefore should be tested on a regular consistent basis.  Geologic shifts, extended periods of rain...or lack thereof, can influence what's happening down at the aquifier level.

 There are no filters or control valves down in the ground that allow only water of a certain quality to enter your well.  The well pump draws water in from the surrounding rock strata & pushes it up and into to your home. If, before getting drawn into the pump, the water flows through an arsenic, uranium, or radon bearing source, the more of a chance it will have an elevated presence of that contaminant.

 

Environmental testing for real estate transactions should also be testing that a homeowner does periodically throughout their residency in that home...not just at time of purchase.  Just like you maintain your furnace, kitchen appliances, or water conditioning equipment; a regular check on environmental hazards in the home is just another sensible "chore" a homeowner should undertake periodically. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: radon in water, radon in air, arsenic, potability, well water, water quality

WHAT REALTORS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RADON

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Mon, Mar, 17, 2014 @ 14:03 PM

 

WHAT REALTORS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RADON

radon testing during a real estate transaction

 

Radon testing is a standard offering from most any reputable home inspector.  As a result, Realtors are inevitably impacted when a radon problem is uncovered in a home that has been inspected as part of a real estate purchase / transaction.  But there are times when radon should never become an issue.

What Realtors need to know about radon is that improper radon testing procedures probably account for more lost sales, closing delays, and animosity between buyers and sellers, than any other environmental issue encountered during a real estate transaction.  An educated Realtor can be proactive in avoiding the many pitfalls a poorly executed radon test can create.  Radon testing performed as part of a home inspection during a sales transaction should be done in a manner that will reveal what the home's occupants will be exposed to on a consistent basis, under normal living situations. These "screening" measurements should not be used to get the highest radon reading possible.

dirt floor basement

Non livable dirt basement

Erroneous radon test device placement is easy to recognize once you know what to look for. Placing a test kit in a crawl space, sump hole, or a dirt floored coal cellar that you have to crouch in, is not the proper location for a screening measurement for radon!  Here are the basic EPA guidelines for testing:

  • Test devices should be placed a minimum 20" off the floor.
  • Test devices should not be placed near vents, doors, & windows.
  • Test devices should not be placed on furnaces & hot water heaters.
  • Test devices should be a minimum of 3 ft. away from doors & windows.
  • Test devices should be a minimum of 1 ft. away from exterior walls.
  • Testing should not be performed in kitchens, baths, & laundry rooms if at all possible. 

 Incomplete radon testing of homes with expanded footprints (homes with first floor additions or liveable areas not located over the basement) can also create problems during the course of a home sales transaction.  Homes with footprints that extend beyond just the basement need to have more than one area tested.  As an example; a home with a full basement that has a family room addition built over a crawl space, and a master bedroom suite built "slab on grade", should have all these areas tested. 

additions should be tested for radon

Addition on slab

What Realtors need to know about radon is that if an elevated radon level is found, a qualified mitigator who surveys the home to give a radon mitigation quote will recognize that these other areas need to be tested in order to give the most thorough assessment of the radon picture for the home.  The experienced radon mitigator will recognize that oftentimes; mitigation efforts made in one location of the home, will have little to no impact in other areas of the home.  To avoid delays and jeopardize closing dates, it should be determined in advance if those other areas need to be addressed. That can only be ascertained by thourough radon testing procedures. 

If the home being tested for radon in air has well water, the water should be tested for radon.  Radon in water testing needs to be requested by interested parties, because it is not included in a standard potability analysis.  The radon content of water can impact radon in air levels.  Sometimes; a radon in water level can be a major contributing factor to an elevated radon in air concentration. 

Stack effect

 

What Realtors Need To Know About Radon:
*Radon levels are in a constant state of fluctuation (in both air & water).
*Radon entry into a structure from the soil is greatly influenced by pressure differentials that develop between the interior & exterior of the structure.
*Exposed ledge or dirt in a basement doesn’t automatically indicate the home will have a radon problem.  A radium source in the rock or soil is necessary for that rock and soil to be a contributing factor to an indoor radon in air problem. 
*Airborne radon levels are higher in winter due mainly to the “stack effect”.  The stack effect occurs when heated air inside the structure moves vertically through the structure.  The envelope of the heated structure creates a vacuum or suction on the ground on which it sits.  This increases the influx of radon laden soil gas into the structure.
*A house closed up for a long period of time doesn’t continuously build up radon concentrations.  There are two reasons for this.  Reason # 1:  Radon's half life.   Since radon is radioactive, it has a "half life" or natural decay process.  Every 3.8 days, half of any radon level dissipates...decays away...all on it's own.  Radon enters the home, but also dissipates on a consistent basis.  Reason # 2:  Natural Ventilation Rate (NVR). Regardless of the age of a home, air infiltrates in and exfiltrates out of the home continuously.  Therefore, even a home that has been closed for two years doesn't have two year old air inside.
*All occupiable areas of multi level homes should be tested...not just the basement!
Contact us for Radon  Information
certified radon mitigator

Topics: radon in water, radon in air, radon testing, radon in water testing

RADON TESTING FOR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Tue, Jul, 16, 2013 @ 17:07 PM

RADON TESTING FOR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

radon and water quality testing

Radon testing for real estate transactions can oftentimes become a contentious issue if not administered properly.  It is also critical that the Interpretation of any test results be handled judiciously to ensure that unnecessary work, delays in closing, and buyer / seller stress be kept to a minimum.  I'm rehasing this info because the real estate market is quite active right now and the issue of improper testing procedure is once again becoming commonplace in the real estate market!

Radon testing for real estate transactions should be conducted by someone who has a NRPP or NRSB certification for radon testing.  Aside from the certification;  a common sense approach is helpful in the deployment and retrieval of test devices.  The most common error we see in the field are homes that have been insufficiently tested for radon in air. 

An illustration of this scenario would be a 5,000 square foot home with a portion of the structure over a basement, a portion over crawl space, and a portion that is built slab on grade.  The elementary approach many test "professionals" would take would be to test the basement only.  The problem is that the results achieved in that area are not representative of the radon levels in the rest of the home.  The basement can yield very different results vs. the section of the home that is "slab on grade".  Left untested; the occupants may end up unknowingly exposed to elevated radon concentrations in areas where they spend measureable time.

hallway 3 resized 600   house cutaway resized 600

Homes bought and sold during the spring and summer markets may test "low" for indoor radon concentrations.  However; the "stack effect" which occurs in all homes to some degree during colder weather, can sometimes dramatically increase indoor radon concentrations.  The message here is to retest for radon in air concentrations periodically, with an emphasis on a "cold weather" result included in the mix.  Many homeowners are lulled into a false sense of security by one low result and spend years unknowingly exposed to elevated radon concentrations.

When contracting a testing company (or home inspector) to test the home you're interested in; you should emphasize the fact that you want the home tested so that you know what your family's exposure will be throughout the home...not what the radon level is in a sump hole or crawl space!

Radon testing for real estate transactions should also include a radon in water test if that water comes from a private water well.  A low radon in air concentration in the basement or lowest living level of the home does not mean there isn't a radon problem in the water.  Conversely; a high radon level in the upper portion of the home vs. a low reading in the basement is a clear sign of a source (off gassing of radon) in the water.  After the closing and long after all the inspections are completed, be sure to test the water regularly.  Potability at least annually.  Radon & other "special request" bi - annually.

Radon testing for real estate transactions should include at least on dual device test result if passive detectors such as charcoal canisters or e-perms are utilized. Only one Continuous monitor device is required for the area to be tested.  If an inspector only has one device & the home has multiple areas to be tested; passive detectors can be deployed simultaneously in the other areas to be tested.

radon test devices

 

 

 

Contact us for Radon Testing  in Air & Water

 

 Signature for blogs

 

 

 

 

Topics: radon in water, radon in air, radon testing

Waterborne Radon

Posted by Matthew Bednarz on Wed, Jun, 13, 2012 @ 13:06 PM

Radon Water Mitigation

Waterborne radon is a secondary entry route for radon into a home - in extreme cases, it can be the primary source. Most all groundwater contains some level of radon because radium - a naturally occurring element that is part of the radon decay chain...is so widely dispersed throughout the earth's crust.

Radon in water testing is not part of a standard potability analysis (at least not here in CT) & therefore; a homeowner or buyer who is having the water tested must specifically request radon be included in the test. As is the case with other groundwater contaminants, radon is in a constant state of flux.  This is due in large part to what the water is exposed to as it travels to your well. Therefore; a mitigation strategy is best developed on the basis of multiple test results. Unlike airborne radon where ASD is used almost exclusively regardless of radon concentration; the amount of radon in water dictates what can be done for removal.

GAC with Pre & Post Sediment Filter Bubble Up Aeration Systems AiRaider

 

Unfortunately, time constraints in a real estate transaction typically don't allow for repeated rounds of testing. The best advice I can give is to size the treatment for worst case scenario. In the long run; an undersized or mis-applied technology will be more problematic than a treatment scheme considered to be "overkill".

 To help account for some quality control, the State of CT requires a dual sample to be collected when screening for waterborne radon as part of a real estate transaction. While this doesn't account for seasonal, climatic, or usage variations, at least dual samples help give a feel for the range of fluctuation of radon at the point in time the samples were collected. Point is: if initial readings are in the 100K range ( ie;90K & 110K respectively)...no matter what other readings are recorded - knowing the levels can spike that high would preclude the use of activated carbon in that particular situation.

One cannot assume there is a problem in the water based on an indoor air reading being elevated. However; there are certain circumstances that can identify potential waterborne radon problems. The following examples are actual field experiences;

Case #1) A colonial's basement & second floor master bedroom are simultaneously tested for radon. The basement result is < 4.0pCi/l, the master tests at 8 pCi/l...this indicates an offgas from the master shower (the water in this example ended up testing at 150,000 pCi/l!).

Case #2) A home listed for sale with a basement laundry room has a basement airborne radon test performed by an inspector with a 25 pCi/l reading. The homeowner contracts a mitigator (Not Us!) to install a mitigation system. The system is installed & retest results are at 22.5 pCi/l. The contractor returns & modifies the original system...retest results are 26.2 pCi/l...closing is delayed...contractor returns & you guessed it!...fails to get levels down...contractor refuses to return. We are contracted to fix problem & discover that the well water concentration in this home is over 200k pCi/l. An aeration system to mitigate the radon in water is installed...subsequent air tests indicate radon levels <2.0 pCi/l. Fortunately, upon our assurances, buyers didn't walk & eventually closed on the property.

 

 

certified water specialist, certified radon mitigator


 

Topics: radon in water, radon, waterborne radon, dual sample, potability