Radiation (Gross Alpha) In Your Water

What is Gross Alpha and how does it get into water?

Gross Alpha is a measurement of combined alpha particle radioactivity from Radium & Uranium. Radioactive substances are those that are unstable in nature and emit radiation in a process called radioactive decay. These naturally occurring radioactive substances, Radium and Uranium, which are solid minerals in soil and rocks, are frequently found in ground water in New Jersey as they can be transported through the water aquifer into well water.

Why is Gross Alpha a concern?

Radioactivity is a health risk because energy emitted by radioactive materials can damage or kill cells and change DNA. Exposure to Radium and Gross Alpha Radiation in drinking water can increase the risk of cancer, kidney damage, and birth defects. Exposure to high levels of Uranium can contribute to kidney disease by interfering with
reabsorption of proteins, and Uranium in the bloodstream can be deposited in a person’s bones where it is likely to remain for several years. With continued ingestion of extremely high levels of radiation in water, individuals have experienced the debilitating Parkinson’s like effects of heavy metals poisoning. Because there is no safe level of
radiation, the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for Gross Alpha is 0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter).

For both public and private water supplies, The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) allowed is 15 pCi/L. The DEP recommends water treatment if Gross Alpha activity exceeds 15 pCi/L.

Well water that contains elevated levels of radioactive minerals sometimes increases the level of Radon in the air inside a home. Everyday actions like taking a shower, doing laundry, or running a dishwasher can release Radon into the air inside your home. Breathing air with elevated levels of Radon over a lifetime increases a person’s risk of getting lung cancer. We recommend also testing Radon in water to determine concentrations.

Why is Gross Alpha a concern?

Interpreting Laboratory Results

If Gross Alpha activity is greater than 15 pCi/L, water treatment is recommended by the NJ DEP.

If Gross Alpha activity is greater than 5 pCi/L but less than 15 pCi/L, testing for Radium 226 and Radium 228 is advised. If the combined Radium levels are above 5 pCi/L, water treatment is recommended by the NJDEP. Alternatively, a homeowner may evaluate the additional cost of radium testing and determine whether it is better simply to proceed to water treatment.

If gross alpha activity is less than 5 pCi/L, no further action is required according to the NJDEP.

The laboratory results are represented in several fields on the report. Since Gross Alpha particle activity is highest when analyzed within 48 hours of sample collection, laboratories are required to analyze the water sample within 48 hours of collection to establish the Gross Alpha First Count. If this result is over 5 pCi/L, the laboratory analyzes the sample further to get a Gross Alpha Second Count. An Adjusted Gross Alpha level, which represents the remaining Radium in the water sample, is then determined by subtracting Uranium Alpha Activity from the Total Gross Alpha.

It is important to look at the sum of the Gross Alpha calculations, because that initial Gross Alpha level is the level the homeowner consumes the water at. Any levels over 5pCi/L are recommended to be treated. An RAdata water treatment specialist can review your water test results and recommend treatment based on the Gross Alpha levels.

How does RAdata reduce Gross Alpha in water?

Special water ion-exchange systems can remove radiation from your well water. RAdata has designed a proprietary system to specifically remove Radium and Uranium from your water.  This system includes a neutralizer to balance your water’s pH after it has undergone the de-ionization process.  We will customize this system to fit your needs and budget.  RAdata will service and monitor your system annually* by testing for radiation in the water and scanning for gamma ray emission from your treatment tanks with a special instrument used to measure radiation.  If you have existing treatment in your home, we can service and monitor your existing equipment, even if we didn't install it!

*Services provided upon request by client.  Appointment required.

GROSS ALPHA RADIATION LINKS: Homeowner's Guides to Radioactivity in Drinking Water, NJDEP - Read more about Uranium and Radium

Do I Have Radiation (Gross Alpha) in My Water?

If you suspect a problem and your drinking water comes from a private well, you should have the well water tested.  If Radiation (Gross Alpha) or any other contaminant is found, RAdata can install water treatment systems to remediate any water problem.

Test My Water for Gross Alpha (and other contaminants)

RAdata provides a full water testing service. Click to learn about our Water Testing Service or get started immediately by Ordering Well Water Testing for your home.

Test My Water for Gross Alpha (and other contaminants)

Radiation in your water: How to treat it and what you need to know.
The Good News: RAdata has the knowledge and experience to safely reduce radiation in your drinking water!

Our in house expert on radiation is a Radiation Safety Officer, past Conference Chair of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) Naturally Occurring Contaminants Conference: Arsenic, Radium, Radon, and Uranium, (2005,2006,2007), contributing author: "Multiple-Contaminant Private Well Water Treatment – Arsenic, Radionuclides, and More", and an active participant in ongoing State research on measuring and treating radiation in groundwater.


If you need to remove Radiation from water for your family's drinking water or for the sale of a home, RAdata can help! Call 800-447-2366 today to set up the installation of the guaranteed fix for Radiation in Well Water.  You can also use this Free Estimate form to have RAdata create a free, no obligation estimate for Water Treatment Services.

If you have questions on how to treat Radiation (Gross Alpha) in your well water,

call us today at 800-447-2366 and ask to speak to a specialist.