Potential health risks from uranium in home well water: An investigation by the Apsaalooke (Crow) tribal research group
Eggers, Margaret J.
Moore-Nall, Anita L.
Doyle, John T.
Lefthand, M. J.
Young, S. L.
Bends, A. L.
Crow Environmental Health Steering Committee
Camper, Anne K.
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Exposure to uranium can damage kidneys, increase long term risks of various cancers, and cause developmental and reproductive effects. Historically, home well water in Montana has not been tested for uranium. Data for the Crow Reservation from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) database showed that water from 34 of 189 wells tested had uranium over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 30 μg/L for drinking water. Therefore the Crow Water Quality Project included uranium in its tests of home well water. Volunteers had their well water tested and completed a survey about their well water use. More than 2/3 of the 97 wells sampled had detectable uranium; 6.3% exceeded the MCL of 30 μg/L. Wells downgradient from the uranium-bearing formations in the mountains were at highest risk. About half of all Crow families rely on home wells; 80% of these families consume their well water. An explanation of test results; associated health risks and water treatment options were provided to participating homeowners. The project is a community-based participatory research initiative of Little Big Horn College; the Crow Tribe; the Apsaalooke Water and Wastewater Authority; the local Indian Health Service Hospital and other local stakeholders; with support from academic partners at Montana State University (MSU) Bozeman.
Eggers MJ, Moore-Nall AL, Doyle JT, Lefthand MJ, Young SL, Bends AL, Crow Environmental Health Steering Committee, Camper AK, ʺPotential health risks from uranium in home well water: An investigation by the Apsaalooke (Crow) tribal research group,ʺ Geosciences 2015 5(1):67–94.