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Methods of Treatment for Water Contaminants

Uranium

Source of Uranium

Uranium is a naturally occurring radionuclide. Natural uranium combines uranium 234, uranium 235, and uranium 238; however, uranium 238 makes up 99.27 percent of the composition. All radionuclides are considered carcinogens; however, the organs each attacks is different. Uranium is not a proven carcinogen but accumulates in the bones similar to the way radium does. Therefore, the US EPA tends to classify it as a carcinogen. Uranium has been found to have a toxic effect on the human kidneys. Under the NIPDWR (national interim primary drinking water regulations), the MCL (maximum contamination level) for uranium is set at 15 pCi/L (see "Radium" for explanation of how radiation is measured).

Treatment of Uranium

Uranium can be reduced by both cation and anion dependent upon its state. Reverse osmosis will reduce uranium by 95 to 98%. Ultrafiltration will also reduce the amount of uranium. Activated alumina can also be utilized.

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