Snyder: Study finds negligible radiation in Ten Mile Creek

Independent report by Water Research Institute detects diminished threat

HARRISBURG, July 23 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today said that independent analyses by the West Virginia Water Research Institute found vastly reduced radiation levels in contrast to 2014 test results from Ten Mile Creek in Greene County.

“This is the first of the exhaustive testing planned for the creek, but today’s results indicate no dangerous levels of radiation,” said Snyder, who has pushed for increased monitoring and analysis of the waterway, which supplies public water in the area. “No one is resting easy, but it is encouraging that zero or negligible levels of Radium 226 and 228 were detected.”

Snyder said the results from June 25 testing at four sites found:

  • No levels exceeding federal Safe Drinking Water Act limits;
  • A gross alpha radiation -- energy released from decaying radioactive elements -- reading near the Clyde Mine less than half of what was detected in the 2014 study;
  • Zero traces of Radium 226 at Cumberland and Clyde mines’ discharge sites;
  • Fractional Radium 226 levels – well below SDWA limits -- at a Smith Creek tributary and at Ten Mile Creek at Sugar Camp Road; and
  • Only miniscule Radium 228 levels at all four testing sites.

“The results are highly technical, but I have been assured that they are generally encouraging and should begin to reassure residents about the safety of Ten Mile Creek,” Snyder said. “Even those without a scientific background can see vastly diminished detection levels from those publicized previously.”

Snyder said the radionuclide sampling was performed by Pace Analytical Services of Greensburg, and the results she was provided are available on her legislative website, www.pahouse.com/Snyder.

“The institute cautions that uncertainty is inherent in radiation measurements because of a number of factors, including varying laboratory methods,” Snyder said. “However, the general results --

 radium levels well below federal drinking water standards – are positive.”

Snyder said laboratory results from 35 samples collected last month from 13 sites by the state Department of Environmental Protection are expected next month.

“More test results are needed before anyone can draw any conclusions, but the independent study is an encouraging development,” Snyder said.