Radon in Naples Fire Station water

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The water filtration system that was installed at the Naples Town Hall is working well and the water is safe to drink.

It’s a good thing that the filtration system is doing its job, because one is now needed at the Naples Fire Station.

There are high levels of radon in the water at the fire station, according to Naples Town Manager John Hawley.

“The fire station — their water is actually worse than it was here at the town office,” he said.

The town will budget immediately for the purchase and installation of a water filtration system in the fire station, Hawley said.

Fortunately, it is common knowledge that the tap water at the fire station is off limits for drinking. Hawley clarified that personnel and volunteers at the fire station drank bottled water instead of drinking the tap water.

The town manager brought the Naples Board of Selectmen up to speed on the recent results of water quality tests done at the town office, the fire station, other public buildings and the drinking water spigot near the Plummer Memorial sports field.

This summer, the board had been informed that Hawley planned on remedying the radon problem by purchasing a water filtration system for the town office.

“When the water was tested back in July, we had issues with uranium and radon. Our levels were at 37.6 micrograms per liter for uranium and 12,066 picocuries per liter of radon.

“After installation, the uranium [in water tests] came back less than 1 microgram—the limit is 30. And, the radon is at 492 with that limit being 10,000,” he said.

“The water at town hall is safe to drink — absolutely. That includes the water that feeds the Singer Center and the [Naples United] Methodist Church,” Hawley said.

“We can throw out the water bottles,” he said.

“We now also have the test results for both the fire station and the ice rink,” he told the board.

“At the fire station, uranium is at 184. radon is at 20,849 — the high limit being 4,000,” he said.

“A new system will need to be installed at the fire station,” he said.

“The ice rink well tested fine with the exception of a low PH at 5.66, with a range to be between 6.5 and 8.5. There is no risk with this water,” he said.

The water filtration or radon mitigation system cost the town $9,000. He said the price would be about the same for the fire station although the same price was not a guarantee.

Additionally, the purchase is on the ASAP list, Hawley said. There is no plan to wait until town meeting in June. Possibly, reserve funds from the fire department budget or from the building maintenance account might be used, he said.

In unrelated business, Hawley reported back to the selectmen about what would happen to surplus used hand-held radios after the Naples Fire and Rescue Department received radios provided by a grant.

Basically, there might not be any surplus radios, he said.

“According to the fire department, the new radios do not afford every member a new radio. So some will be kept as spares and there has been a request from Marine Safety to get in on any that are not going to be used,” Hawley said.

“They will be repurposed” if there are any extras, he said.

In another unrelated matter, bids have gone out for a construction project to strengthen the gym walls and replace the roof with a pitched metal one.

That project will not happen this winter, and the roof is being tarped to be leak-proof over the winter. The cost turned out to be more than the amount approved at town meeting 2018. So, the expense of the gym roof construction project will be incorporated into next year’s budget.

The gym roof “project is currently out to bid.” The town sent out Referrals for Proposals (RFPs) “to 12 different contractors,” Hawley said.

“The information is on our website under the bids and services tab if anyone is interested,” he said.

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