Reservation Tap Water Has Acceptable Levels Of Uranium To Drink

May 11, 2012

The Department of Energy announced Friday that water being provided to residents of the Wind River Reservation is safe to drink.

Last week, DOE officials confirmed that tap water in four households on the reservation showed elevated levels of uranium nearly twice the legal limit.

This week, the DOE’s April Gil said in a statement that the elevated levels were inaccurate, the tap water has been retested, and is safe for consumption.

Gil says residents have been notified that their water is safe to drink, and that uranium in the tap water is well below the legal limit.

In 1963 the Susquehanna-Western uranium mill ceased operation on the Wind River Reservation. When it closed, it left behind nearly 2-million cubic yards of contaminated material, unlined, in the open, and subject to rain and snowfall for over 20 years. In 1988, the Department of Energy moved the contaminants to the gas hills and announced that the site would clean itself up after 100 years. But in 1998, the Department returned to the reservation telling residents that they shouldn't drink from their water wells for fear of contamination.

Households where contamination was found is serviced by that DOE water supply.