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Private Wells and Uranium

Uranium is a weakly radioactive heavy metal that occurs naturally. Rocks, soil, surface and ground water, air, plants, and animals (including humans) all contain varying amounts of uranium.

Some geographical regions of the United States, particularly southwestern states such as New Mexico, have concentrated natural deposits of uranium and extensive historic uranium ore mining and milling activities. For these reasons, some areas may have higher than average uranium levels, which may result in increased human exposure.

There are some possible health concerns related to the kidney from excessive exposure to uranium. The kidney is the most sensitive organ for uranium toxicity. Some studies have shown small changes in the way kidneys work when people drink water with large amounts of uranium for a long time (usually more than 2-5 years). These changes, however, seem to go away when people stop drinking this water with high-levels of uranium.

Learn more about Uranium and Health.
Levels of various naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants in New Mexico groundwater including uranium, might be elevated above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water standards. Ongoing drought conditions and aquifer mining have raised further concern that increases in contaminants may occur in the absence of significant ground water recharge events. To assure that the water is safe for human consumption, well owners should periodically test their wells.

The information available on this page, including the maps, demonstrates uranium found in tested private wells in New Mexico based on the data available from various sources.

To know the uranium concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test. Learn about testing.

Wells Sampled 1979-2018

Uranium levels in water samples from private wells vary between New Mexico counties and even within the same county. The groundwater system in New Mexico is very complex. This complexity can lead to large uranium concentration variability even amongst neighboring wells. Therefore, to know the uranium concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test.

The safe drinking water concentration for uranium is 30 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) and some of the water samples from wells in north and south-central counties appear to exceed this Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water standard.

People who drink water containing uranium in excess of EPA's standard and over many years could experience health problems.

Learn more about Uranium and Health. Uranium Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled July 1979 - Apr 2018

Uranium Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled July 1979 - Apr 2018
Uranium Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled July 1979 - Apr 2018
New Mexico Private Wells Inventory (Uranium Test Results Summary July 1979 - Apr 2018
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Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:02 MDT