Uranium Levels of Water in Haskovo Unchanged since the Past Century

Water in Haskovo has had unchanged quality since the 50ties of the past century, the hydrogeologist Neyko Neykov said on 21st of April. Some of the wells in Haskovo (South Bulgaria) have always had higher levels of radioactivity and this has been known for decades. Drinking water gets tested for radioactive substances ...

Uranium Levels of Water in Haskovo Unchanged since the Past Century

Water in Haskovo has had unchanged quality since the 50ties of the past century, the hydrogeologist Neyko Neykov said on 21st of April. Some of the wells in Haskovo have always had higher levels of radioactivity and this has been known for decades. Drinking water gets tested for radioactive substances every year or every two years. New revised standards for permissible natural uranium levels in water have been introduced, requiring two times lower maximum levels. Therefore specialists say it is possible that more tests may show elevated contaminant levels as a result of the new norms, but this does not mean the uranium content in the water has actually increased.

Measurements of the radioactivity in the water in Bulgaria have been done since the 50ties of the past century and it was then found that some of the wells in Haskovo had elevated uranium content, unchanged to this day.

According to Neykov, it is important from where the samples for the tests are taken. Regulation 9 on the quality of drinking water requires samples to be taken from the tap. Whilst the first announcements for elevated uranium levels in the water in Haskovo are based on samples from the pipe out of the wells. This is a huge discrepancy in the data, he added. The quality of the water in the wells is monitored under a different regulation – Ordinance 1 on control over underground waters, which is not drinking water, Neykov explained.

The content of natural uranium has not gone up. Only the standard for acceptable level has been changed since 2016. It was reduced two-fold, from 0,06 to 0,03 mg per litre. The water quality in Haskovo, as well alsewhere in the country, is tested every two years, which means that the results from the latests tests will be compared with the new revised standards.

Therefore, according to the expert, we were quick to introduce the new norms. Our system is not ready for them. It will take years to explore alternative, cleaner water sources to build the necessary infrastructure.

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