USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The Issue: Recent groundwater monitoring in northeastern Washington has shown elevated levels of uranium in several community water systems and in private wells. Naturally occurring uranium is associated with granitic and metasedimentary rocks, as well as younger sedimentary deposits, that occur in northeastern Washington. The occurrence and distribution of uranium in groundwater, however, is poorly understood and warrants investigation in order to reduce uranium exposure, protect from toxic kidney effects of uranium, and reduce the risk of cancer.
How USGS will help: In close cooperation with water-resource agencies and stakeholders, USGS made a preliminary assessment of naturally occurring uranium in groundwater relying on existing information and limited reconnaissance sampling. A USGS Scientific Investigations Map was published to report on the current knowledge and data gaps regarding uranium in groundwater in northeastern Washington State.