Florida Radioactive Water

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Federal regulators plan to review the state's management of the Escambia County Utilities Authority, following revelations it provided drinking water with high levels of radium to customers.

The US Environmental Protection Agency will review the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection's activities and data collection regarding the utility. The Pensacola News Journal first reported the utility supplied contaminated water to Pensacola and Gulf Breeze residents from 1996 to 2000.

The suspected source of radium in the water is an underground plume of toxins from the Agrico Chemical Superfund hazardous waste site in Pensacola. But utility officials say the water tests safe.

High levels of radium were first detected in the utility's Number Nine well in 1996. The well was closed in 1998, and that same year additional wells were discovered to contain levels of radium higher than deemed safe by the federal government.

During that time, the state and the utility argued over how to handle the cleanup method and public notification.