To offer assurance to customers on the quality of radon services delivered by private service providers around the country, the EPA will establish registration schemes for radon testing and remediation services.
The establishment of these schemes is an action recommended under the National Radon Control Strategy. The schemes help to ensure that the radon testing and remediation contractors listed on any Government website are sufficiently qualified and experienced to carry out the services offered.
These registration schemes are currently under development.
Testing for Radon
The EPA provides an accredited radon testing service. The EPA also provides a list of other radon testing companies. This list is provided for information only. The EPA does not approve, authorise or otherwise recommend the services provided by other radon testing companies.
Long-term testing (at least 3 months) of average radon levels using passive radon detectors, is the preferred technique for carrying out radon measurements for the purpose of comparison with the Reference Levels for radon.
To read more about radon testing read our measurement protocol.
Assuring the quality of work provided by radon testing services
To ensure that radon testing services offer accurate and consistent results the National Radon Control Strategy recommended that a registration scheme be developed.
The EPA is currently rolling out this registration scheme, which requires radon testing services to participate in proficiency testing, show compliance with criteria such as testing procedures, quality standards, the standard of information provided to customers and legal compliance matters. Further details are available in this guidance document and registration form.
The registration scheme will be finalised in early 2017 and the list of registered testing companies available on this website.
Reducing High Radon Levels
At present, the EPA provides a list of remediation contractors to those that wish to reduce radon levels in their buildings. The inclusion of contractors on this list is provided for information only. The EPA does not approve, authorise or otherwise recommend the services provided by the contractors listed. The EPA recommends that those using these services:
- Get a number of contractor quotes
- Where references are available, try to speak to the person who gave the reference
- Discuss the following with the contractor:
- Fan warranty and maintenance (for active sumps)
- Costs of running fans (for active sumps)
- Fan noise – if possible fans should be located away from bedrooms as they may be heard especially at night (for active sumps)
- Safety – ensure pipes and cables buried in walls and floors are identified before work starts
- Post remedial measurements
- What steps may be taken and the potential cost (if any) if further work is needed following re-testing
Following the remediation work the EPA advises that:
- It is very important to re-test your building after the work is completed to ensure that radon levels have been reduced to below the Reference Level. The EPA provides a free post-remediation measurement service to all homeowners.
- Although remediation is usually successful at the first attempt, sometimes more work is needed to reduce the radon levels to below the Reference Level.
- There is no absolute certainty that radon will be reduced to below the Reference Level even following a number of remediation attempts. While this rarely happens, it is important to note that any significant reduction in radon levels will reduce the risk of developing radon related lung cancer.
Assuring the quality of work provided by remediation contractors
To ensure that the remediation contractors listed on any Government website are sufficiently qualified and experienced to carry out remediation work, the National Radon Control Strategy recommended that a registration scheme be developed.
Contractor registration will include a number of requirements including attendance at a training course on remediation, followed by a successful assessment, meeting a number of other criteria including adherence to a code of practice, tax compliance, appropriate insurance, etc. This training couse has been rolled out in 2016 and the registration scheme will be finalised in late 2016. Following this, the register of contractors will be available on this website.
Radon in Water
Radon gas is soluble in water and high radon levels have been found in some groundwater supplies. However, levels of radon in drinking water from surface water supplies (lakes and rivers) are usually very low.
You can be exposed to radon through drinking water and through inhaling radon gas as it is released from water. Drinking water with high levels of radon can result in exposure of the stomach to an increased radiation dose. However, no increase in the risk of developing stomach cancer has been linked with drinking water with high levels of radon. Radon in water can be easily released from water into the atmosphere when the water is agitated or heated.
To find out more read our radon in water booklet
Is my drinking water at risk?
If your drinking water is supplied from a borehole or private groundwater supply, then your water may be at risk of having elevated levels of radon. If you are connected to the mains supply and get your water from a surface water supply (water from a river or a lake), the risk that your water contains elevated levels of radon is very low. This is because radon is easily dispersed from water when it is agitated as it goes through the mains system; or when left to stand for some time, in a tank or reservoir.
Testing my water
The EPA recommends that if you use water from a borehole or private groundwater supply, you should have the levels of radon in your drinking water tested.
For public water supplies, where radon levels are found to exceed 500 becquerel per litre (Bq/l), remediation of the water supply to reduce radon levels should be carried out. For private water supplies, where radon levels are found to exceed 500 Bq/l, remediation of the water supply to reduce radon levels should be considered.
Reducing radon levels in drinking water
There are two water treatment methods for the removal of radon from water. Both methods are capable of reducing the radon level by more than 95 per cent.
- Aeration. This is based on the natural tendency of radon to diffuse out of water into the air. Aeration systems include multi-staged bubble aeration, high pressure air injection, and spray aeration. Adequate ventilation is then required to prevent the build-up of radon in the air.
- Granular Activated Carbon Absorption. Water is pumped through a bed of granular activated carbon which absorbs the radon. This system has the disadvantage that radioactivity can build up in the unit, which may require specialist disposal.
Here are some of our guidance documents:
If a home or other building was built after 1st July 1998, the building regulations require that it is fitted with a standby radon sump. This is simple pipe work that extends from under the foundations into the outdoor air. If high radon levels are measured, the standby sump can be activated by adding a fan. It should be noted that a standby sump that has not been activated by adding a fan does not reduce radon levels in a building.
For those buildings in High Radon Areas the installation of a radon barrier as well as a standby sump is required. The installation of these protective measures is not a guarantee that radon levels will be below the Reference Level.
At present, there is no grant available to assist with the cost of radon remediation. Some radon reduction techniques are more expensive than others. Typically the cost to retrofit a radon sump is about €925 (ranging from €400-€1500). Other, less expensive options are available, for example, improving the ventilation in your home by installing extra wall vents. This type of work usually costs in the region of a few hundred euro.
A Scheme of Housing Aid for Older People is available to assist older people, generally over 66 years, to have repairs or improvements carried out to their homes. Where a suite of works is being grant aided under this scheme, Local Authorities may also, as part of the package of works, assist with the provision of radon remediation works, where applicable. Contact the Housing Section of your Local Authority for further information. Additional information is also available from Citizen Information website.
The Home Renovation Incentive scheme allows homeowners to qualify for tax credits at 13.5% of the cost of renovation, repair or improvement works. Full details of the scheme are available from the Revenue Commissioners.
We have produced a number of helpful leaflets and guidance documents to advise you on radon.
In addition to the information on this website you can contact us directly:
1800 300 600 is the EPA Free Phone service. This is available 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. You can ring this number to order a radon testing kit or for advice or information about radon.
You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org