August 18. 2011 1:47PM

State to do more tests for tritium in Connecticut River

CONCORD — The state Division of Public Health Services said it will begin more testing Friday on water samples from the Connecticut River near the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant after Vermont tests confirmed tritium Wednesday.

The Vermont Department of Health laboratory on Wednesday said that Connecticut River water samples taken July 18 and July 25 were just above detectable levels.

Vermont officials said the finding confirms that the tritium from an old leak at Vermont Yankee has moved slowly underground to the Connecticut River. Detected more than a year ago, the leak at Vermont Yankee has since been corrected,

The samples measured 534 and 611, which is just above the lower limit of detection of 500 picocuries per liter, according to a press release.

Environmental Protection Agency standards for drinking water are 20,000 picocuries per liter.

“While this finding does not create a risk of harm to the public, it is still concerning,” Public Health Services Bureau Chief Joan Ascheim said in a statement.

“We have been testing for months and no results have been above minimum detectable levels, but we want to be assured that this is not a new issue and does not pose a new risk,” she said.

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On the Net:

healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/yankee/tritium.aspx dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/lab/monitoring.htm.