Events in Blue River Saturday not only encouraged residents to clean up their environment, but also make sure they are living in a healthy environment.
A steady stream of local residents filed into the town hall over the weekend to attend a town barbecue, enlist the help of local fire authorities for inspections and defensible space assessments, and pick up well water and radon testing kits from the Summit County Environmental Health Department.
Maya Kulick, a representative from the health department, was on hand to answer questions and let residents know how to administer their take-home test kits.
“We have had a lot of community interest,” she said on Saturday, before heading out of town hall with about a dozen samples of well water from residents.
Health department officials encourage anyone with a well to test their water at least once a year. Contaminants such as coliform and nitrates in contaminated well water can make people sick.
“That is what you are drinking, so it’s an important thing to do for your health, as well as know if there is something going on around you environmentally,” Kulick said.
The department was also giving out household radon tests in Blue River on Saturday. Radon is a radioactive gas, and is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers.
“We have really high levels of radon here in the county,” Kulick said.
“Our average here in the county is 10 picocuries per liter,” she said. “The EPA recommends mitigation above 4.”
Because levels of radon in Summit County are so high, Kulick urged everyone in the county to have their homes tested.
“One house might have it and the next one won’t,” Kulick said. “It’s caused by uranium decay in the soil, and we have really rocky soil here.”
Homeowners can test for radon by administering a short three to seven day test in the lowest living level of their house. Depending on the results, the test can be re-administered for a longer time period.
“If you are getting above a level eight, even with a short term test, we recommended doing one more short term test and at that point mitigating,”she said. “We have houses that are in the 200 range here in the county.”
No matter how high the radon levels are, every home can be mitigated. Certified professionals can employ techniques like sealing up crawl spaces and putting fans outside homes to suck up radon and pull it outside, she said.
Blue River second-home owner Deb Baker picked up both a well water and radon test at town hall on Saturday.
“We decided we should test our water since we are on septic, and we were curious about the radon,” Baker said. “We also thought it would be a chance to meet our neighbors.”
The Blue River local said she appreciated the town’s efforts to sponsor the services and events throughout the weekend.
“It makes this feel like a small community where people look out for each other, and I think that’s really important,” Baker said.
Several dozen residents of Summit County’s southernmost municipality also gathered at the town hall on Sunday for a community cook out and informational event. While local children enjoyed face painting and a bounce house, the adults discussed the future development of the town. A consultant charged with putting together a comprehensive master plan for Blue River was on hand to discuss various proposals for commercial development and growth in the town.