Health risks from radon gas and the need for testing have been in the media lately. National news agencies like the CBC recently aired stories warning us about radon gas because all Canadians are at risk. When we normally hear about radon gas exposure, it’s about people being exposed to in their homes from places like the basement. But you could also be at risk from radon being released into the air from your everyday tasks that use water such as flushing the toilet, running water for baths or showers or washing dishes, clothes, etc. and drinking your water.

If your primary water source comes from a well, your household could be in danger. Groundwater as a source of radon gas exposure doesn’t receive a lot of media attention but it is just as real. Water from treatment plants are typically not at risk because the sanitation process agitates the water enough to release the radon before it enters the home.

How do you test for radon gas in your water? You need to first take a water sample closely following the Water Sample Procurement procedure and send the sample(s) to a lab like Pylons. The report they provide will alert you to whether you need to take action to bring radon levels to acceptable limits.

Once the Pylon lab receives the water samples, the process to test the water for radon gas using our unique accessory called the water degassing system can begin. It is very efficient at extracting radon from a water sample into one of Pylon’s detector active Lucas type cells. Once extracted, the radon in the cell can be measured by Pylon’s monitors. This process does not require the use of chemicals, etc. for the measurement, and it includes a traceable report. If you have Pylon’s water degassing accessory, the procedure to obtain reliable and accurate results is outlined below:

Radon Extraction

  1. The active cell is prepared by measuring the system background.
  2. The water degassing system is prepared for extracting the radon gas. e.g., Closing all valves, etc.
  3. The active cell is connected to the appropriate connection on the water degassing system.
  4. The cell and extraction plumbing of the water degassing system are evacuated to 29 inches of mercury (vacuum) using a vacuum pump.
  5. A precise amount of the water sample is carefully placed in the water degassing system graduated cylinder. i.e., Minimal water agitation, etc.
  6. The graduated cylinder and tubing are appropriately connected to the water degassing system to provide an air tight seal.
  7. The appropriate control valves on the water degassing system are slowly opened to allow air to slowly bubble through the water sample. This extracts the radon from the water sample where it is sucked into the active cell.
  8. Once complete, the time is noted, the active cell is removed from the water degassing system, and the water degassing system is prepared for the next sample or storage.

Radon Measurement

  1. The active cell with the radon sample must sit for a minimum of 3.5 hours after the radon was extracted from the water to allow for ingrowth.
  2. The active cell is placed on the radon monitor and the measurement is made. This normally involves counting for 6 times 2-minute intervals.
  3. The count data is obtained from the monitor and the radon concentration is calculated in Bq/l using the standard formula that is provided with the water degassing system.
  4. Once complete, the active cell is flushed to remove the radon sample and the cell is prepared for storage. It must be stored for a minimum of 24 hours before the next use.
  5. The results are reported, as appropriate.

Pylon offers radon in water testing services. Please contact Lise at or 613-226-7920 Ext 246 for more information.

Pylon has been in the radon testing business for 40 years and has developed a wide variety of radon monitors, detectors, and radioactive sources. In fact, one of the many benefits of using Pylon’s radon monitors is the number of available detectors that can be used. All you need is one monitor and you can obtain different detectors and accessories for a variety of applications without the need to purchase another monitor. This versatility saves your organization time and money while receiving world-class accuracy and dependability.