Oklahoma Continues To Monitor Radiation Levels After Japan Disaster

Monday, March 28th 2011, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- As minor amounts of radiation are detected in the U.S., the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality continues to monitor for radiation levels in the state.

Oklahoma is more than 6,000 miles away from Japan.

"It's a long ways away and I'm not really worried about it. It's a far distance," said Tulsa resident Reginald Logan.

But since the nuclear disaster in the country following the earthquake and tsunami, that gap was made smaller. That's because radiation was detected in rainwater in Massachusetts and Nevada.

"Want to emphasize that the sampling results indicate no risk to the state drinking water supplies. The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short term slight elevation in radiation," Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach told reporters Monday.

That's closer to home, even if the radiation danger is low.

"Maybe I'm in denial but I just don't see it making its way to Tulsa Oklahoma," said Tulsa resident Bob Hendrick.

The Department of Environmental Quality in Oklahoma City says that so far we have nothing to worry about.

"It's important to note that all public water systems in the state of Oklahoma are required to routinely monitor for a number of things to ensure the public's health is protected," said Skylar McElhaney of the ODEQ.

A monitoring station in North Tulsa is one of two the DEQ has in Oklahoma to monitor for radiation in the air.

The DEQ says these monitors constantly take samples. Those samples are recorded online. Filters are taken out of the monitors and sent to labs for additional testing.

"We have ramped up our communication with EPA and other federal agencies during this time," McElhaney said.

The DEQ says radiation can be carried through the atmosphere and the tests haven't shown anything alarming.

"I don't think it's something to be concerned about in Oklahoma at this time. I think it's something to be aware of," he said.

But they are aware that radiation is a hot topic.

"They are monitoring... it does make me feel a little bit better," Logan said.

The DEQ says if the levels were high in Oklahoma, they would coordinate with federal agencies to determine the next appropriate step.

But again, there is not a radiation threat right now here in the state.