Radium Contamination in Drinking Water

Radium is a radionuclide element in the second period of the periodic table and has similar physical and chemical characteristics to Calcium. Radium takes the form of a cation in water and is a naturally occurring contaminant associated with certain rocks and minerals. Radionuclide contamination of groundwater is generally attributed to sources naturally occurring in rock formations where wells are drilled. Radionuclides are a family of unstable compounds that continually emit energy in the form of radiation. Radionuclides include uranium, radium, radon and a family of compounds known as “gross alpha emitters” – any of which may require treatment.

Tonka Water recommends treating radium with our non-accumulative HMO technology, assuring no accumulation of radioactivity in the treatment system/media.

Other methods of radium removal can include: Cation exchange softening (should be used with caution due to potential radium buildup within resin over time), greensand filtration (again, potential radium accumulation on media) and other softening processes such as lime softening and NF membrane treatment.

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Tonka Water Radium Removal Technologies

Tonka Water offers pilot testing to optimize an existing plant or to assist in the design of a new plant.  


In response to USEPA’s regulations for reduction of radionuclides, Tonka Water developed the technology for removal from new and existing water system using Hydrous Manganese Oxides (HMO).  Tonka Water’s Ra-Mox™ technology won market acceptance  due to the high level of removal efficiency while eliminating the risk of hazardous waste handling. 


Tonka Water has developed state-of-the-art Hydrous Manganese Oxide (HMO) technology to achieve superior radium removal results. Using our unique process, water operators can mix on-site and pre-form HMO particles and inject a slurry of them into the raw water where radium is absorbed onto the HMO particle. The particle, along with the absorbed radium is then removed through subsequent filtration using Tonka Water’s specially developed media, IMAR™. If an operator would like to avoid on-site mixing of HMO solutions, Tonka Water has developed TonkaZorb™ to meet this need. TonkaZorb™ is a special factory formulated preformed stabilized slurry that can be delivered on-site ready to pump.

TonkaZorb™ is an NSF-approved, pre-formed HMO solution that Tonka Water developed for delivery to water treatment plants – ready for use. Radium is adsorbed on the surface of the added HMO particles, which are subsequently filtered. TonkaZorb™ is ideal for new small and medium sized systems due to its economical delivered cost and its ease of operation. The advantages of TonkaZorb™ are its ability to eliminate radium accumulation, the need for chemical feed rate adjustments and the need to handle and mix potentially hazardous bulk chemicals on site. TonkaZorb™ saves labor costs and simplifies the operator’s job. TonkaZorb™ is the most effective method of radium removal with the highest percentage of removal of all HMO processes. 

Dualator®(III and VI) Series

This family of multi-process groundwater treatment systems comes in a single pre-engineered package of aeration, detention and filtration.

The Dualator® III is our most versatile and compact package filtration system for groundwater treatment. The Dualator® III is a low profile system suitable for removal of any combination of iron and/or manganese. It is equipped with a low profile aerator for oxidation, followed by auxiliary oxidant addition, 30 minute detention with baffled setting compartment, and a 4 celled gravity filter. 

The Dualator® VI is a free-standing unit that incorporates aeration, detention and filtration in a circular configuration. In moderate to warm climates, it can be placed exterior to the water treatment plant, with functional piping and valves extended to within the building interior. When placed interior to the water plant, the aerator and detention sections of the unit typically extend through the roof, to prevent freezing and to allow for access to filtration from within the building. The Dualator® VI does not provide baffled detention or solids sedimentation.


Tonka Water’s RidION™ ion exchange systems solve a broad range of water treatment issues from uranium removal, to hardness, barium, nitrate and radium reduction and more. The RidION™ systems incorporate the newest technologies in resin regeneration — guaranteeing an efficient and effective process with custom controls for your system.

Optacell and VertaCell Pressure Filters

Tonka Water takes pride in our state-of-the-art pressure filtration systems. Our Optacell Plus™ horizontal pressure filters featuring our isolated cell design have the smallest footprint of any pressurized system. Our unique arched plate underdrain allows for an unobstructed flow-way with low headloss, resulting in superior effluent collection and improved wash water distribution. The Tonka Water arched plate is a fully painted underdrain, extending vessel life and includes easy access for inspection and maintenance. Tonka Water pressure systems incorporate Simul-Wash™, allowing for downsized backwash waste/wastewater recycle chambers, reducing both construction costs and wash water consumption.

4 Vessel Water Treatment System


The Tonka Water Centralator™ is a four-cell cluster filter suitable for larger flow ground or surface water treatment in a compact, reinforced concrete configuration. It includes a gravity, four-cell common wall concrete structure, stainless steel center control column, central inlet distribution box and effluent/backwash control chamber. Featuring BLEU™ underdrains and Simul-Wash™, the Centralator™ can be highly space-efficient, especially for larger flows where steel construction isn’t practical.

Drawing of a Centralator Water Filtration System

Flux RO/NF Membrane Treatment

Membrane systems remove nitrates, sulfates and related hardness-causing compounds by use of banked arrays of cross flow pressure membranes. Typically a portion of the feed water is bypassed so that water stability and exact hardness of the effluent is achieved. Tonka Water’s experience in membrane treatment technology runs deep, and our systems include comprehensive controls, assembled membrane skids, instrumentation, clean-in-place sub-systems and the know-how to continuously provide a stable, compliant water.

Flux NF/RO Membrane System
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City of Channahon

Channahon, IL
Channahon is a growing community of about 9,000 residents located 40 miles southwest of Chicago.
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City of Oshkosh

Oshkosh, WI
The Algoma Sanitary District No. 1 is located northeast of Oshkosh, WI. They have turned to Tonka Water for their three most recent treatment systems.
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City of Arcadia

Arcadia, Florida
To stay in compliance with the USEPA standards, Arcadia, Florida sought help from Tonka Water who assisted in the design of an innovative system, which uses ion exchange; both cation and anion; to treat their water.
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Contact Tonka Water with your water treatment needs

Each plant has different design parameters involving various chemical feed systems with variations in detention times and filtration media. Because each radium situation is unique, we offer pilot testing to optimize an existing plant or to assist in the design of a new plant. Call your Tonka Water Representative for more information on radium removal or any other water treatment needs you may have.

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