Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Radon test, anyone? It’s free

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Some 30 homes in Williamsburg will be able to avail to free radon tests conducted as part of a William & Mary geology student’s senior project to assess a radon-risk map being developed within the city.

The tests will be done through the university’s Department of Geology.

Rick Berquist, research associate in the university’s geology department, said radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, and a health hazard.

And oh, Radon Awareness Week is Oct. 17-24.

Some Williamsburg homes are built atop marine sediments known as the Yorktown Formation, Berquist said in a news release from W&M.

The formation is rich in fossils, but also is associated with higher levels of radon. Some Williamsburg homes test at radon levels above those deemed to be safe, he noted.

A set of factors including the particular geology underneath a home, construction method and elevation makes some homes more susceptible to radiation infiltration than others, according to the news release.

The geology department has been assembling a radon-risk map of the area. A William & Mary geology major will conduct the home tests to validate the predictions made by the map as part of a senior thesis.

The testing will involve providing radon test kits to homeowners and a return visit two days later. Homeowners will be advised later of the radon level in their homes and given advice on remediation, if necessary, according to the news release.

University officials said they will share results – once the map is complete — with the city of Williamsburg.

Interested homeowners may apply for the test by emailing


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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