On the surface, radon is associate with scary words: "radiation", "carcinogen", "cancer clusters", etc. Although radon levels must be managed, they can be managed fairly easily and inexpensively. This is particularly pressing if you live in South Florida and you enjoying gardening on your property.
Here's a quick guide to help you mitigate radon on your South Florida property.
The radon mitigation process begins by testing your property for radon levels.
- Sampling: in many states, Florida included, the EPA has mandated that local officials provide residents with radon testing kits. These kits are typically free and easy to use. When using your radon testing kit, it's important to test several areas on your property. For gardeners, this should include many samples from your garden. To help you make sense of your results, it's important to create grid of areas where you test. Marking spots with popsicle sticks labeled with a number is an easy way to collate your radon testing results.
- Analyzing: making sense of your radon data fall into to two parts: your property's total radon footprint and "hot spots". The total radon footprint can be calculating the average radon score from your garden to give you an average score for your property. Once you have this number, you can cross reference the data with accepted EPA levels. For the "hot spots," you should look at each individual sample you take. Samples with higher levels represent the "hot spots" on your property. It's important to keep this data, for any radon mitigation efforts you make.
Mitigation and Moving
Once you've tested and analyzed your radon results, you should take a two-pronged approach to radon mitigation efforts.
- Mitigation: your mitigation efforts should be concentrated on the areas with the highest radon and/or the areas of your property you most frequently use. Because South Florida has very little rock foundation and relatively porous soil, your best mitigation option will likely be venting. Radon mitigation vent kits are likely available at your local home improvement store or gardening center. You can also find these types of products online. After installing your radon vents, you should retest areas around your vents annually.
- Moving: the easiest approach to mitigation, particularly for gardeners, is to move your garden away from higher radon levels. Because radon levels often correlate to drainage patterns, this may not be possible. However, moving your garden away from higher radon levels may be your most efficient option.