BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) -- Living in her Bloomington home for 20 years, Lisa feared that her radon level might be higher than recommended.
"I thought maybe I should get one of those tests," Lisa said.
She had the test performed and soon realized her fears. The radon level exceeded what the EPA considers safe, so she knew something had to be done. That was until her family budget took a curve ball from an unexpected expense.
"I found out we had high levels of radon. But that's when the furnace went out, so we had two big projects to do on the home and the furnace had to come first," Lisa said.
It wasn't long after that Lisa learned about a Minnesota Department of Health pilot program that installs radon mitigation systems for homeowners in dire need. The program is the brainchild of the Minnesota Cancer Alliance Workgroup, Breath of Hope Foundation, Midwest Radon Specialists and MDH.
Of the 22 homeowners who applied for the grant, eight were selected.
Lisa was among those receiving a system that pulls the cancer causing gas from under the basement slab and vents it safely outside.
"Radon levels are very high in Minnesota, some of the highest in the country," Dan Tranter, a radon expert, said.
Tranter supervises MDH's radon program and explains that the average cost of a mitigation system will range from $1,500 to $2,000 for installation.
He adds that for too many Minnesotans on fixed incomes, that can be out of reach.
"We know the demand is out there and we know many want to install the systems but don't have the resources," Tranter said.
But thanks to Midwest Radon Specialists and the Cancer Alliance Workgroup, the systems are installed at virtually no cost to the applicant.
Lisa and her kids can spend more time in the basement, without fear of a hidden danger.
"Having a system like this, through a grant program, really gives me peace of mind that we are going to have less risk for cancer," Lisa said.
The Department of Health hopes that additional funding can be secured, possibly through foundational support, to continue the grant program next year.
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