Problems We Found In Baltimore's Drinking Water


Kezia Snipe  |  Hydroviv Research Analyst

**Updated 2/22/2022 to include the most current Water Quality Data

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Baltimore's tap water, we aggregated water quality test data from City of Baltimore Department of Public Works, the city’s water provider and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze. We cross reference these data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we build for our neighbors in Baltimore (Hydroviv is a DC-based company) are optimized with this research in mind.

Source Of Baltimore's Drinking Water

Baltimore's tap water originates as surface water collected from rainfall and snowmelt as the source of its water. This water, approximately 75-billion gallons of storage volume at maximum capacity, is collected and stored in the City-owned and operated watersheds: Liberty, Loch Raven, and Prettyboy.

Lead In Baltimore Drinking Water

Lead enters Baltimore's tap water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures put in place by the municipality fail (like what recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach dangerous levels. Currently, 10% of samples analyzed for lead in Baltimore are over 3.06 parts per billion. Though Baltimore's water quality is currently in compliance with federal regulations, EPA and CDC both acknowledge that there is no safe level of lead, and federal regulations do not take into account levels measured at an individual tap. Homes built before 1986 are most susceptible to lead contamination. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any taps used to serve children have lead levels no higher than 1 part per billion.

Arsenic Concentrations In Baltimore Drinking Water

Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that is known to cause cancer and other health issues. Unlike lead, which distributes into water from plumbing, arsenic comes from the source water itself. While the average of less than 3 parts per billion is within EPA's regulated threshold, Hydroviv strongly recommends that anyone that lives in an area with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their water, especially families with children.

Chromium 6 In Baltimore Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a hazardous metal not regulated by the EPA in drinking water. Baltimore’s tap water recently averaged 39 parts per trillion for chromium 6. These levels are nearly twice the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Baltimore Drinking Water

DBPs (including Haloacetic Acids-- HAA5s, and Trihalomethanes--TTHMs), are a category of emerging contaminants that are created when chlorine-based disinfectants added to the water supply combine with naturally-occurring organic matter. Although these chemicals are not fully regulated, the EPA has explicitly stated that they are linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. In 2020 the level of trihalomethanes (TTHM) ranged from 32 -122 ppb, exceeding the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 80 ppb. The level of Haloacetic Acids ranged between 7 - 72.5 ppb, which also exceeds the MCL of 60 ppb. 

Radium in Baltimore Drinking Water

Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive metal. Radium in drinking water is of primary concern because exposure through drinking water may cause cancer, kidney damage and birth defects. Radium levels in 2020 were reported to be as high as 1.6 ppb with the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level Goal 5 ppb. 

Still Have Questions About Baltimore Drinking Water?

Hydroviv is a water filtration company that uses water quality data to optimize water filters for each customer's water. The contaminants that we list above are what we consider to be major “points of emphasis” that we use to build water filters that are built specifically for Baltimore, but all of our our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of contaminants (including lead).

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Baltimore tap water, or just have questions about water quality in general, feel free to visit, reach out by email ( or through our live chat. We also frequently post water-related news onTwitter or Facebook. We pride ourselves in being a reputable source of information on water quality, and your questions will be answered by scientists, not salespeople (we don't have any salespeople).

Please Share This City of Baltimore Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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