What You Need To Know About Cincinnati Drinking Water


Emma Schultz M.S. | Scientific Contributor 
Updated May 21, 2021 to include current water quality data

For our assessment of Cincinnati's water quality, our team of Water Nerds collected data from the Greater Cincinnati Water WorksU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze. We then cross reference these data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we sell in Cincinnati are optimized with these issues in mind.

Source Of Cincinnati Drinking Water

Cincinnati’s tap water comes from both surface and groundwater sources. Surface water from the Ohio River is treated at the Miller Treatment Plant, located in eastern Hamilton County. This water accounts for the majority of the city’s tap water. Groundwater comes from one of 13 wells drawing from the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, and is treated at the Bolton Treatment Plant in southern Bolton County. Cincinnati water coming from the aquifer has been designated as highly susceptible to contamination because there is no over-topping layer (typically clay) to protect the resource.

Lead In Cincinnati Drinking Water

Lead enters into tap water through old lead service pipes and lead plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as the recent catastrophe in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into drinking water, and can reach toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in Cincinnati water found 90th percentile concentrations of lead to be 6 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum sampled concentration of lead was a disquieting 40.4 ppb. Of the 110 sites sampled, 5 sites exceeded the Action Level of 15 ppb. While Cincinnati's water quality is in compliance with all federal regulations and no further actions are required (because no more than 10% of samples exceed the Action Level), the EPACDC and American Academy of Pediatrics have acknowledged that there is no such thing as safe levels of lead. In addition, federal regulations can of course not account for levels measured at an individual tap.

Chromium 6 In Cincinnati Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a very toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. Cincinnati’s tap water quality has recently averaged 117 parts per trillion for chromium 6. These levels are nearly 6 times higher than the minimum concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Cincinnati Drinking Water

DBPs are emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants are added to the water supply, and then combine with naturally-occurring organic matter. These chemicals are not regulated thoroughly, although the EPA has stated that they are linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. EPA regulates two categories of DBPs: haloacetic acids 5 and total trihalomethanes. According to this year's report, the concentration of total trihalomethanes in Cincinnati tap water was as high as 69.3 parts per billion, which is just below the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 80 parts per billion.

Use Of Chlorine In Cincinnati Tap Water

As with many cities in the United States, Cincinnati adds chlorine to its drinking water to protect consumers against waterborne illness. While chlorine is not considered noxious, people often find that removing it from their drinking water greatly improves the overall taste and odor. When you choose to filter your tap water, we believe that you will notice an immediate improvement in taste.

Still Have Questions About Cincinnati Tap Water?

Hydroviv is a water filtration company that uses water quality data to optimize water filters for each city’s water. The chemicals that we list above are what we consider to be “points of emphasis” so we can build the best water filter for Cincinnati tap water, but all of our water filters provide broad protection against other contaminants commonly found in drinking water (e.g. VOCs, lead, solvents, pesticides, mercury).

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