Problems We Found In El Paso's Drinking Water


Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Hydroviv Research Analyst
**Updated May 17, 2021 to include current available data

Our Water Nerds use data from El Paso Water Utility, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as in-house data to determine problems with El Paso drinking water. We then cross reference these data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature. The custom water filters we build for our customers in El Paso are optimized with this research in mind.

Source Of El Paso Drinking Water

El Paso sources its drinking water from both surface and groundwater sources. The surface water supply comes from the Rio Grande River and the groundwater supply is from the Mesilla Bolson and Hueco Bolson aquifers. Depending on the time of year and water usage, most El Paso customers use water from both of these sources.

High Levels Of Arsenic In El Paso Drinking Water

Arsenic is a toxic 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. According to the most recent report, the average concentration of arsenic in drinking water was 6.6 parts per billion. However, the highest level of arsenic detected was 21 parts per billion. Due to the high El Paso's most recent water quality report uses the following disclosure language:

"While your drinking water meets EPA’s standard for arsenic, it does contain low
levels of arsenic. EPA’s standard balances the current understanding of arsenic’s possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is an element known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems."

Lead In El Paso Drinking Water

Lead enters 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, the 90% percentile for lead in El Paso drinking water is 1.1 parts per billion. While El Paso is currently in compliance with federal regulations, EPACDC  and the American Academy of Pediatrics all acknowledge that there is no safe level of lead for children.

Extremely High Levels Of Chromium 6 In El Paso Drinking Water

El Paso's drinking water has some of the highest levels of chromium 6 among major US city. Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. In recent years, El Paso tap water has averaged 2400 parts per trillion for Chromium 6. For the sake of perspective, these levels are a staggering 120 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In El Paso Drinking Water

DBPs are a category of emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants react with naturally-occurring organic matter. Although these chemicals are not currently regulated very well, the EPA has admitted that they are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems.

Still Have Questions About El Paso Tap 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 El Paso. With our El Paso drinking water quality report, we've created filters to provide broad protection against a wide range of contaminants.

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for El Paso 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 on Twitter 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).

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