Problems We Found In El Paso's Drinking Water – Hydroviv

Problems We Found In El Paso's Drinking Water

Problems We Found In El Paso's Drinking Water

Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst

For Hydroviv’s assessment of El Paso’s tap water, we aggregated water quality test data from El Paso Water Utility, the water provider for El Paso, 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 we build for people in El Paso are optimized with this research in mind.

Source Of El Paso Drinking Water

The water El Paso supplies to our residents comes from three sources—one surface water source and two groundwater sources. The surface water source is the Rio Grande River. The groundwater sources are the Mesilla Bolson and Hueco Bolson aquifers. Although some customers receive water from only one source, most customers receive water from two sources, depending on the time of year.

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. 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."
The most recent tap water quality report for El Paso reported an average arsenic concentration of 4.9 parts per billion, with a maximum measured level of 10.9 parts per billion.We highly recommend that anyone with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their water, especially if they have children.  

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, 10% of samples analyzed for lead in El Paso are over 1 part per billion.  While El Paso 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.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any taps used to serve children have lead levels no higher than 1 part per billion.

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, but our filters 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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  • Kezia Snipe