Problems We Found In Lubbock, Texas Drinking Water
Updated March 12, 2020 to include EWG map
Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor
For our Lubbock water quality assessment, we aggregated water quality test data from the Lubbock Water Department, 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 sell in Lubbock are optimized with these issues in mind.
Source Of Lubbock Drinking Water
Lubbock’s drinking water is a mixture of surface and groundwater. 58% of Lubbock drinking water comes from the Robert County Well Field, 19% from Lake Alan Henry, 13% from Bailey County Well Field, and 10% from Lake Meredith. Water from the Roberts County and Bailey County well fields is supplied from the Ogallala Aquifer. These four sources of water travel 65-160 miles to reach Lubbock.
PFAS In Lubbock Drinking Water
Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances or PFAS are a category of chemicals found in various non-stick/stain resistant products, as well as fire fighting foam. PFAS are considered to be "emerging contaminants" because they are not currently regulated by EPA, but are known to be toxic, carcinogenic, and persistent in the environment. PFAS have been detected in at the former Reese Air Force Base. Most municipalities, including Lubbock, don't test for or remove PFAS from tap water, and most water filters are not designed to remove PFAS.
Arsenic In Lubbock Drinking Water
Arsenic is a dangerous heavy metal known to cause cancer, among other health problems. Unlike lead which accumulates in distribution pipes, Arsenic originates in source water itself. While Lubbock's is in compliance with EPA standards, consumers should take note that the EPA standards for arsenic balances toxicity against the costs of removing it from drinking water. That being said, the standard is much higher than health experts would advise. According to the most recent report, the highest detected arsenic concentration in Lubbock drinking water is 4 parts per billion. We strongly encourage that tap water with more than 1 part per billion be treated to remove arsenic, especially if there are children in the home.
Lead In Lubbock Drinking Water
Lead enters consumer tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water and can reach toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in Lubbock found a 90th percentile concentration of less than 1.5 parts per billion, with an upper range detection of 8.6 parts per billion. While the Action Level is 15 parts per billion, both the EPA and CDC recognize that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead for children. In addition, federal regulations cannot possibly take into account levels measured at an individual tap.
Chromium 6 In Lubbock Drinking Water
Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that, while monitored, is not regulated by the EPA. Lubbock’s tap water quality recently averaged 932 parts per trillion for chromium 6. Average levels are 46 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Lubbock 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 well regulated, the EPA has concluded that they are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. DBPs in Lubbock’s tap water had a 2016 average of 49.4 parts per billion.
Use Of Chloramine In Lubbock Tap Water
While most cities use chlorine as the primary disinfectant, Lubbock's Drinking Water is disinfected with chloramine, which is produced by mixing chlorine and ammonia. Chloramine is primarily responsible for what many customers report as the “bad taste” of tap water, and unlike chlorine this bad taste will not fade if a container of water is left in the fridge overnight. Most one-size-fits-all water filters use filtration media that doesn’t adequately remove chloramine, but the filters that Hydroviv builds for Lubbock uses special filtration media that is purpose-built to remove chloramine as well.
In 2016, while the running annual average for chloramines was 2.9 ppm, the upper detected range was 4.4 ppm, which is over the Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level of 4.0 ppm. It is important to note that this is not a violation.
Still Have Questions About Lubbock’s 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 Lubbock tap water, but all of our home water filtration systems provide broad protection against other contaminants commonly found in drinking water (e.g. VOCs, heavy metals [including lead], pharmaceuticals, solvents, pesticides, mercury).
If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Lubbock tap water quality, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com, reach out by email (email@example.com) or through our live chat. We also frequently post water-related news on Twitter or Facebook.
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- Emma Schultz