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Problems We Found In Lubbock's Drinking Water

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Problems We Found In Lubbock's Drinking Water

Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor   

For our Lubbock water quality assessment, we aggregated water quality test data from the City of 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 groundwater- and surface water-sourced. Groundwater comes from the Ogallala Aquifer by way of the Roberts County Well Field (managed by the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, or CRMWA) and Bailey County Well Field, while surface water comes from Lake Alan Henry, which was recently inaugurated in August of 2012, and from Lake Meredith, also managed by CRMWA. These four sources of water travel 65-160 miles to reach Lubbock.

Arsenic In Lubbock Drinking Water

Arsenic is a dangerous heavy metal known to cause cancer, among other health problems. Arsenic originates in source water. While Lubbock's Drinking Water is in compliance with EPA water quality standards, consumers should take note that the EPA's standard balances toxicity against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water; the standard is therefore quite high. Lubbock’s most recent tap water quality report listed average arsenic concentrations ranging from 1.6-4 parts per billion.  We strongly advocate 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 ppb, with an upper range limit of 8.6 ppb. While the Action Level is 15 ppb, both the EPA and CDC recognize that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead. 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 recently averaged 930 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 water filters 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, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com, reach out by email (hello@hydroviv.com) or through our live chat.  We also frequently post water-related news on Twitter or Facebook.

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  • Emma Schultz