Problems We Found In Oklahoma City's Drinking Water


Analies Dyjak  |  Hydroviv Policy Analyst
**Updated June 18, 2021 to include current data 

For Hydroviv’s Oklahoma City water quality report, we aggregated water quality test data from Oklahoma City Utilities Department is required to publish an annual report of the city’s water quality. We cross referenced these data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory standards, to determine major susceptibilities of Oklahoma City drinking water. Hydroviv water filters are built to remove contaminants found in Oklahoma City drinking water.

Source Of Oklahoma City Drinking Water

Oklahoma City water draws water from seven surface water reservoirs from five counties in Oklahoma. These sources include Canton Lake in northwest Oklahoma, McGee Creek, Lake Atoka, and Sardis Lake in southeastern Oklahoma, as well as Lake Overholser, Lake Hefner and Lake Stanley Draper in Oklahoma City.

Chromium 6 Levels In Oklahoma City Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. In recent years, Oklahoma City’s tap water has averaged 141 parts per trillion, with concentrations reaching 391 parts per trillion. These levels are up to 19 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk.

Arsenic In Oklahoma City 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. Arsenic naturally exists in bedrock, and leaches into groundwater as rocks weather overtime. Arsenic exposure can also be exacerbated by human activities, such as mining. Oklahoma City is technically in compliance with the EPA’s loose water quality standards. It's important to point out that EPA’s standard for arsenic balances the toxicity against the costs of removal. The average concentration of arsenic is 2 parts per billion. Hydroviv recommends that anyone with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their water.

Lead Levels In Oklahoma City Tap Water

Lead enters OKC's distribution system as water comes in contact with lead in the distribution lines. Lead can leaches from lead-containing pipes, valves, joints, and fixtures, and homes built before 1986 are particularly susceptible. 2015 was the most recent year when Oklahoma City collected samples for lead analysis, and they found that the 90th percentile was .62 parts per billion or below. For sake of comparison, the American Academy Of Pediatrics is lobbying for policy that fixes taps for children that produce water with more than 1 part per billion lead.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Oklahoma City 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 website discloses that high levels of disinfection byproducts in drinking water are are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. Oklahoma City's disinfection byproduct levels are on the upper end of compliance.

Use Of Chloramine In Oklahoma City Tap Water

While most cities use chlorine as the primary disinfectant, Oklahoma City water is disinfected with chloramine (which is formed by mixing chlorine and ammonia). Chloramine is the primary culprit for what many customers report as the “bad taste”of tap water, and unlike chlorine will not dissipate if left in the fridge overnight. Most one-size-fits-all water filters use filtration media that successfully removing chloramine, but the filters that Hydroviv builds for Oklahoma City use special filtration media that are designed to remove chloramine as well.

Still Have Questions About Oklahoma City Tap Water Or Water Quality In General?

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 Oklahoma City, but our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of additional contaminants found in Oklahoma City's tap water.

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