Phoenix Water Quality Issues | Phoenix Tap Water Quality – Hydroviv

Problems We Found In Phoenix, Arizona's Drinking Water


Ernesto Esquivel | Water Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Phoenix drinking water quality issues, we aggregated water quality test data provided by the City of Phoenix, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and supplemental health information. We cross referenced the city’s water quality test data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature. The water filters that we sell at Hydroviv are optimized to filter out contaminants that are found in Phoenix drinking water.

Source Water and Water Treatment in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix sources its drinking water from the Salt, Verde, Colorado, and Agua Fria rivers, as well as 20 groundwater wells. The city of Phoenix treats and distributes drinking water to over 1.5 million residents on a daily basis. When the city treats water for distribution, 4 major processes take place: The first process involves pumping water through a screen in order to remove large debris, such as leaves and dirt, from incoming water. Next, a coagulate called ferric chloride is added to the filtered water which binds particles together and sinks them to the bottom of the tank, leaving the cleaner water on the upper layer. The clumps of particles are removed and water from the upper layer is filtered again. Water is then disinfected with chlorine to kill off any bacteria and prevent microbial growth.

Lead In Phoenix Drinking Water

Lead enters tap water through lead service pipes and lead containing plumbing. Currently, 10% of the samples analyzed by the City of Phoenix had lead concentrations over 5 parts per billion. While Phoenix's water problems are technically in compliance with loose federal regulations, these levels are still of concern. If you were to ask toxicologists, pediatricians, or the Center for Disease Control, they would all tell you that there is no safe minimum level of lead. Lead is a neurotoxin that can have serious developmental effects on children, especially between the ages of 0-5.

Arsenic In Phoenix Drinking Water

Arsenic is a toxic metal that is known to cause cancer and a long list of health problems in humans. For example, arsenic can cause a number of different cancers (e.g. skin, bladder, lung, liver, prostate), as well as create non-cancerous problems with cardiovascular (heart/blood vessels), pulmonary (lungs), immune, neurological (brain), and endocrine (e.g. diabetes) systems. The concentration of Arsenic detected in Phoenix water was 8 parts per billion which is barely in compliance with the loose EPA standard of 10 parts per billion. Hydroviv recommends taking necessary steps to remove Arsenic from your water if levels exceed 1 part per billion. Additionally, private well users are more at risk of Arsenic exposure because this heavy metal naturally leaches from bedrock.

Chromium 6 In Phoenix Drinking Water

Another contaminant found in Phoenix drinking water is Chromium 6. Chromium 6 concentrations are not required to be included in water quality reports, but municipalities are required to notify the EPA if it's detected. In a 2015 Phoenix tap water quality report, the city detected concentrations of Chromium 6 as high as 0.35 parts per billion in the city’s surface water, which supplies 98% of drinking water for Phoenix. For a bit of perspective, the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk is 0.02 parts per billion, as reported by the California Health Advisory.

Disinfection Byproducts In Phoenix Drinking Water

Chlorine based chemicals used to disinfect drinking water can often create unintended contaminants. These contaminants are called disinfection byproducts, or DBPs. They are formed when surface water enters the treatment plant, carrying non-organic matter such as leaves and twigs. This water is then treated with either chlorine or chloramine, and DBPs are formed in the process. There are two main classifications of DBPs: trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Currently, the maximum contaminant level, or MCL, for trihalomethanes is 80 parts per billion and 60 parts per billion for haloacetic acids. The Phoenix report found concentrations of trihalomethanes ranging from 18-87 parts per billion and concentrations ranging from 6 to 32 parts per billion for haloacetic acids.

It’s important to note that only a handful of contaminants are required to be included in annual Consumer Confidence Reports, and that there are hundreds of potentially harmful unregulated contaminants that aren’t accounted for. If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Phoenix tap water quality, feel free to visit to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
Lead Contamination In Drinking Water 
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Disinfection Byproducts In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know

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