Problems We Found With St. Paul Drinking Water

Emma Schultz M.S.  |  Scientific Contributor 

For our assessment of the City of St. Paul's tap and drinking water, we aggregated water quality test data from the Saint Paul Regional Water Services, the water provider for St. Paul, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze. We cross reference our Saint Paul water data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we sell in St. Paul are optimized with these issues in mind.

Source Of St. Paul's Drinking Water

The city of St. Paul's water comes from both surface and groundwater sources. Much of the water comes from the Mississippi River, but prior to treatment is run through a chain of lakes in the suburbs north of downtown St. Paul. Additional water as needed comes from 10 wells that pump from the deep Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer.

Lead In St. Paul Drinking Water

Lead enters the city of St. Paul's water through aged lead service pipes and through lead plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail, such as recently seen in Flint, Michigan, lead leaches into the drinking water, and reaches toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in St. Paul found 90% of sampled concentrations below 9.8 parts per billion. In addition, 3 of the 50 sites sampled exceeded the set Action Level of 15 ppb. The city of St. Paul's water quality is technically in compliance with federal regulations with no further actions required (since no more than 10% of samples exceeded the Action Level). However, both the EPA and CDC have recognized that there is no such thing as safe levels of lead. In addition, federal regulations can of course not account for levels measured at an individual’s tap.

Chromium 6 In St. Paul Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. St. Paul’s tap water has recently averaged 170 parts per trillion for chromium 6. Despite the lack of regulation, these levels are over 8 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In St. Paul Drinking Water

DBPs are emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants, added to the water supply to keep it ‘safe,’ then combine with naturally-occurring organic matter. These chemicals, while not regulated thoroughly, have been linked by the EPA to an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. St. Paul’s tap water has recently had moderate levels of DBPs, with a 2016 average of 89 parts per billion (more of which comes from trihalomethanes than from haloacetic acids).

Use Of Chloramine In St. Paul Tap Water

The City of St. Paul adds chloramine to its drinking water to protect consumers against waterborne illness. Free chlorine is in contact with the water for a period of time; then ammonia is added to react with the chlorine. This combined chlorine/ammonia compound is called chloramine. Chloramine is more stable than free chlorine, and allows for disinfectant to remain in the water throughout the water distribution system. Chloramine is also less likely to form unwanted disinfection by-products. While chloramine is not considered detrimental to health, people often find that removing it from their drinking water greatly improves the overall taste and odor. However, not all filters that remove chlorine are able to also remove chloramine. Hydroviv is able to specifically formulate filters to remove chloramine from drinking water.

Still Have Questions About St. Paul 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 St. Paul's 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 St. Paul's tap water, feel free to visit, reach out by email ( or through our live chat. We also frequently post water-related news on Twitter or Facebook.

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