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Problems We Found In Albuquerque, New Mexico Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak @ Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 3:39 pm -0500

**Updated June 23, 2020 to include current data

Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Hydroviv Research Analyst

Our Water Nerds have updated our assessment of Albuquerque drinking water to include the most current available data. To do this, our team analyzed data from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility CompanyU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as samples that we collect and analyze. We're then able to cross reference these data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature. The custom water filters that we build for our customers in Albuquerque are optimized with this information in mind.

Source Of Albuquerque's Drinking Water

Albuquerque drinking water is a mix of both surface water and groundwater. Approximately 70% of the supply comes from the Colorado River via the San Juan Chama Project. The remainder of the supply is collected from about 90 wells across Albuquerque. This water is then treated at the San Juan – Chama Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

High Levels Of Arsenic In Albuquerque Tap 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. The most recent tap water quality report for Albuquerque reported an average arsenic concentration of 2 parts per billion, with a maximum measured level of 9 parts per billion. This level is just slightly below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 parts per billion. Albuquerque's most recent water quality report uses the following disclosure language:

"While your drinking water meets USEPA’s standard for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. USEPA’s standard balances the current understanding of arsenic’s possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. USEPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a metal known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems."

Chromium 6 In Albuquerque Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a hazardous metal not fully regulated by the EPA. A recent city of Albuquerque water quality report revealed an average of 970 parts per trillion for chromium 6. These substantial levels are nearly 49 times HIGHER than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Lead In Albuquerque Drinking Water

Lead enters Albuquerque's water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures put in place by the municipality fail (like what recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach dangerous levels. Currently, 10% of samples analyzed for lead in Albuquerque's water are over 2 parts per billion. Though the city of Albuquerque's water quality is currently in compliance with federal regulations, EPACDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all acknowledge that there is no safe level of lead, and federal regulations do not take into account levels measured at an individual tap. Hydroviv Undersink filters are NSF/ANSI 53 certified to remove lead from drinking water.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Albuquerque 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 has admitted that they are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems.

Still Have Questions About Albuquerque Drinking Water?

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a category of emerging contaminant. They have been detected in a growing number of municipalities across the United States. Most cities are not required to test for or remove PFAS from drinking water, including Albuquerque. Not all water filters are designed to remove PFAS from tap water. If you'd like to find a water filter that removes PFAS from tap water, check out this Duke/NC State PFAS study. 

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 Albuquerque, but all of our our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of contaminants (including lead).

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