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Problems We Found With Denver's Drinking Water

Problems We Found With Denver's Drinking Water

Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor   

For our assessment of Denver's tap water quality, we aggregated water quality test data from Denver Water and 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 Denver are optimized with these issues in mind.

Source Of Denver Drinking Water

Denver's drinking and tap water is surface water-sourced, and originates from 4,000 square miles on both sides of the Continental Divide. Water sources include the South Platte River, its tributaries, streams feeding into Dillon Reservoir, and creeks and canals above the Fraser River. Five reservoirs in the mountains are used to store Denver's drinking water; water may be stored at Antero, Eleven Mile Canyon, Cheesman, Dillon, or Gross Reservoirs. Water is then transported to one of three treatment plants, the Moffat Treatment Plant, Marston Treatment Plant, or Foothills Treatment Plant, before being delivered to Denver customers.

Lead In Denver Drinking Water

Lead enters into Denver consumer's tap water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as recently occurred in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water and can reach toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in Denver's tap water found an average of 10 parts per billion, with 13 of the 356 samples exceeding the action level of 15 ppb in autumn of 2016. 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 Denver Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. Denver's tap water quality recently averaged 60 parts per trillion for chromium 6, with upper monitored levels of 250 ppt. These levels are 3 and 12.5 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Denver Drinking Water

DBPs are a category of emerging contaminants formed when chlorine-based disinfectants, which are routinely added to the water supply to protect it, combine with naturally-occurring organic matter. Although these chemicals are not fully regulated, the EPA has explicitly stated that they are linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. Denver’s tap water has recently had moderately low levels of DBPs, with a recent average of 44 parts per billion.

Use Of Chloramine In Denver Tap Water

While most cities use chlorine as their primary disinfectant, Denver's water is disinfected with chloramine, produced by mixing chlorine and ammonia.  Chloramine is primarily responsible for what customers report as the “bad taste” of tap water, and unlike chlorine this taste will not fade if 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 Denver's water quality use special filtration media that is purpose-built to remove chloramine as well.


Still Have Questions About Denver’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 Denver tap water, but all of our home water filtration systems 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 Denver 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.

Please Share This Denver Drinking Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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Problems We Found In Colorado Springs Drinking Water

Problems We Found In Colorado Springs Drinking Water

Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst

For our assessment of Colorado Springs' tap water, we aggregated water quality test data from Colorado Springs Utilities, the water provider for the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze.  We cross referenced these data with toxicity studies in the scientific literature and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we sell in Colorado Springs are optimized with this data in mind.

Source Of Colorado Springs Drinking Water

With no major water source nearby, much of Colorado Springs Utilities raw water collection system originates from nearly 200 miles away, near Aspen, Leadville, and Breckenridge. Almost 75 percent of Colorado Springs' water originates from mountain streams. Water from these streams is collected and stored in numerous reservoirs along the Continental Divide. Collection systems in this area consist of the Homestake, Fryingpan-Arkansas, Twin Lakes, and Blue River systems. The majority of this raw water is transferred to the city through pipelines that help protect it from contamination, such as herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals. After the long journey, water is stored locally at Rampart Reservoir and the Catamount reservoirs on Pikes Peak. To supplement the water received from the mountain sources, Colorado Springs Utilities is able to divert water from local surface water collection systems including North and South Slopes of Pikes Peak, North and South Cheyenne Creeks, Fountain Creek, Monument Creek – Pikeview Reservoir and Northfield Watershed. Water is also pumped from wells drilled into two different aquifers. There are two wells on the Denver aquifer and two wells on the Arapahoe aquifer. Fountain Valley Authority or FVA (PWSID#CO0121300) receives water from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project – a system of pipes and tunnels that collects water in the Hunter- Fryingpan Wilderness Area near Aspen. Waters collected from this system are diverted to the Arkansas River, near Buena Vista, and then flow about 150 miles downstream to Pueblo Reservoir. From there, the water travels through a pipeline to a water treatment plant before being delivered to Colorado Springs.

Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) In Colorado Springs Drinking Water

PFC's (or more specifically PFASs) are classes of chemicals found in engine degreasers and firefighting foams.  PFCs/PFAS are considered to be "emerging contaminants" becasue they are not currently regulated by EPA, but are known to be toxic and persistent in the environment.  In some wells around Colorado Springs, PFAS levels are more than 20x higher than advisory levels.  

Lead In Colorado Springs Drinking Water

Lead enters Colorado Springs consumer's tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as what happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water and can reach toxic levels. Recent water quality analysis for lead in Colorado Springs found a 90th percentile concentration of less than 3 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 The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any taps used to serve children have lead levels no higher than 1 part per billion.

Extremely High Chromium 6 Levels In Colorado Springs Drinking Water

What is Chromium-6? Chromium-6 is a highly toxic metal that, while monitored, is not regulated by the EPA. Unfortunately, Colorado Springs's water quality has one of the higher Chromium 6 levels among major cities in the US. Colorado Springs’ tap water recently averaged 2000 parts per trillion for chromium 6. These levels are 100 times HIGHER than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Colorado Springs 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. 

Still Have Questions About Colorado Spring’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 Colorado Springs tap water, but all of our home water filtration systems provide broad protection against other contaminants commonly found in drinking water.

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Colorado Springs 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.  We pride ourselves in being a reputable source of information on water quality, and your questions will be answered by scientists, not salespeople (we don't have any salespeople).

Please Share This Colorado Springs Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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