Problems We Found In Omaha's Drinking Water
Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst
For Hydroviv’s assessment of Omaha’s tap and drinking water, we aggregated water quality test data from Metropolitan Utilities District, the water provider for Omaha, 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 we build for people in Omaha are optimized with this research in mind.
Source Of Omaha Drinking Water
Sources of Omaha's tap and drinking water include the Missouri and Platte Rivers and the Dakota sandstone aquifer. These sources are categorized as surface water (Missouri River), groundwater under-the-direct-influence of surface water (Platte River) and groundwater. Water is pumped from intakes and wells maintained by the District.
Arsenic In Omaha 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. Omaha's most recent tap water quality report for Omaha reported an average arsenic concentration of 5.07 parts per billion. These levels are high enough that cities like Omaha place the following boilerplate disclosure in their consumer confidence report.
"While your drinking water meets EPA’s standard for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. EPA’s standard balances the current understanding of arsenic’s possible health effects against the cost of removing arsenic from drinking water. EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known at high concentrations to cause cancer in humans and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems."
We highly recommend that anyone with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their water, especially if they have children.
Lead In Omaha Drinking Water
Lead enters tap 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 Omaha are over 6.4 parts per billion. While Omaha's water quality is currently in compliance with federal regulations, EPA and CDC both acknowledge that there is no safe level of lead, and federal regulations do not 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.
Chromium 6 In Omaha Drinking Water
Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. In recent years, Omaha's tap and drinking water has averaged 610 parts per trillion for Chromium 6, with concentrations reaching up to nearly 2 parts per billion. For the sake of perspective, these levels are 31-100 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk.
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Omaha 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.
Chloramine Is Used In Omaha Tap Water Instead of Chlorine
While most cities use chlorine as their primary disinfectant, Omaha water is disinfected with chloramine (a product of chlorine and ammonia). Chloramine is primarily responsible for what customers often report as the “bad taste”of tap water, and unfortunately does not dissipate if a container of water is left in the fridge overnight. Most one-size-fits-all water filters use filtration media that doesn’t adequately remove chloramine, but the custom water filters that Hydroviv builds for Omaha use special filtration media that are purpose-built to remove chloramine as well.
Still Have Questions About Omaha Tap Water?
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 Omaha, but our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of contaminants.
If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Omaha tap and drinking water, or just have questions about water quality in general, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com, reach out by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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).
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