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Problems We Found With Chesapeake Drinking Water

Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor   

For our Chesapeake water quality report, we aggregated water quality test data from the City of Chesapeake Department of Public Utilities, 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 Chesapeake are optimized with these issues in mind.

Source Of Chesapeake Drinking Water

The city of Chesapeake’s drinking water is of mixed-source origin and comes from several locations. Chesapeake’s Northwest River Water Treatment Plant treats surface water from the Northwest River, as well as brackish groundwater from four wells. The Lake Gaston Water Treatment Plant treats raw water purchased from the city of Norfolk, and plans to treat surface water from Lake Gaston in the future. Treated water is purchased for some portions of Chesapeake from Norfolk and Portsmouth. Additional groundwater comes from the Western Branch wells, including Wells #1 and #3, and the Aquifer Storage and Recovery Well. Lastly, the private company Aqua Virginia, Inc. serves approximately 523 customers in the Norfolk Highlands neighborhood of Chesapeake.

Lead In Chesapeake Drinking Water

Lead enters into the city of Chesapeake's tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as seen in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into drinking water and can reach hazardous levels. Recent analysis for lead in Chesapeake's water found 90th percentile concentrations of 2 parts per billion for water purchased from Portsmouth, with levels as high as 14.6 ppb detected. While water treated at Chesapeake’s treatment plants had 90th percentile concentrations at undetectable levels, levels ranged as high as 15.2 ppb. These are not violations, since the 90th percentile concentrations are the levels used to compare with the EPA standard (with an Action Level of 15 ppb), but both the EPA and CDC recognize that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead. In addition, federal regulations cannot take into account levels measured at an individual tap.

Chromium 6 In Chesapeake Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that, while monitored, is not regulated by the EPA. Chesapeake tap water quality from the two water treatment plants recently topped out at 90 parts per trillion for chromium 6; values ranged as high as 60 ppt for South Norfolk, and 380 ppt for those in the Western Branch area. These levels are 4.5, 3, and 19 times higher, respectively, than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Chesapeake Drinking Water

DBPs are a category of emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants react with naturally-occurring organic matter.  While these chemicals are not well regulated, the EPA has stated they have an association with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. DBPs in Chesapeake’s tap water had highest locational running annual averages of 62 ppb for their treatment plants (with upper detected levels of 84 ppb), 108 ppb for Norfolk water (upper detected levels of 150 ppb), and 83 ppb for Portsmouth water (upper detected levels of 121 ppb). While not a violation, Norfolk water samples ranged as high as the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 80 ppb for Total Trihalomethanes, and higher than the MCL of 60 ppb for Haloacetic Acids.

Use Of Chloramine In Chesapeake Tap Water

While most cities use chlorine as their primary disinfectant, the city of Chesapeake's water (from all sources) 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 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 filters that Hydroviv builds for Chesapeake use special filtration media that is purpose-built to remove chloramine as well.

In 2016, the running annual average for chloramines was 3.24 ppm for water from the two treatment plants, and the upper detected range was 4.26 ppm, which is over the Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level of 4.0 ppm. For Norfolk water, the running annual average was 2.79 ppm (upper range of 4.4 ppm), and for Portsmouth water, the running annual average was 2.08 ppm (upper range of 4.0 ppm). It is important to note that while these upper ranges are above the MRDL, this is not a violation, as it is the running annual average values that are compared to the MRDL.


Still Have Questions About Chesapeake’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 Chesapeake 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 Chesapeake 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 City of Chesapeake Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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Problems We Found In Norfolk, Virginia Drinking Water

Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor   
Updated August 5, 2019 to include current data

For our assessment of Norfolk's tap water quality, our Water Nerds aggregated the most recent water quality test data from the City of Norfolk Department of Utilities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze. Our team cross references these data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we sell in Norfolk are optimized with these data in mind. 

Source Of Norfolk Drinking Water

Norfolk’s drinking and tap water is a mixture of surface and groundwater. Water comes from eight reservoirs, with two in Norfolk proper, three in Virginia Beach, two in Suffolk, and one in Isle of Wight. Water also comes from the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers, and four deep wells in Isle of Wight County. The City of Norfolk Department of Utilities operates two water treatment plants, the 37th Street Treatment Plant and the Moores Bridges Treatment Plant, where water is treated and filtered before being delivered to customers.

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) In Norfolk Drinking Water

PFAS are a class of chemicals found various non-stick, stain resistent products, as well as fire fighting foam. PFAS are considered to be "emerging contaminants" because they are not currently regulated by EPA, but are known to be toxic and persistent in the environment. PFAS have historically been an ingredient in fire fighting foam, which is why they're often found on or near military bases. Norfolk detected PFAS levels between 73-3,373 parts per trillion, which are upwards of 169 times higher than advisory levels. Hydroviv undersink filters remove PFAS. If you'd like to check out third-party data on our removal rates, send us an email at hello@hydroviv.com

Lead In Norfolk Drinking Water

Lead enters Norfolk consumer's tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as what recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into drinking water and can reach toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in Norfolk's water found a 90th percentile concentration of less than 2.5 ppb. While the Action Level is 15 ppb, the EPACDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recognize that there is no safe level of lead for children. In addition, federal regulations cannot possibly take into account levels measured at an individual tap.

Chromium 6 In Norfolk Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that, while monitored, is not regulated by the EPA. Norfolk’s tap water recently averaged 46 parts per trillion for chromium 6. Average levels are 2 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Norfolk 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. EPA regulates two categories of DBPs: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5). The average concentration of TTHMs in Norfolk drinking water are 45 parts per billion. The average concentration of HAA5 in Norfolk drinking water is 30 parts per billion. For a bit of context, the Maximum Contaminant Level for TTHMs is 80 parts per billion, and 60 parts per billion for HAA5.

Use Of Chloramine In Norfolk Tap Water

While most cities use chlorine as the primary disinfectant, Norfolk’s water is disinfected with chloramine, which is produced by mixing chlorine and ammonia.  Chloramine is primarily responsible for what many customers report as the “bad taste”of tap water, and unlike chlorine will 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 do a great job removing chloramine, but the filters that Hydroviv builds for Norfolk uses special filtration media that is purpose-built to remove chloramine as well.


Still Have Questions About Norfolk’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 Norfolk 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 Norfolk 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 Norfolk Tap Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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Problems We Found In Hampton, Virginia Drinking Water

Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst
Updated August 5, 2019 to include current data

Our team has updated our assessment of Hampton drinking water to include the most current available data. To do this, we've aggregated water quality test data from Newport News Waterworks Departmentthe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as samples that we collect and analyze. We cross reference these data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we offer at Hydroviv are optimized to remove contaminants in Hampton, Virginia drinking water.  

Source Of Hampton Drinking Water

Hampton supplies its drinking water from both surface and groundwater sources. The surface supply comes from the Chickahominy River. Supplementary groundwater is supplied from wells in the Lee Hall area. Waterworks owns and operates five reservoirs that store and supply water to the treatment plants. The two source waters are treated separately, then blended together before being distributed to Hampton residents. 

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) In Hampton Drinking Water

PFAS are a class of chemicals found in various non-stick and stain resistant products, as well as fire fighting foam. PFAS are considered to be "emerging contaminants" because they are not currently regulated by EPA, but are known to be both toxic and persistent in the environment. PFAS have historically been an ingredient in fire fighting foam, which is why they're often found on or near military bases. The Langley Air force Base Hampton detected PFAS levels between 26,000-220,000 parts per trillion, which are upwards of 11,000 times higher than advisory levels. Hydroviv undersink filters remove PFAS. If you'd like to check out third-party data on our removal rates, send us an email at hello@hydroviv.com

Lead In Hampton 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 happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach dangerous levels. Currently, the 90th percentile for lead in Hampton drinking water is around 1 part per billion. Though the city of Hampton's water quality is well within in compliance with federal regulations, the EPACDC and The American Academy of Pediatrics all acknowledged that there is no safe level of lead for children. Additionally, if your home was built before 1986, you most likely have internal lead pipes and plumbing. 

Chromium 6 In Hampton Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is an extremely toxic metal that is not currently regulated by the EPA. In recent years, Hampton tap water averaged 90 parts per trillion. For the sake of perspective, these levels are nearly 5 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Hampton 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 Hampton Drinking 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 Hampton, but all of our our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of contaminants (including lead).

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Hampton tap water, or just have questions about water quality in general, 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 City of Hampton Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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Problems We Found With Virginia Beach's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak, M.A. | Hydroviv Research Analyst
Updated July 19, 2019 to include current data

Our team of Water Nerds has updated our report of Virginia Beach to include the most recent available data. We aggregated information from the City of Virginia Beach Public Utilities, 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 literature and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we build for our customers in Virginia Beach are optimized with these data in mind.

Source Of Virginia Beach Drinking Water

Virginia Beach gets its drinking water from Lake Gaston. The water is delivered from Lake Gaston to Lake Prince, where it's then treated and distributed by the city. Lake Gaston provides an average of 34 million gallons per day (MGD) of water to Virginia Beach citizens.

Lead In Virginia Beach Drinking Water

Lead enters the city of Virginia Beach's 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. According to the most recent data, the 90th percentile concentration in Virginia Beach is 0 parts per billion. That said, the previous years 90th percentile concentration was 7 parts per billion, which is just under the 15 part per billion Action Level. That being said, EPA, CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics all recognize that there is no safe level of lead for children. 

Chromium 6 In Virginia Beach Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that, while monitored, is not regulated by the EPA. Virginia Beach’s tap water quality recently averaged 71 parts per trillion for chromium 6. For a bit of perspective, Virginia Beach drinking water is 3.5 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach’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 Virginia Beach tap water, but all of our water filters 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 Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach Water Quality Report On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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