Problems We Found With Winston-Salem's Drinking Water
Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor
For our assessment of Winston-Salem’s tap water quality, we aggregated water quality test data from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission, 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 Winston-Salem are optimized with these issues in mind.
Source Of Winston-Salem Drinking Water
Winston-Salem’s drinking water is surface water-based, with water coming from both the Yadkin River and from Salem Lake. Water is treated at one of the three water treatment facilities operated by the City/County Utility Commission.
Lead In Winston-Salem Drinking Water
Lead enters consumer tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (such as recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into drinking water and can reach toxic levels. A recent Winston-Salem water quality analysis for lead in found a 90th percentile concentration of 51 sampled sites of less than 3 parts per billion. 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. And of course, federal regulations cannot take into account levels measured in an individual home’s tap.
Chromium 6 In Winston-Salem Drinking Water
Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that, while monitored, is not regulated by the EPA. Winston-Salem’s tap water quality recently averaged 52 parts per trillion for chromium 6. These average levels are 2.6 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Winston-Salem 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 stated that they are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. DBPs in Winston-Salem’s tap water had a 2016 local running annual average of 78.6 parts per billion. Consumers may be interested to know that levels of Total Trihalomethanes ranged as high as 120.1 ppb, while the EPA’s Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level is only 80 ppb. Although these upper range values are well above the MRDL, this is not an EPA violation, since local running annual averages are used for comparison.
Use Of Chlorine In Winston-Salem Tap Water
Like most cities in the United States, Winston-Salem adds chlorine to its water supply to keep consumers safe from waterborne pathogens. While not considered harmful at low levels, many people find that removing the chlorine from their water supply results in a taste and odor improvement. When you choose to filter your tap water, we believe you will notice an immediate taste enhancement.
Still Have Questions About Winston-Salem’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 Winston-Salem’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 Winston-Salem tap water, 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.
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