Problems We Found In Tucson's Drinking Water
Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst
For Hydroviv’s assessment of tap water in Tucson, AZ, we aggregated water quality test data from Tucson Water, the city’s water provider 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 offer in Tucson are optimized with this research in mind.
Source Of Tucson Drinking Water
The water supply comes from approximately 200 groundwater wells located in and around the Tucson metropolitan area.
High Levels Of Arsenic In Tucson 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. Tucson is in compliance with the EPA’s water quality standards. However, it’s important to point out that EPA’s standard balances the toxicity against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water, which means that regulations are very relaxed. The most recent tap water quality report reported arsenic concentrations up to 7.5 parts per billion for Tucson. Because these levels were detected in Tucson water, the municipality had to make the following disclosure in the Consumer Confidence Report:
"Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance commonly found in groundwater in the southwestern United States. 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 effect of low levels of arsenic which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems."
Hydroviv highly recommends that anyone with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their water, especially if they have children.
Lead In Tucson 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 Tucson are over 1 part per billion. Though 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.
Herbicide Runoff Detected In Tucson Tap Water
Between the years 2011-2016, Tucson's water tested positive for low levels of the herbicides atrazine and simazine.
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Tucson 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 Tucson 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 Tucson, 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 Tucson tap 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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- Kezia Snipe