Water Quality by City | Drinking Water Quality Reports – Page 15 – Hydroviv

Water Quality Reports


Problems We Found With Philadelphia Drinking Water


Kezia Snipe | Research Analyst   

***Updated to include 2019 water quality data***

Our Water Nerds have updated our assessment of Philadelphia drinking water to include the most recent available data. We used data from the Philadelphia Water Department 2018 water quality report, 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 scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that Hydroviv builds for Philadelphia residents are optimized with these numbers in mind.

Source Of Philadelphia Drinking Water

Philadelphia’s drinking water comes from the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers. Each river contributes one-half of the City’s overall supply and approximately 250 million gallons of drinking water on a daily basis. Rivers are surface water supplies. Philadelphia does not use groundwater.

Lead In Philadelphia Drinking Water

Philadelphia has over 50,000 homes with lead service pipes, but EPA only requires the city to test 50 of them. Unlike contaminants like chromium 6 or arsenic, lead leaches into drinking water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. Because Philadelphia is an old city with lots of lead service pipes and internal plumbing, Philadelphia homes are even more susceptible to lead contamination. Currently, 10% of Philadelphia's water quality samples collected for lead analysis are 2 parts per billion or higher, but the city has been criticized because they oversample homes with low risk of lead contamination, skewing the data. For this reason, we recommend that all older homes in Philadelphia filter their water using a filter that is rated for lead. 

Chromium 6 Contamination In Philadelphia Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is an extremely toxic metal that is not currently regulated by the EPA. In recent years, Philadelphia tap water has averaged 388 parts per trillion for Chromium 6. For the sake of perspective, these levels are 20 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk.  

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Philadelphia 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 acknowledged that they are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems.


Like most other cities in the U.S., Philadelphia injects its water with chlorine to protect against waterborne illness. While not typically considered to be harmful on its own, many people find that removing chlorine from drinking water greatly improves taste and odor.  

Still Have Questions?

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 Philadelphia tap water, but all of our water filters provide broad protection against other contaminants commonly found in drinking water (e.g. VOCs, lead, solvents, pesticides, mercury).

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Philadelphia tap water quality, 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.

Recommended For You:

How Do I Filter Chromium 6 From Drinking Water?
How Do I Tell If My Older Philadelphia Home Has Lead Pipes/Plumbing?
What Should I Know About TDS Meters & Water Testers?