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Problems We Found In Chicago's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Chicago’s drinking water issues, we aggregated water quality test data provided by the City of Chicago, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and supplemental health information. We cross referenced the city’s water quality test data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature. The water filters that we sell at Hydroviv are optimized to filter out contaminants that are found in Chicago’s drinking water.

Where Does Chicago Source Its Drinking Water?

Chicago sources its drinking water from Lake Michigan and is treated at two water treatment facilities. The Jardine Water Purification Plant services the northern area of the city and suburbs, and the South Water Purification Plant serves the southern parts of the city and suburbs. Lake Michigan has had a long history of pollution, including a recent lawsuit involving Chromium 6 releases from an abutting steel facility.  

Chromium 6 In Chicago’s Drinking Water

Chicago’s drinking water has some of the highest levels of Chromium 6 among major cities in the U.S. Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. In recent years, Chicago’s tap water has averaged 190 parts per trillion for Chromium 6. This is 9.5 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk, as reported by the California Environmental Protection Agency. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. The state of California set their own health advisory level because Chromium 6 is not regulated by the federal government. EPA has acknowledged that Chromium 6 is a known human carcinogen through inhalation, but is still determining its cancer potential through ingestion of drinking water. Lung, nasal and sinus cancers are associated with Chromium 6 exposure. Acute respiratory disease, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological, hepatic, renal, and neurological distress are health effects associated with high levels of Chromium 6 exposure.

Lead In Chicago’s Drinking Water

In recent years, the City of Chicago's water has had serious problems with lead contamination. 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. Houses built before 1986 were most likely built with lead service lines, plumbing, and fixtures. Currently, 10% of the samples analyzed by the City of Chicago had lead concentrations over 9.1 parts per billion (ppb). While Chicago is technically in compliance with loose federal regulations, these levels are currently some of the highest in the country. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control, and American Academy of Pediatrics all recognize that there is no safe level of lead for children between the ages of 0-5. Lead exposure can cause developmental issues, lowered IQ, and damages to the kidneys and brain. Any threshold of lead concentration is not safe for infants and young children.

Disinfection Byproducts In Chicago’s Drinking Water

Disinfection Byproducts are a category of emerging contaminants which means they have been detected in drinking water but the risk to human health is still unknown. DBPs are formed when chlorine-based disinfectants are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria. DBPs are split into two categories: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). Regulatory agencies have very little knowledge about the adverse health effects of DBPs, and their toxicity. EPA has stated that they have been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. 

Chlorine Makes Chicago Tap Water Taste Bad

Like most other municipalities in the U.S., Chicago 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 enhances its taste and odor.   

It’s important to note that only a handful of contaminants are required to be included in annual Consumer Confidence Reports, and that there are hundreds of potentially harmful unregulated contaminants that aren’t accounted for. If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for the city of Chicago’s tap water problems, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at hello@hydroviv.com.

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
Lead Contamination In Drinking Water 
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Disinfection Byproducts In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know

Problems We Found In Houston's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd 

For Hydroviv’s 2018 water quality assessment of Houston, Texas, we collected water quality test data from the city’s website and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We cross referenced Houston’s water quality data with toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature. The water filters that we sell at Hydroviv are optimized to filter out contaminants that are found in Houston’s drinking water.

Where Does Houston Source Its Drinking Water?

The City of Houston has 6 different treatment plants that make up its network of public water systems. The largest of these systems treats and distributes 446 million gallons of water to 2.3 million customers everyday. 88% of the water treated at the main system is surface water from the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers. The remaining 12% is from 104 groundwater wells that draw water from the Evangeline and Chicot aquifers. The 5 remaining treatment systems draw water from the same aquifers in addition to purchased water from the city of Humble.

Chromium 6 In Houston’s Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. In recent years, Houston has had a major problem with this dangerous contaminant. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. This years Houston drinking water quality report detected levels of Chromium 6 as high as 6.7 parts per billion, and averaged concentrations of 0.7 parts per billion. These concentrations are up to 335 times higher than the concentration determine to have a negligible impact on cancer risk. EPA has acknowledged that Chromium 6 is a known human carcinogen through inhalation, but is still determining its cancer potential through ingestion of drinking water. Lung, nasal and sinus cancers are associated with Chromium 6 exposure. Ingestion of extremely high doses of chromium 6 compounds can cause acute respiratory disease, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological, hepatic, renal, and neurological distress which may result in death.

Arsenic In Houston's Drinking Water 

Arsenic is a heavy metal that typically leaches into groundwater as surrounding bedrock naturally weathers overtime. The concentrations of Arsenic in Houston’s tap water were detected as high as 5.7 parts per billion, and averaged 1.9 parts per billion. The federal Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic in drinking water is 10 parts per billion, but regulatory agencies acknowledge that this level should be reduced to 1 or even 0 parts per billion. Arsenic is a toxic substance that is linked to a long list of health problems in humans. For example, arsenic can cause a number of different cancers (e.g. skin, bladder, lung, liver, prostate), as well as create non-cancerous problems with cardiovascular (heart/blood vessels), pulmonary (lungs), immune, neurological (brain), and endocrine (e.g. diabetes) systems. Hydroviv recommends purchasing a filter that is optimized to remove Arsenic from your drinking water, especially if you’re serviced by a private well. 

It’s important to note that only a handful of contaminants are required to be included in annual Consumer Confidence Reports, and that there are hundreds of potentially harmful unregulated contaminants that aren’t accounted for. If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Houston’s tap and drinking water quality, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at hello@hydroviv.com.


Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Arsenic In Drinking Water

Problems We Found With St. Petersburg's Drinking Water

Emma Schultz, M.S. | Scientific Contributor   

For our assessment of St. Petersburg tap water quality, we aggregated water quality test data from the Water Resources Department of the city of St. Petersburg 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 sell in St. Petersburg are optimized with these issues in mind.

Source Of St. Petersburg Drinking Water

The City of St. Petersburg's tap water is supplied by Tampa Bay Water, a regional water utility with six members, of which the city of St. Petersburg is one. The water that consumers receive comes from a mixture of groundwater, surface water, and desalinated water. The majority of groundwater originates from eleven well fields pumping from the Floridan aquifer. Surface-based water originates in the Alafia River, the Hillsborough River, the C. W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, and the Tampa Bypass Canal. Desalinated water comes mainly from the Hillsborough Bay and is treated at the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination plant. The city of St. Petersburg maintains the Cosme Water Treatment Plant, located in northwest Hillsborough County.

Lead In St. Petersburg Drinking Water

Lead enters into St. Petersburg consumer's tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail (as recently witnessed in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, reaching toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in St. Petersburg found an average of 2.1 parts per billion, with 1 of the 86 samples exceeding the action level of 15 ppb (at 18 ppb). Both the EPA and CDC recognize that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead. Federal regulations cannot possibly take into account levels measured at an individual tap.

Chromium 6 In St. Petersburg Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. St. Petersburg’s tap water recently averaged 82 parts per trillion for chromium 6. These levels are 4 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Use Of Chloramine In St. Petersburg Tap Water

While most cities use chlorine as the primary disinfectant, St. Petersburg’s water is disinfected with chloramine, which is made by combining chlorine and ammonia. Chloramine is the frequent issue when customers report a “bad taste” in their tap water, and unlike chlorine will not fade away if left in the fridge overnight. The recent chloramine running annual average for St. Petersburg was 3.81 parts per million, with samples ranging as high as 6.6 ppm; the maximum residual disinfectant level, in comparison, is only 4.0 ppm. Most one-size-fits-all water filters use filtration media that don’t adequately remove chloramine, but the filters that Hydroviv builds for St. Petersburg use special filtration media that are purpose-built to remove chloramine as well.


Still Have Questions About St. Petersburg’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 St. Petersburg 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 St. Petersburg 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 St. Petersburg water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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Information On Memphis Tap Water

Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Memphis' water quality, we aggregated water quality test data from Memphis Light, Gas & Water, the city’s water provider and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  We cross reference these data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, and delve into upcoming regulatory changes.  The water filters that we offer at Hydroviv are optimized with these figures in mind.

Source Of Memphis Drinking Water

The tap water Memphis uses for drinking, cooking, recreation and industry comes from the Memphis Aquifer, it is a natural underground reservoir located from 350 to 1,100 feet below ground surface. It is a part of a larger system of aquifers extending to a depth of 2,600 feet. The aquifers are composed of layers of clay, sand and gravel that act as a natural filter to remove many impurities from the water, which is contained within the sands. The wells connected into this system are commonly known as “artesian wells” because they draw the naturally purified water to the surface by releasing the built-up pressure which forces the water up the well like liquid through a straw.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Memphis 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 Memphis 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 Memphis, 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 Memphis 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 Memphis Water Quality Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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Problems We Found in Bellevue's Drinking Water

Kezia Snipe | Hydroviv Research Analyst

For Hydroviv’s Bellevue water quality report, we aggregated water quality test data from City of Bellevue Utilities, 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 scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes.  The water filters that we build for people who live in Bellevue are optimized with these figures in mind.

Source Of Bellevue Drinking Water

The City of Bellevue’s water comes from the Cedar River and the south fork of the Tolt River. The water is purchased through Cascade Water Alliance (Cascade), which purchases its water from Seattle Public Utilities. Cascade also owns Lake Tapps, which can serve as a future source of water if needed.

Lead Levels In Bellevue Drinking Water

Lead enters into a consumer’s tap 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. Recent analysis for lead in city of Bellevue's water quality revealed an average of 4.4 parts per billion. While the regulatory limit is 15 ppb, both the EPA and CDC recognize that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead. Of course, federal regulations cannot take into account levels measured at an individual tap.

Chromium 6 Levels In Bellevue Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA.  In recent years, Bellevue’s tap water has averaged 110 parts per trillion for Chromium 6.  While the city of Bellevue's water quality is in compliance with nonexistent federal and very loose state regulations, these levels more than 5 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Bellevue 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 website discloses that high levels of disinfection byproducts in drinking water are are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. 

Still Have Questions About Bellevue Tap Water Or Water Quality In General?

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 Bellevue, but our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of additional contaminants found in Bellevue's tap water.

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Bellevue, 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 on staff).

Please Share This Bellevue Water Quality Report Article On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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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 (hello@hydroviv.com) or through our live chat.  We also frequently post water-related news on Twitter or Facebook.

Please Share This Winston-Salem Water Report On Social Media With Anyone You Think Would Benefit From The Information!

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