Problems We Found In Baltimore's Drinking Water – Hydroviv

Problems We Found In Baltimore's Drinking Water

Problems We Found In Baltimore's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Baltimore, Maryland’s drinking water, we collected water quality test data from the city’s website and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We cross referenced their 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 Baltimore’s drinking water.

Where Does Baltimore Source Its Drinking Water?

Baltimore sources its drinking water from various city-owned reservoirs including: Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy. Recharge of the surface water accumulates from rainfall and snowmelt that travels through surrounding watersheds.

Lead In Baltimore's Drinking Water 

In recent years, Baltimore has had a problem with lead in drinking water. Lead enters tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing.10% of sites that were tested for lead had concentrations over 5 parts per billion. Additionally, two samples exceeded the federal Action Level of 15 parts per billion. The City of Baltimore didn’t disclose the number of sites that were sampled for lead, so the small sampling group may not be representative of the actual scope of the lead problem in Baltimore. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control, and American Academy of Pediatrics all recognize that there is no safe level of lead for children. Additionally, these measurements may not be a true indication of your tap water if your home has lead plumbing or lead fixtures. Treated water leaving the plant may be in compliance with loose EPA standards, but could become contaminated once it enters older infrastructure. Houses built before 1986 were most likely built with lead plumbing and lead fixtures. Lead exposure can cause developmental issues, lowered IQ, and damages to the kidneys and brain.

Disinfection Byproducts In Baltimore's Drinking Water 

This years water quality report detected very high concentrations of Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) in Baltimore’s drinking water. Concentrations were detected as high as 107 parts per billion, and averaged 69 parts per billion for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs). Haloacetic Acids-5 concentrations were as high as 60 parts per billion and averaged 49 parts per billion. Disinfection Byproducts are a category of emerging contaminants which means they have been detected in drinking water but the risk to human health is unknown. DBPs are formed when chlorine or chloramine-based disinfectants are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria. DBPs are split into two categories: TTHMs which has a Maximum Contaminant Level of 80 parts per billion and HAA5 which has a Maximum Contaminant Level of 60 parts per billion. 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. Some disinfection byproducts have almost no toxicity, but others have been associated with cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental issues in laboratory animals. 200 million people in the United States use chlorinated tap water as their primary drinking source, so we take understanding their full health effects very seriously, even if federal agencies fail to regulate all categories.

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 Baltimore's tap water quality, feel free to visit to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
Lead Contamination In Drinking Water 
Disinfection Byproducts In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know

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  • Analies Dyjak