Problems We Found In Denver's Drinking Water
Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd
For our 2018 Denver water quality report, we collected water quality test data from Denver Water and the U.S. Environmental Protection. We cross referenced the city’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 Denver’s drinking water.
Where Does Denver Source Its Drinking Water?
Denver Water is the water utility provider for the city of Denver, which services 1.4 million residents. Denver’s drinking water is fully supplied from surface water sources. The South Platte River and its tributaries, the Dillon Reservoir, and the other tributaries above the Fraser River are the primary drinking water sources. Denver Water stores water is several mountain reservoirs, which are then sent to one of three treatment plants before being distributed into homes.
Lead in Denver’s Drinking Water
In recent years, the city of Denver has had a major problem with lead in drinking water. Lead enters tap water through older lead service pipes and lead containing plumbing. 10% of Denver’s water quality samples analyzed for lead had concentrations over 10.3 parts per billion. Denver is technically in compliance with the loose federal standard of 15 parts per billion, but these current levels are some of the highest in the country. Houses built before 1986 were most likely built with lead plumbing and lead fixtures. 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.
Chromium 6 in Denver’s Drinking Water
Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. The city of Denver recently detected levels of Chromium 6 above the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment public health goal of 20 parts per trillion. Concentrations of Chromium 6 were detected at levels ranging from 60 to 250 parts per trillion. These levels are up to 12.5 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer. 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.
Chloramine in Denver’s Tap Water
Denver's water is disinfected with Chloramine, which is comparable to chlorine in most water treatment facilities. Chloramine is primarily responsible for what customers report as the “bad taste” of tap water, and unlike chlorine this taste will not fade if left in the fridge overnight. Most one-size-fits-all water filters use filtration media that doesn’t adequately remove chloramine, but the filters that Hydroviv builds for Denver's water problems use special filtration media that is purpose-built to remove chloramine as 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 Denver’s tap water feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Analies Dyjak