City of El Paso Water Issues | El Paso Tap Water | Hydroviv

Problems We Found In El Paso's Drinking Water

Problems We Found In El Paso's Drinking Water
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Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of the city of El Paso’s drinking water issues, we aggregated water quality test data provided by El Paso Water, 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 El Paso’s drinking water.

Where Does El Paso Source Its Drinking Water?

El Paso sources its drinking water from the Rio Grande, and the Mesilla Bolson and Hueco Bolson aquifers. This water is treated by the El Paso Water Distribution System.

Chromium 6 In El Paso's Drinking Water

El Paso’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, El Paso tap water has averaged 2400 parts per trillion for Chromium 6. This is 120 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.

Disinfection Byproducts In El Paso's Drinking Water 

El Paso municipal water also detected high levels of Disinfection Byproducts or DBPs. Concentrations were detected as high as 99 parts per billion, which exceeds EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level of 80 parts per billion for Total Trihalomethanes. Concentrations of Haloacetic Acids-5 were detected at levels as high as 41.9 parts per billion, which is in compliance with the loose EPA standard of 60 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-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. 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.

Arsenic In El Paso's Drinking Water

Arsenic levels reported in the 2017 El Paso water quality report were barely in compliance with the loose EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 parts per billion. The highest level detected in El Paso’s tap water was 9 parts per billion  and the overall average was 4.2 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 skin, bladder, lung, liver and prostate cancers, as well as create non-cancerous problems with cardiovascular (heart/blood vessels), pulmonary (lungs), immune, neurological (brain), and endocrine (e.g. diabetes) systems. Arsenic naturally occurs in bedrock, and is not the result of industrial pollution. If you are serviced by a private well, we highly recommend purchasing a filter optimized to remove arsenic. Hydroviv recommends that anyone with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their drinking water, especially if children are in the home.

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 El Paso’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:
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Disinfection Byproducts In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know 
Arsenic In Drinking Water

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  • Analies Dyjak