Problems We Found In Houston's Drinking Water
Analies Dyjak | Policy NerdFor 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Analies Dyjak