Problems We Found In Louisville, Kentucky Drinking Water


Ernesto Esquivel  |  Water Nerd
**Updated August 2, 2019 to include current data

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Louisville, Kentucky’s tap and drinking water problems, we collected water quality test data from Louisville and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We cross referenced Louisville 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 Louisville’s drinking water.

Where Does Louisville Source Its Drinking Water?

Louisville sources its drinking water from the Ohio River. The utility provider, Louisville Water, treats and distributes drinking water to the metropolitan area as well as surrounding counties, including; Bullitt, Hardin, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, and Spencer.

Lead In Louisville’s 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 4.7 parts per billion, and the highest level collected was 10.2 parts per billion. The City of Louisville only received data from 50 residential taps, so the small data set may not be representative of the actual scope of the lead problem. 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, once water hits lead plumbing and lead fixtures, these measurements will increase significantly. Houses built before 1986 were most likely built with these types of fixtures. Lead exposure can cause developmental issues, lowered IQ, and damages to the kidneys and brain.

Disinfection Byproducts In Louisville’s Drinking Water

DBPs are formed when chlorine or chloramine-based disinfectants are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria. EPA regulates two categories or DBPs: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). Concentrations of HAA5 averaged 27.3 parts per billion and reached levels as high as 46.1 parts per billion. The EPA Maximum Contaminant Level for this compound is 60 parts per billion. Concentrations of TTHMs averaged 27.8 parts per billion, but reached levels as high as 39.8 parts per billion. EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level is 80 parts per billion for TTHMs. 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. Health and regulatory agencies have very little knowledge about the adverse health effects of DBPs, and their toxicity potential. EPA has stated that they have been linked to an increased risk of various types of cancers and problems with the central nervous system.

Chloramine In Louisville’s Drinking Water

Louisville disinfects its drinking water with chloramine, which is a disinfectant similar to chlorine. Chloramine is primarily responsible for what many Louisville customers report as the “bad taste” or “pool smell” of tap water. Most one-size-fits-all water filters use filtration media that doesn’t do a great job removing chloramine, but the filters that we design and build at Hydroviv for Louisville use a special filtration media that is purposefully designed to remove chloramine.

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 Louisville’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
What Is The Difference Between Chlorine and Chloramine In Drinking Water?
Disinfection Byproducts In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know
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