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Problems We Found In Oklahoma City's Drinking Water

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Problems We Found In Oklahoma City's Drinking Water

Ernesto Esquivel | Water Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Oklahoma City’s drinking water problems, we collected water quality test data from Oklahoma City 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 Oklahoma City’s drinking water.

Where Does Oklahoma City Source Its Drinking Water? 

Oklahoma City sources its drinking water from seven surface water reservoirs from five Oklahoma counties. They include Canton Lake, McGee Creek, Lake Atoka and Sardis Lake, Lake Overholser, Lake Hefner and Lake Stanley Draper. These reservoirs feed into three OKC drinking water treatment plants.

Arsenic In Oklahoma City Drinking Water 

Arsenic is a heavy metal that typically leaches into groundwater as surrounding bedrock naturally weathers overtime. According to this years report, concentrations of Arsenic in Oklahoma City’s water were detected at just under 2 parts per billion. It should be noted that although these number were reported in the 2017 report, the samples were collected in 2013. 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.

Disinfection Byproducts In Oklahoma City Drinking Water 

Oklahoma City’s municipal water is contaminated with disinfection byproducts or DBPs.  DBPs are formed when chlorine-based disinfectants are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria, and react with organic matter. They are split into two categories: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). Concentrations of HAA5 averaged 43.65 parts per billion and reached levels as high as 50.8 parts per billion. Concentrations of TTHMs averaged 70.87 parts per billion, but had levels as high as 76.73 parts per billion. For a bit of perspective, EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level for HAA5 is 60 parts per billion and 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. 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.

Chloramine In Oklahoma City Drinking Water 

While most municipalities use chlorine as the primary drinking water disinfectant, Oklahoma City’s drinking water is disinfected with chloramine. Chloramine is primarily responsible for what many customers report as the “bad taste” or “pool smell” of tap water. Concentrations were detected at 3.62 parts per million in the Hefner water treatment plant, 3.32 parts per million in the Draper water treatment plant , and 3.28 parts per million in the overholser water treatment plant. These levels are just under the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 4 parts per million. Unlike chlorine, chloramine does not dissipate if a container of water is left in the refrigerator overnight. 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 OKC's drinking water 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 Oklahoma City’s tap water quality problems, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at hello@hydroviv.com.

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