Problems We Found With Columbus, Ohio's Drinking Water


Ernesto Esquivel  |  Water Nerd

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Columbus drinking water, we collected water quality test data from the city’s Consumer Confidence Report and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We cross referenced Columbus 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 Columbus drinking water.

Where Does Columbus Source Its Drinking Water?

Columbus sources its drinking water from the Scioto River, Big Walnut Creek, and groundwater from the Scioto River Valley. The city is serviced by three water treatment plants that each take care of a certain area of the city. The three plants are the Dublin Road treatment plant (DRWP), the Hap Cremean Water Plant (HCWP), and the Parsons Avenue Water Plant (PAWP).

Chromium 6 In Columbus Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. In recent years, Columbus city water has had a problem with this dangerous contaminant. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. In this years water quality report, concentrations of Chromium 6 were detected as high as 0.35 parts per billion in certain groundwater sources. These levels are 17 times higher than the concentration determined 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.

Disinfection Byproducts In Columbus Drinking Water

Columbus city water problems also includes high concentrations of disinfection byproducts or DBPs. DBPs are formed when chlorine-based disinfectants react with organic matter. They are split into two categories: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). Concentrations of HAA5 averaged 29.4 parts per billion at DRWP, 45.3 parts per billion at HCWP, and 8.4 parts per billion at PAWP. Concentrations of TTHMs averaged 40.2 parts per billion at DRWP, 53 parts per billion at HCWP, and 34.1 parts per billion in PAWP. 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.

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 Columbus tap water quality, feel free to visit to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at

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