Problems We Found With Las Vegas Drinking WaterRSS
**Updated July 11, 2022 to include most recent water quality data
Analies Dyjak, M.A. | Hydroviv Research Analyst
Hydroviv's Water Nerds have updated our assessment of Las Vegas drinking water to include data from the latest Consumer Confidence Report. We looked at data from the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Environmental Working Group, and the US Geological Survey. Our Water Nerds then cross referenced these data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, as well as upcoming regulatory changes. The custom water filters that we build for our customers in Las Vegas are optimized with this research in mind.
Source Of Las Vegas's Drinking Water
90% of Las Vegas drinking water comes from Lake Mead. Lake Mead is supplied by snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains, which flows into the Colorado River. The remaining 10% comes from a groundwater aquifer under the Las Vegas Valley. This aquifer is naturally replenished by precipitation in the Spring Mountains and the Sheep Range.
What are the concerns in Las Vegas Drinking Water?
Contaminants of concern in Las Vegas’ drinking water include Lead, PFAS, Arsenic, Disinfection Byproducts, Uranium, and Chromium 6.
Lead In Las Vegas Drinking Water
Lead enters tap water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures put in place by the municipality fail (like what happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach dangerous levels. Homes built before 1986 are most susceptible to lead contamination. According to the 2022 report, 10% of drinking water samples analyzed for lead in Las Vegas are over 3.9 parts per billion, with samples measuring as high as 5.6 parts per billion. Though Las Vegas water quality is currently in compliance with federal regulations,the EPA, CDC, and American Academy of Pediatrics have all made clear that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead, and of course, federal regulations cannot take into account levels measured at an individual tap. Hydroviv Drinking Water filters are NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified to remove lead from drinking water.
PFAS in Las Vegas Drinking Water
Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a category of emerging contaminants commonly used in firefighting foam, Teflon, non-stick surfaces, stain-resistant surfaces, and food packaging. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has determined that PFAS exposure is associated with various adverse health effects, including an increased risk of cancer, lowered fertility rates, and developmental issues in infants and young children.
Testing that was done by the Environmental Working Group detected PFAS in groundwater at military bases in and near Las Vegas, including Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, where groundwater on base had PFOA + PFOS levels as high as 47,400 parts per trillion (ppt), and Creech Air Force base in Clark County, NV, which had PFAS levels as high as 21,066 ppt. There is no current “allowable level” in drinking water, but health agencies believe that anything above 70 ppt is considered unsafe and recent EPA guidelines indicate that PFOA and PFOS "safe levels" should be considerably lower than that: 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS. Not all water filters are designed to remove PFAS from tap water. If you'd like to find water filters that remove PFAS from tap water, check out this Duke/NC State PFAS study. Hydroviv filters are NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified for PFOA/PFOS removal.
Arsenic in Las Vegas Drinking WaterArsenic is a hazardous heavy metal that can cause cancer and other health problems. Arsenic originates in source water naturally. In the Las Vegas Valley Water District, varying amounts of arsenic were detected in the different distribution areas, ranging from 0.7 ppb to 4.0 ppb. While Las Vegas’ Arsenic levels were not in violation of EPA water quality standards, consumers should know that the U.S. EPA's standard balances toxicity against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. We strongly suggest that tap water with levels higher than 1 part per billion be treated to remove arsenic, especially in homes with children.
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Las Vegas Drinking Water
DBPs are a category of emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants (added to the water supply to protect consumers) react with naturally-occurring organic matter. EPA regulates two categories of DBPs: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5). The EPA has stated that DBPs have been associated with increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. Haloacetic Acid levels in Las Vegas water ranged between 35 - 45 parts per billion. Total Trihalomethane levels ranged between 68 to 82 parts per billion, which exceeds the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 80 parts per billion.
Uranium in Las Vegas Drinking Water
Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive substance normally found in rocks, soil, air and water. Uranium enters water by leaching from soil and rocks, or in releases from processing plants. Uranium has demonstrated toxic effects on human kidneys leading to their inflammation and changes in urine composition. Uranium can decay into other radioactive substances, such as radium, which can cause cancer with extensive exposure over a long period of time. Uranium levels in Las Vegas water ranged from 2 to 4 parts per billion.
High Chromium 6 Levels In Las Vegas Drinking Water
Chromium 6 is a toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. Las Vegas tap water had Chromium 6 levels ranging from 54 parts per trillion to 850 parts per trillion. California has determined that 20 parts per trillion is the contaminant level below which there is minimal health risk. The Chromium 6 levels in the Las Vegas water system range from nearly 3 to over 40 times the level generally accepted as safe.
How Can Hydroviv Help Me?
Hydroviv is a water filtration company that uses water quality data to optimize water filters for each customer's water. The contaminants that we list above are what we consider to be major “points of emphasis” that we use to build water filters that are built specifically for Las Vegas' water, but all of our filters also include broad protection against a wide range of contaminants.
If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Las Vegas tap water, or just have questions about water quality in general, feel free to visit www.hydroviv.com, reach out by email (email@example.com) or through our live chat. We post water-related news on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.Hydroviv's drinking water filters carry NSF certifications to Standard 42 (aesthetic effects--Chlorine Removal) and Standard 53 (health effects--Lead, VOCs, and PFOA/PFOS removal), and are independently tested to remove hundreds of contaminants.
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