Problems We Found With Washington, D.C. Drinking Water


Analies Dyjak | Water Nerd  
Updated March 3, 2022 to include current data

For Hydroviv's assessment of Washington, DC's tap water, we collected water quality test data from DC Water's annual Consumer Confidence Report 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 DC's drinking water.

Where Does DC Source Its Drinking Water?

DC Water purchases water from The Washington Aqueduct, which is owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Washington Aqueduct draws 140 million gallons of water from the Potomac River everyday. DC Water then properly treats the water before distribution. 

Lead In DC Drinking Water

Lead has been a major problem in DC's drinking water for several decades. DC had a major lead crisis in the early 2000’s, so this contaminant is something we like to look out for. According to this years report, 10% of the samples tested for lead had concentrations over 3 parts per billion. There were 118 samples collected over a monitoring period from January to June, and 3 samples had lead levels over the EPA action level of 15 parts per billion. EPA, CDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all acknowledge that there is no safe level of lead for children. It’s also important to note that many of DC’s homes were built with lead plumbing and lead fixtures, so the relatively small sample size may not necessarily reflect the scope of the lead problem in DC. We've linked a map of the identified lead service lines throughout Washington, DC. We highly recommend that DC residents take advantage of the city’s free lead test program. To get a free lead test kit, just call 202-612-3440 or email

Disinfection Byproducts in DC Drinking Water

Next is Disinfection byproducts or DBPs. DBPs form when chlorine-based disinfectants react with organic matter in incoming water. DBPs are split into two categories: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). Concentrations of TTHMs averaged 52 parts per billion, but levels were detected as high as 66 parts per billion in DC water. HAA5 concentrations averaged 33 parts per billion. While Washington D.C.'s water quality is technically still in compliance of loose EPA standards, these levels are definitely high. to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature.

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