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Problems We Found With Columbus, Ohio's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak @ Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 2:56 pm -0400

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 www.hydroviv.com to talk to a Water Nerd on our live chat feature or send us an email at hello@hydroviv.com.

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
5 Things You Should Know About Chromium 6
Disinfection Byproducts In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know

Problems We Found With Milwaukee's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak @ Friday, July 27, 2018 at 4:02 pm -0400



Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s drinking water, we collected water quality test data from the 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 Milwaukee’s drinking water.

Where Does Milwaukee Source Its Drinking Water?

Milwaukee sources its drinking water from Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan has had a long history of pollution, including a recent lawsuit involving Chromium 6 releases from an abutting steel facility.

Chromium 6 In Milwaukee’s Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. In recent years, the city of Milwaukee's water has had a major problem with this dangerous contaminant. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. This years water quality report for Milwaukee found levels of Chromium 6 as high as 0.25 parts per billion. These levels are 12.5 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.

Lead In Milwaukee's Drinking Water 

In recent years, the city of Milwaukee has also had a problem with lead in drinking water. Lead enters Milwaukee's tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. 10% of sites that were tested for lead had concentrations over 7.2 parts per billion. The highest concentration detected in 2017 was 130 parts per billion, which is a whopping 8.6 times higher that the Federal Action Level of 15 parts per billion. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics all recognize that there is no safe level of lead for children. These health and regulatory organizations are trying to reduce the allowable limit, so a concentration of 130 parts per billion is of serious concern. Treated water leaving the plant may be in compliance with loose EPA standards, but could become contaminated once it enters older infrastructure. Houses built before 1986 were most likely built with lead plumbing and lead fixtures. Lead exposure can cause developmental issues, lowered IQ, and damages to the kidneys and brain.

Perfluorinated Compounds In Milwaukee's Drinking Water

This years water quality report for Milwaukee included test data from six Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs). Perfluorinated Compounds are associated with firefighting foam, non-stick cookware, Scotchguard and other solvents from manufacturing. The two PFCs that are the most well known and the most researched are Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which was detected at 2.1 parts per trillion and Perfluorooctane-sulfonic acid (PFOS) which was detected at 2 parts per trillion. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recently recommended setting a Minimum Risk Level of 20 parts per trillion for both of these substances. These data are preliminary and the effects to human health are still unknown. This category of chemicals are “emerging contaminants” which means they are thought to pose a potential threat to human health and the environment, but haven't yet been regulated. Perfluorinated Compounds contribute to environmental contamination largely due to the fact that they are highly resistant to degradation processes, and thus persist for many years in water, air and can enter the food chain via bioaccumulation in certain animal species.

Chloramine In Milwaukee’s Drinking Water

While most municipalities use chlorine as the primary drinking water disinfectant, Milwaukee’s drinking and tap water is disinfected with chloramine. Chloramine is primarily responsible for what many customers report as the “bad taste” or “pool smell” of tap water. 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 Milwaukee 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 the city of Milwaukee’s tap water quality, 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.

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
Lead Contamination In Drinking Water 
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
PFOA and PFOS: What You Need To Know

Problems We Found In San Diego's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak @ Monday, July 2, 2018 at 11:34 am -0400

Analies Dyjak  |  Policy Nerd
Updated July 17, 2019 to include current data

For Hydroviv’s assessment of San Diego drinking water, we collected water quality test data from the San Diego Public Utilities and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our Water Nerds then cross reference the city's 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 San Diego’s drinking water.

Where Does San Diego Source Its Drinking Water?

San Diego purchases water from the San Diego Water Authority. This water is sourced by the Colorado River Aqueduct and the State Water Project. The water is then treated at one of three treatment facilities throughout the city; Alvarado, Miramar, or Otay.

Extremely High Levels of Chromium 6 in San Diego

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. San Diego has had a major problem with this dangerous contaminant. In recent years, levels of chromium 6 in San Diego drinking water ranged from 50 to 170 parts per billion. These samples were collected between the years of 2013 and 2014, so it’s unknown if the Chromium 6 situation has improved or gotten worse. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. 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.

Perfluorinated Compounds In San Diego's Drinking Water

Two out of five reported California drinking water systems affected by PFOA and PFOS contamination were located within the San Diego region. Camp Pendleton and the city of San Juan Capistrano both had concentrations ranging from 0.021 to 0.062 parts per billion. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recently recommended setting a Minimum Risk Level of 0.02 parts per trillion for drinking water for both of these substances, which would put both locations in exceedance. These data are preliminary and the effects to human health are still unknown. This category of chemicals are “emerging contaminants” which means they are thought to pose a potential threat to human health and the environment, but have yet to be regulated. Perfluorinated Compounds contribute to environmental contamination largely due to the fact that they are highly resistant to degradation processes, and thus persist for many years in water, air and can enter the food chain via bioaccumulation in certain animal species.

Disinfection Byproducts In San Diego's Drinking Water 

San Diego has a serious problem with Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) which is a type Disinfection Byproduct or DBP. EPA regulates two categories of DBPs: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). San Diego’s average concentration of Haloacetic Acids-5 was 17 parts per billion which is in compliance with the loose EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 60 parts per billion. The average concentration for Trihalomethanes was 60 parts per billion, but concentrations were detected as high as 126 parts per billion which indefinitely exceeds EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level of 80 parts per billion. 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. DBPs are formed when chlorine-based disinfectants are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria. 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. Some disinfection byproducts have almost no toxicity, but others have been associated with cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental issues in laboratory animals.

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 San Diego’s tap water quality, 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.

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Industrial Solvents In California's Drinking Water
PFOA and PFOS Contamination: What You Need To Know

Roller Coaster Ride For Water Quality In The Great Lakes

Water Nerds @ Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 3:55 pm -0400

Aakriti Pandey  |  Contributor

Editor's Note: This article is part of a new initiative to include stories on our blog that link scientific policy to everyday life. Recently, the new administration proposed changes to the EPA budget that would gut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which could impact the water quality of major cities (e.g. Chicago, Milwaukee) 

An upward slope

1972 was the year that marked the turning point for Great Lakes, Michigan. It was the year when Congress passed the federal Clean Water Act, and as a result, the water quality did improve in most expanses of the North American rivers and lakes, the contaminants' concentration declined, and many fisheries across the nation recuperated too. The water quality of the Great Lakes today are far improved than they did back in 1972.

A downward slide

However, there's a host of new problems today that are affecting both, the nature and the people, again. From the dissemination of the foreign mussels and other invasive aquatic species, sewer and pollution overflows caused by some severe storms, introduction of other contaminants in the lakes including the pharmaceuticals and fire retardants, to the overall climate change... the ecology of the Great Lakes have been turned upside down again. The Lake Michigan car ferry SS Badger has dumped about 500 tons of polluted coal ash into the lake every year. There are cities with archaic sewer systems, and they expel tens of billions of gallons of sewage into the lakes annually.
As water pollution in the Great Lakes increases, not only are the lives of aquatic species in danger, but this is also deeply affecting human health. People who call places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and many other cities alongside the Lake Michigan their home, draw their drinking water from the Great Lakes. And their lives are in danger.

​Another up...

An initiative was given birth in 2010 with a vision to protect and restore this largest system of fresh surface water in the world. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) intended to accelerate efforts to "strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem". With plans to clean up the areas of concern, control the invasive species, reduce nutrient runoff, and restore habitat, the GLRI gave sight of the dim light at the end of the tunnel.

​And the new downward spiral?

Those who've been grateful for the GLRI are now holding their breaths again as this plan is close to being very short-lived because the new administration announced plans for a $50 million cut from the GLRI funding as part of the new EPA budget.
For one, it's important for initiatives like this to study the impacts of these types of inevitable accidents. More importantly, it's also of momentous value to collectively remain vigilant as a community about what's happening in our environment and surroundings.

Very recent events highlight the need for initiatives like GLRI to remain funde. For example, U.S. Steel Corporation also recently accidentally released hexavalent chromium into Lake Michigan, forcing the interception of drinking water intake in the local communities and a closing of many beaches.

Hydroviv's water nerds have a "Help no matter what" technical support policy, and we always answer your drinking-water related questions, regardless of your intent to purchase our products.

Other Articles We Think You'll Enjoy:

How Chicago's Compromised Water Source & Old Infrastructure Put Residents At Risk

Does Boiling My Water Purify It?

Analies Dyjak @ Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm -0400

Hydroviv's Science Team

Our tech support team gets a lot of questions from people looking to purify their water by boiling or freezing it. Doing a quick web search, we learned that there is A LOT of bad information out there on the topic.

Will Boiling Or Freezing My Water Remove Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, PFAS, & Chromium 6?

No! Unfortunately, freezing or boiling water to purify it does not remove chemicals like lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium 6, PFAS, or barium. The only way to remove these chemicals is by using a quality water filtration system. If you'd like to find water filters that remove harmful contaminants from tap water, check out this Duke University/NC State water filter study. We have our favorite NSF/ANSI certified custom water filter, but there are other effective systems out there as well!

What Does Boiling My Water Protect Against?

In the United States, we are very fortunate that modern disinfection practices have nearly eliminated widespread waterborne illness. However, sometimes unplanned things do happen (e.g. water main breaks) which opens up an opportunity for biological contamination. When this happens, municipalities may issue a boil order or notice, because boiling water kills potentially dangerous microorganisms.

What Does Freezing My Water Protect Against?

Freezing things slows down the growth of bacteria, and is the reason why frozen foods can be stored for long periods of time.

Other Articles We Think You'll Enjoy

Things To Consider Before Buying A Reverse Osmosis System
5 Things To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Why TDS Meters Don't Tell You Anything About Lead