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Problems We Found In San Jose, California Drinking Water

Ernesto Esquivel | Water Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of San Jose's Drinking Water Problems, we collected water quality test data from San Jose Water and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We cross referenced San Jose’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 Jose’s drinking water.

Where Does San Jose Source Its Drinking Water? 

San Jose sources its drinking water from the Santa Clara Groundwater Sub-basin, surface water from the Santa Cruz mountains, and imported surface water provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Chromium 6 In San Jose's Drinking Water 

Lets begin with a contaminant we found called chromium 6. Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. In recent years, San Jose's tap 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. This years water quality report for San Jose found levels of Chromium 6 in their ground water averaged 2.5 parts per billion and reach levels as high as 5.1 parts per billion. Mountain surface water averaged 0.24 parts per billion and reached levels as high as 2 parts per billion in mountain surface water. These levels are nearly 100 times higher than the concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk, which is 0.02 parts per billion. The state of California set their own health advisory level because Chromium 6 is not regulated by the federal government. 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 San Jose's Drinking Water 

In recent years, San Jose has had a huge problem with lead in drinking water. 10% of sites that were tested for lead had concentrations over 5 parts per billion. Though currently in compliance with the federal Action Level of 15 parts per billion, Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Control EPA both recognize that there is no safe level of lead, especially for children. Additionally, these measurements may not be a true indication of your tap water if your home has lead plumbing or lead fixtures. Treated water leaving the plant may be in compliance with loose EPA standards, but could become contaminated once it enters older infrastructure. Lead enters San Jose's tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. 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.

Disinfection Byproducts In San Jose's Drinking Water

San Jose municipal tap water was in also in exceedance of loose EPA standards for Disinfection Byproducts or DBPs. DBPs are split into two categories: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids-5 (HAA5). Concentrations of haloacetic acids were detected as high as 31.2 parts per billion. EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level is 60 parts per billion for Haloacetic Acids. Concentrations of trihalomethanes were detected as high as 58 parts per billion. EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level is 80 parts per billion for trihalomethanes. 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 or chloramine-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. 200 million people in the United States use chlorinated tap water as their primary drinking source, so we take understanding their full health effects very seriously, even if federal agencies fail to regulate all categories.

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 Jose's tap and drinking 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.

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

Problems We Found In Norman, Oklahoma's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   
Updated July 26, 2019

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Norman, Oklahoma's drinking water problems, we aggregated water quality test data provided by the city's Consumer Confidence Report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and supplemental health information. We cross referenced the city’s water quality test 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 Norman's drinking water.

Chromium 6 In Norman's Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. Norman, Oklahoma has some of the highest levels of Chromium 6 in the country. According to the most recent water Norman water quality report, the average concentration of Chromium 6 detected in Norman's drinking water was 41,000 parts per trillion and the highest concentration detected was 97,000 parts per trillion. For a bit of perspective, these levels are as high as 4850 times higher than the concentration determined to have 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. Acute respiratory disease, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological, hepatic, renal, and neurological distress are health effects associated with high levels of chromium 6 exposure.

Chloramine In Norman’s Drinking Water

While most municipalities use chlorine as the primary drinking water disinfectant, Norman’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 as high as 3.9 parts per million in treated water, which is 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 Norman use a special filtration media that is purposefully designed to remove chloramine.

Strontium In Norman’s Drinking Water

Strontium is an unregulated contaminant that was also detected in this years water quality report. Strontium naturally occurs in certain vegetables, grain, and livestock but is also a byproduct of coal and oil combustion. Concentrations of Strontium in Norman's drinking water were detected as high as 442 parts per billion. For a bit of perspective, this is twice as high as concentrations found in Oklahoma City. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, children are the most susceptible age group to the negative health effects associated with Strontium exposure. Bone growth can be effected if children ingest high enough concentrations through drinking water.

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 Norman'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
Chlorine vs. Chloramine: What You Need To Know 
2018 Oklahoma City Water Quality Report
Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   

People often purchase bottled water under the assumption that it’s much safer than what’s coming out of their tap. Marketing schemes lead consumers to believe that large corporations bottle and distribute only the purest water from crystal clear springs. The reality is that bottled water isn’t as safe as people are led to believe. This article discusses the regulatory, environmental, and ethical dilemmas associated with bottled water.

How Is Bottled Water Regulated In The United States?

The Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water, and the Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water. People are often surprised to find out that the drinking water standards for both of these agencies are nearly the same. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, certain chemicals must meet allowable limits that can enter drinking water. This list of allowable contaminants and their concentrations are identical for bottled and tap water, with the exception of lead. FDA regulates lead more stringently because companies shouldn’t ever have a reason to use lead infrastructure in the bottling process. But still, there is an allowable level of lead in bottled water of 5 parts per billion. EPA, CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations have all acknowledged that there is no safe level of lead for children. FDA must follow their own monitoring guidelines, which are often much more lax than EPA’s for municipal tap water.

Where Does Bottled Water Come From?

A lot of bottled water companies are deceptive as to where they actually source their water. Companies are legally allowed to draw water from artesian wells, mineral water, natural springs, drilled wells, and municipal tap water. That’s correct. Bottled water companies are allowed to use the same treated water as municipal water systems. Additionally, companies are not legally required to disclose where they source their water on the bottle itself. Municipal water systems are actually much more transparent because they’re required to disclose information about source water in annual consumer confidence reports. Depending on the brand, there’s of course a substantial cost associated with purchasing packaged water.

Environmental Effects of Plastic Water Bottles

“Trash Island” in the Northern Pacific Ocean is probably the best physical example of the environmental effects of plastic and plastic water bottles. 91% of plastic isn’t recycled, meaning a majority of virgin, single-use plastic ends up in landfills or the environment. According to a 2016 study by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish in the year 2050. The main ingredient in plastic bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) which takes 400 years to decompose in the environment. Once degraded, dangerous chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA), polyvinyl chloride and other phthalates can leach into the environment. Not to mention the important natural resources required to make plastic water bottles. Plastic is a product of petroleum, which is a non-renewable fossil fuel.

The Ethics of Bottled Water 

There’s also an ethical environmental dilemma associated with extracting water from a drought prone area, then selling it across the country or even world. Nestle owns aquifers in California which has been experiencing a serious drought in recent years. Because Nestle is able to purchase expensive deep drills that municipalities can’t even afford, they’re able to continue extracting water business as usual. Additionally, native american tribes are significantly affected by bottled water companies. Tribes enter lease agreements with companies that are often times violated. Even if they don’t have a legal agreement the same issues arise with the definition of “reasonable use” under the riparian law.

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Hartford, Connecticut Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   

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

Where Does Hartford Source Its Drinking Water?

Hartford sources its drinking water from surface water reservoirs throughout the massive Farmington River Watershed. Because Hartford’s source water is entirely surface, pollution that’s discharged into the river or its tributaries has the potential to enter drinking water. Hartford, as well as the rest of the state of Connecticut, has a long industrial history. Hartford drinking water has contaminants associated with industrial activities such as Strontium, Barium, Vanadium and Chromium 6. Additionally, hormones caused by household waste were detected in the city of Hartford's most recent drinking water quality report. 

Lead In Hartford Drinking Water

Hartford is an older city, so it’s no surprise that lead contamination is a big problem. Lead enters tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. 10% of sites tested for lead had concentrations over 4 parts per billion. But the highest level detected in Hartford drinking water was 148 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. Additionally, municipalities are only required to test a handful of homes every few years, so the levels reported in Hartford’s annual water quality report might not reflect the lead levels in your tap water. Lead exposure can cause developmental issues, lowered IQ, and damages to the kidneys and brain.

Disinfection Byproducts In Hartford Drinking Water

Hartford also has a serious problem with disinfection byproducts or DBPs. DBPs are formed when chlorine-based disinfectants that are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria, react with organic matter. In this years report, concentrations of haloacetic acids ranged from 7.7 to 38.2 parts per billion and 15.3 to 72.8 parts per billion for trihalomethanes. For a bit of perspective, EPA’s maximum contaminant level for haloacetic acids is 60 parts per billion and 80 parts per billion for trihalomethanes. While Hartford's water quality is technically in compliance with EPA’s threshold, 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.

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Lead In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know
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Jackson, Mississippi Drinking Water Quality

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   
Updated July 26, 2019 to include current data

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

High Lead Levels in Jackson Drinking Water

Lead enters tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. 10% (or the 90th percentile) of taps tested for lead contamination had concentrations over 8 parts per billion. However, last year the 90th percentile was 16 parts per billion. It's unusual to see a municipality improve lead levels this drastically in just one year. The federal action level for lead is 15 parts per billion, but agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics recognize that there is no safe level of lead for children. Additionally, municipalities are only required to test a handful of homes every few years, so these super high levels reported in Jackson’s annual water quality report might not even reflect the lead levels coming from your faucet. Lead exposure can cause developmental issues, lowered IQ, and damages to the kidneys and brain. In August of 2018, the city of Jackson sent a notice to all residents acknowledging the lead violation. The notice gave standard recommendations for preventing lead exposure, such as allowing tap water to run for 2 minutes before use, avoiding hot water for drinking or cooking, eliminating tap water for baby formula, and getting your child’s lead levels checked by a doctor.

Disinfection Byproducts In Jackson Drinking Water

DBPs are formed when chlorine-based disinfectants that are routinely added to the water supply to kill bacteria, react with organic matter. According to the most recent report, concentrations of haloacetic acids averaged 54 parts per billion but reached levels as high as 45 parts per billion. Concentrations of trihalomethanes averaged 58 parts per billion but reached levels as high as 68 parts per billion. For a bit of perspective, EPA’s maximum contaminant level for haloacetic acids is 60 parts per billion and 80 parts per billion for trihalomethanes. Health and 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.

Chromium 6 In Jackson Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. Chromium 6 pollution is associated with metal processing, tannery facilities, chromate production, stainless steel welding, and pigment production. Concentrations of Chromium 6 average 48.5 parts per trillion. This is double 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.

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy
Lead In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know
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Problems We Found In Mountain View, California's Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd   

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Mountain View, California’s drinking water, we collected water quality test data from the city’s website and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We cross referenced Mountain View’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 Mountain View’s drinking water.

Where Does Mountain View Source Its Drinking Water?

Mountain View supplies 8 million gallons of water to 80,000 residents on a daily basis. The city purchases 88% of its drinking water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). A majority of this water is drawn from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. 10% of Mountain View’s water is purchased from Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD). Half of the SCVWD water is drawn from the San Joaquin Delta and the other half comes from local surface water and groundwater reservoirs. The remaining water comes from groundwater wells around the city.  

Lead In Mountain View Drinking Water

In recent years, Mountain View has had a huge problem with lead in drinking water. 10% of sites that were tested for lead had concentrations over 7.7 parts per billion. Though Mountain View's water quality is currently in compliance with the federal Action Level of 15 parts per billion, Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Control EPA both recognize that there is no safe level of lead, especially for children. Additionally, these measurements may not be a true indication of your tap water if your home has lead plumbing or lead fixtures. Treated water leaving the plant may be in compliance with loose EPA standards, but could become contaminated once it enters older infrastructure. Lead enters tap water through old lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. 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.

Chromium 6 In Mountain View Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a highly toxic metal that is currently unregulated by the EPA. In recent years, Mountain View's water quality 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. The report found an average concentration of 1 parts per billion of Chromium 6 in Mountain View drinking water. These levels are as high as 50 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.

Chloramine In Mountain View Drinking Water

While most municipalities use chlorine as the primary drinking water disinfectant, Mountain View’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 Norman 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 Mountain View 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
Lead In Drinking Water
Chloramine In Drinking Water