A Test Of City Water Finds Two Violations

A customer of mine who is trying to regain her health recently asked me to test her city’s water. I normally rely on city water reports but she wanted some insight into the water at her faucet. A single water report will provide a one time snapshot of your water source.

USEPA regulates the level of contaminants that public agencies are allowed to provide to their customers. But what most people don’t realize is that these agencies can exceed the standards from time to time as long as the annual average remains within the limits set by EPA.

City water reports provide both the average value of a contaminant and the range including the highs and lows. For chloramine or chlorine and their carcinogenic byproducts the levels are going to be significantly higher in the summer. This is because the water is warming and bacterial growth more rampant so more chlorine or chloramine is added to kill these microorganisms.

This customer lives in Encinitas, California. There was nothing particularly surprising about the water report but it did reveal two EPA violations and an excessive amount of disinfection byproducts.  These are the carcinogenic compounds formed when chlorine or chloramine interacts with organic material in water.

The first violation was total dissolved solids (tds). These are the minerals in water. Many health advocates suggest that minerals in water are good, but this is an oversimplification as there can be too many minerals. When there are too many minerals in water then the water is less able to penetrate your cell membranes and is therefore less hydrating. In Encinitas the tds was 570 and the EPA limit is 500. I personally prefer to drink water with a low level of minerals, between 30 and 250 at the most.

The second violation was for total trihalomethanes. Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic acids are groups of chemicals that are formed when chlorine interacts with organic material in water. Both groups are known carcinogens, the reason for their being regulated. The EPA maximum is 80 and these were at 92 (milligrams per liter). Trihalomethanes were likely high due to the time of year of the test which was May 29 (2012).

Free chlorine, total chlorine, and chlorite were also present in the water.

I don’t think people who are on public water systems need to test their water. I advise the use of the city’s water quality report as I find these sufficient to determine what we need to do to treat the water to make it healthy.  In the case of Encinitas I recommend my Urban Defender whole house water filter to remove the chloramine, chlorine, and carcinogenic disinfection byproducts. In addition I recommend reverse osmosis kitchen water purifier to remove the total dissolved solids, radioactive metals, and numerous unregulated contaminants including pharmaceuticals.

Which filter you might need will depend entirely on what’s in your water. Some public water sources are better than others.  In order to determine what you need it’s best to start by reviewing your local water quality report.  Only then can you determine which water filter is the best for you.

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About James McMahon

Studied ecology at the University of Illinois, mountain survival at Eastern Washing University, Deep Ecology at Naropa, River Ecology with The Nature Conservancy and Luna Leopold
This entry was posted in Best Water Filter, Bottled Water, Exposure to Toxins, Healthy Drinking Water, Healthy Living, Spring Water, Sweetwater LLC, Water Purification, Whole House Water Filter, Whole House Water Filtration and Purification. Bookmark the permalink.

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