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Cincinnati, Ohio Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Cincinnati, Ohio

Where does Cincinnati's water come from? Greater Cincinnati Water Works supplies water from two sources: The Miller Treatment Plant treats surface water from the Ohio River and supplies 88% of drinking water to GCWW's customers, including most of the City of Cincinnati. The Bolton Treatment Plant treats groundwater from ten wells in the Great Miami Aquifer. It is located in southern Butler County. Our aquifer (buried sand and gravel filled with water) is 150-200 feet deep and 2 miles wide. Bolton Plant supplies about 12% of GCWW water.  

GCWW monitors source water from the Ohio River by routinely testing water before it enters the treatment plant. In addition, GCWW participates in a coordinated early warning organic detection system on the Ohio River. This system, the first of its type in the U.S.: warns treatment plants downstream about spills so that measures can be taken before the spill reaches water intakes. was developed by water utilities along the Ohio River in conjunction with ORSANCO (Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission). GCWW consists of 13 monitoring stations located along the Ohio River. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has classified the Ohio River as highly susceptible to contamination, as with all surface waters. This is because it is open to the environment, and pollution may spread quickly with the flow of the river. GCWW has several barriers between potential pollution and your tap water. The first barrier, a source water protection program, is designed to prevent and monitor contamination in the river. GCWW also has several options to protect the drinking water, ranging from turning off the intake and using stored water until pollution passes, to altering a treatment process to remove contamination. GCWW is one of only a few water treatment plants in the nation that has included granular activated carbon (GAC). GAC has been recognized as the best available technology for removing the most common chemicals found in spills in the Ohio River. Is Cincinnati's water safe to drink? Does  Cincinnati put fluoride in the water?

Source: City of  Cincinnati, OH

Contaminants Found in Cincinnati's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

1,4-Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane is a solvent classified by the EPA as a likely human carcinogen. It contaminates groundwater in many states due to industrial wastewater discharges, plastic manufacturing runoff and landfill runoff.

Bromodichloromethane

Bromodichloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Bromodichloromethane and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Bromoform

Bromoform, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Bromoform and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Chloroform

Chloroform, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Chloroform and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Chromium (Hexavalent)

Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater.

Dibromochloromethane

Dibromochloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water.

Dichloroacetic acid

Dichloroacetic acid, one of the group of five haloacetic acids regulated by federal standards, is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Haloacetic acids and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Nitrate 

Nitrate, a fertilizer chemical, frequently contaminates drinking water due to agricultural and urban runoff, and discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks. 

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform.

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. The fluoride that is added to water is not the naturally occurring kind, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate). Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Gross!). Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — moreso than any other water treatment chemical. In addition, recent research suggests that the addition of silicofluorides to water is a risk factor for elevated lead exposure, particularly among residents who live in homes with old pipes.

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of 1,4 Dioxane in excess of health guideline

Cancer:  1,4-Dioxane is a solvent classified by the EPA as a likely human carcinogen. The health guideline of 0.35 ppb for 1,4-dioxane was defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Bromodichloromethane in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.4 ppb for bromodichloromethane was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Bromoform in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.5 ppb for bromoform was proposed in 2018 by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Chloroform in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 1 ppb for chloroform was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Dibromochloromethane in excess of health guideline 

Cancer & Pregnancy: Dibromochloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Dibromochloromethane and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy


Health risks of Chromium (Hexavalent) in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.02 ppb for chromium (hexavalent) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Dichloroacetic acid in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.7 ppb for dichloroacetic acid was defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Nitrate in excess of health guideline

Cancer & Infant Damage: The health guideline of 0.14 ppm for nitrate was defined in a peer-reviewed scientific study by EWG and corresponds to one-in-one-million annual cancer risk level. Excessive nitrate in water can cause oxygen deprivation in infants and increase the risk of cancer.

Health risks of Trihalomethanes in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Contaminant Levels in Cincinnati, OH Compared to Other Regions

 1,4-Dioxane

 - Health Guideline: 0.35 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH:  0.401 ppb

 - National: 0.0481ppb

Bromoform

 - Health Guideline: 0.5 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 10.0 ppb

 - National: 1.77 ppb

Bromodichloromethane

- Health Guideline: 0.06 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 9.05 ppb

 - National: 4.38 ppb

Chloroform

 - Health Guideline: 1.0 ppb

 - National: 11.4 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 6.82 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 0.117 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Dibromochloromethane 

  - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Cincinnati, OH: 13.6 ppb

Dichloroacetic acid

 - Health Guideline: 0.7 ppb

 - National: 6.00 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 1.99 ppb

Nitrate

 - Health Guideline: 0.14 ppb

 - National: 6.00 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 0.872 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Cincinnati, OH: 39.8 ppb

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Cincinnati, OH: 0.940 ppb

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April Jones

A Colorado based hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...

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