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Evansville, Indiana Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Evansville, Indiana

Where does Evansville get its water from? The City of Evansville's drinking water comes from the Ohio River. The Evansville filtration plant is located at mile marker 791.5 in the Highland Pigeon Watershed of the Ohio. All stream and urban runoff located within this watershed drains into the Ohio River. The beginning of the Ohio River is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers converge. 

The Ohio River is 981 miles long. It borders six states including: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. The Ohio ends in Cairo, Illinois where it flows into the Mississippi River. Almost 10 percent of the U.S. population lives within the Ohio River Basin. 

Raw, untreated water flows into an intake structure located on the Ohio River. As the water enters the intake structure, it passes through screens that remove large debris. The untreated water is then pumped into the plant passing through an in-line gas chromatograph (the INFICON CMS 5000), an instrument capable of detecting spills that range from petroleum based compounds to volatile organics. Aluminum polymer coagulants are added so suspended particles within the water bond together until they become large enough to settle out of the water. Caustic is added to control the pH of the water so that it is non-corrosive to plumbing. Fluoride is added to help protect our teeth. If necessary, carbon can be added to the water to remove various organic contaminants in the water and for taste and odor control. 

Chlorine, a chemical disinfectant, is used to kill pathogens (disease causing organisms). After the water travels through the settling basins, it enters the dual media filter beds. Ammonia is added to form chloramines, providing adequate residual disinfection throughout the distribution system. The filters remove any remaining suspended solids and the filtered or finished water is then stored temporarily in our clear wells which are underground reservoirs. The last step is for the water to be pumped out of the clear wells and into the distribution system as needed to meet the demands of the customer. In 2018, the average demand was approximately 22.5 million gallons per day (MGD) of water.  Does Evansville add fluoride to their water? Yes, fluoride (A known neurotoxin) is also added to the water to prevent tooth decay. Is Evansville's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Evansville

Contaminants Found in Evansville's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

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.

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 chromium (hexavalent) above health recommendations 

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 Nitrate above health recommendations

Cancer:  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 above health recommendations 

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.

Health risks of Fluoride above health recommendations 

Unknown

Contaminant Levels in Evansville, IN Compared to Other Regions

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Evansville, IN: 0.0875 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Nitrate

 - Health Guideline: 0.14 ppb

 - National: 1.01 ppb

 - Evansville, IN: 1.03 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Evansville, IN: 44.2 ppb

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb

 - Evansville, IN: 0.800 ppb

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April Jones

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

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