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Hagerstown, Maryland Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Hagerstown, Maryland

Where does Hagerstown get its water from? Hagerstown City water is surface water that comes from one of two City-owned treatment plants. As water travels over the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring elements and compounds. It can also pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals, or from human activity. The main plant is the R.C. Willson Water Treatment Plant which uses the Potomac River as the water source. The second plant is the W.M. Breichner Water Treatment Plant which uses the Edgemont Reservoir as its source. Currently, the Edgemont Reservoir and W.M. Breichner Plant are off-line while repairs and upgrades are made to the dam and treatment facility. The reservoir is fed by two streams, the Warner Hollow and the Raven Rock. The Willson Plant is located near Williamsport and the Breichner Plant is near Smithsburg.  Is Hagerstown's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Hagerstown, MD

Contaminants Found in Hagerstown, Maryland's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

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.

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.

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 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 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 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 Hagerstown, Maryland Compared to Other Regions

Bromodichloromethane

- Health Guideline: 0.06 ppb

 - State: 1.76 ppb

 - Hagerstown, MD: 6.98 ppb

 - National: 4.38 ppb

Chloroform

 - Health Guideline: 1.0 ppb

 - State: 4.64 ppb

 - National: 11.4 ppb

 - Hagerstown, MD: 24.0 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Hagerstown, MD: 0.0791 ppb

 - State: 0.198 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Dibromochloromethane 

  - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.940 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Hagerstown, MD: 1.74 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 8.58 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Hagerstown, MD: 32.8 ppb

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.376 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Hagerstown, MD: 0.264 ppb

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April Jones

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

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