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Louisville, Kentucky Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Louisville, Kentucky

Where does Louisville's water come from? Louisville Water is the public water supplier to Louisville Metro and parts of Bullitt and Oldham Counties. The Ohio River is the source for your drinking water. Louisville Water operates a surface water treatment plant and a ground water treatment plant, both with intakes on the Ohio River. In October 2003, the Kentucky Division of Water approved a Source Water Assessment and Protection Plan for Jefferson County. The plan looks at Louisville Water’s susceptibility to potential sources of contamination. The plan identified spills of hazardous materials on the Ohio River and permitted discharges of sanitary sewers as the highest contamination risks. In Jefferson County, land use in the protection area is primarily zoned for residential and commercial use, with only a few industrial sites. In Oldham and Trimble Counties (areas bordering the Ohio River to the north of our intakes), land use is primarily zoned for residential and agricultural use. Therefore, source water contamination risks are relatively low. Louisville Water maintains an Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Services Plan to address potential contamination risks.   Is Louisville's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Louisville, KY

Contaminants Found in Louisville's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Chlorite

Chlorite is a disinfection byproduct resulting from water treatment with chlorine dioxide. Chlorite decreases hemoglobin levels and causes other hematologic effects

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.

Hormones

This utility detected Ethinyl estradiol. Hormones in drinking water come from human and animal wastewater discharged into drinking water sources. Conventional drinking water treatment does not remove hormones.

Perfluorinated Chemicals

Perfluorinated chemicals are a group of synthetic compounds used in hundreds of products from nonstick pans to stain-repellent clothing, wire coatings and firefighting foam.

Radiological Contaminants 

This utility detected Radium, combined (-226 & -228), Radium-226. Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

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 Chlorite in excess of health guideline: 

Blood Chemistry: Chlorite is a disinfection byproduct resulting from water treatment with chlorine dioxide. Chlorite decreases hemoglobin levels and causes other hematologic effects.

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 Hormones in excess of health guideline

Endocrine Disruption: This utility detected Ethinyl estradiol. Hormones in drinking water come from human and animal wastewater discharged into drinking water sources. Conventional drinking water treatment does not remove hormones.

Health risks of Perfluorinated Chemicals in excess of health guideline

Endocrine Disruption | Cancer:  These chemicals have been linked to endocrine disruption, accelerated puberty, liver and immune system damage, thyroid changes, and cancer risk. Sometimes referred to as PFC, PFOA, PFOS, or PFCs.

Health risks of Radiological contaminants  

Cancer: Radium is a radioactive element that causes bone cancer and other cancers. It can occur naturally in groundwater, and oil and gas extraction activities such as hydraulic fracturing can elevate concentrations.  

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 Louisville, KY Compared to Other Regions

Chlorite : 

- Health Guideline: 50 ppb

- State: 285.5 ppb

- Louisville, KY: 418.0 ppb

- National: 267.4 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Louisville, KY: 0.0806 ppb

 - State: 0.120 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Perfluorinated Chemicals (Status): 

No national drinking water standard exists. This utility detected Perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHXS) & Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a member of a group of perfluorinated chemicals used in many consumer products. PFOS and other perfluorinated chemicals can cause serious health effects, including cancer, endocrine disruption, accelerated puberty, liver and immune system damage, and thyroid changes. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and they accumulate in people.

Hormones

No drinking water standards exist for these contaminants which cannot be good (Yikes).

Radiological contaminants: 

Health Guideline: N/A - No standard exist for this contaminant.

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 41.5 ppb

 - National: 23.7 ppb

 - Louisville, KY: 19.9 ppb

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.762 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Louisville, KY: 0.867 ppb

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April Jones

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

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