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New York City Water Quality Report

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Sources of New York City, New York Drinking Water

New York City gets its drinking water from 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes spread across a nearly 2,000-square- mile watershed. The watershed is not located in New York City, but rather upstate, in portions of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains that are as far as 125 miles north of the City. A map of the watershed and reservoirs can be found on the inside of the front cover of this report. The New York City Water Supply System, Public Water System Identification Number (PWSID) NY7003493, consists of three individual water supplies called the Catskill/Delaware supply, located in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties; the Croton supply, New York City’s original upstate supply, in Putnam, Westchester, and Dutchess counties; and a groundwater supply in southeastern Queens. Although the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a permit to operate the groundwater supply, water from that system has not been delivered to customers in many years.

In 2017, New York City received a blend of drinking water from the Catskill/Delaware and Croton supplies. The Catskill/Delaware supply provided approximately 97 percent of the water, and approximately three percent was supplied by Croton.

Source: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf/wsstate17.pdf

A list of contaminants in New York City'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. Read more about chromium (hexavalent).

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. Click here to read more about disinfection byproducts.

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.

Trichloroacetic acid

Trichloroacetic 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. Click here to read more about disinfection byproducts.

Source: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY7003493

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 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 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. 

Health risks of trichloroacetic acid in excess of health guideline 

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.5 ppb for trichloroacetic 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.

Contaminant Levels in New York City's Water Supply

Bromodichloromethane:

Health Guideline: 0.4 ppb

  • National: 4.37 ppb
  • NYC Water: 4.65 ppb
  • State: 4.83 ppb 
Chloroform:

Health Guideline: 1 ppb

  • National: 11.4 ppb
  • State: 16.4 ppb
  • NYC Water: 30.9 ppb 
Chromium (hexavalent):

Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

  • NYC Water: 0.0413 ppb
  • State: 0.143 ppb
  • National: 0.782 ppb

Dichloroacetic acid:

Health Guideline: 0.7 ppb

  • State: 5.57 ppb 
  • National: 6.00 ppb 
  • NYC Water Supply: 13.6

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs):

Health Guidelines: 0.8 ppb

  • National: 23.4 ppb
  • State: 26.1 ppb 
  • This Utility: 34.8 ppb 

Trichloroacetic acid:

Health Guideline:  0.5 ppb

  • National: 4.93 ppb
  • State: 5.81 ppb 
  • NYC Water Supply: 18.1 ppb 

Source: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY7003493

Epic Pure Pitchers

Erica Schmidt
A Melbourne, Australia based water quality expert
      

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