Phoenix Water Quality Report
Sources Of Drinking Water in Phoenix, Arizona
The sources of Phoenix’s drinking water include rivers, lakes, streams, springs and wells. In 2017, about 98 percent of Phoenix’s water came from surface water that mostly started as snow pack. Phoenix’s primary sources of untreated surface water are the Salt, Verde and Colorado rivers. Some water from the Agua Fria River is mixed with water from the Colorado River when stored in Lake Pleasant. The water is then delivered to one of the city’s five water treatment plants. Colorado River water is delivered to the city via the Central Arizona Project (CAP) aqueduct. Water from the Salt and Verde rivers is delivered via the Salt River Project (SRP) canal network. The remaining two percent of drinking water was supplied by about 20 groundwater wells currently operated by the city.
Contaminants Found in Phoenix's Water Supply
(Detected above health guidelines)
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Arsenic occurs naturally in soil and bedrock in parts of the United States. Commercial activities that could have left arsenic in our soil and water include, apple orchard spraying, coal ash disposal, use of pressure treated wood. Arsenic has no smell, taste, or color when dissolved in water, even in high concentrations, so only laboratory analysis can detect its presence and concentration. What are the risks of drinking tap water with arsenic? Cancer. Chronic exposure to arsenic is also associated with an increased risk of skin, bladder, and lung cancer. There is also evidence that long-term exposure to arsenic can increase risks for kidney and prostate cancer. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Bromate may be formed in water during ozonation when the bromide ion is present. Under certain conditions, bromate may also be formed in concentrated hypochlorite solutions used to disinfect drinking-water. Bromate is usually found in drinking water as a result of water treatment, rather than through source water contamination. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Bromate? Kidney Issues. Exposure to large amounts of bromate for a long period of time caused kidney effects in laboratory animals. Long-term exposure to high levels of bromate has also caused cancer in rats. Whether bromate can cause cancer in people is not known. Some people may be at greater risk for developing health effects from bromate exposure or have concerns for their pregnancy or nursing infant. Because bromate can cause health effects in kidneys, it is possible that those with pre-existing kidney conditions could be at greater risk. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Chlorite is a disinfectant byproduct of the water treatment process. Chlorite occurs when chlorine dioxide breaks down. Chlorine dioxide is added to drinking water to protect people from harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. Most people will be exposed to chlorine dioxide and its disinfection by-product, chlorite ions, when they drink water that has been treated with chlorine dioxide. What are the risks of drinking tap water with chlorite? Thyroid, Child Development, & Hormone Disruption. Animal studies have shown effects of chlorine dioxide and chlorite that are similar to those seen in people exposed to very high amounts of these chemicals. In addition, exposure to high levels of chlorine dioxide and chlorite in animals both before birth and during early development after birth may cause delays in brain development. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. The movie Erin Brockovich alerted the public to the great suffering the little town of Hinkley, California experienced due to hexavalent chromium in their drinking water. Today, Hinkley is little more than a ghost town thanks to continued water contamination, health concerns, and plummeting property values. 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. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Chromium (hexavalent)? Cancer. A 2008 study by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, found that chromium-6 in drinking water caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice. That study and other research led scientists at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to conclude that chromium-6 can cause cancer in people. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Radiological contamination of water is due to the presence of radionuclides, which are defined as atoms with unstable nuclei. In an effort to become more stable, a radionuclide emits energy in the form of rays or high-speed particles. This is called ionizing radiation because it displaces electrons, which creates ions. The three major types of ionizing radiation are alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Radiological contaminants? Cancer. Over and over again, regardless of the source, long-term exposure or brief exposure in high doses, leads to cancer. Cancers of the bone, liver, stomach, lungs, skin, kidneys, thyroid gland, and most other tissues are common, and medical science is still discovering other maladies that may be cancer-related. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) are the result of a reaction between the chlorine used for disinfecting tap water and natural organic matter in the water. At elevated levels, TTHMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes. Now a study by government and academic researchers adds to previous evidence that dermal absorption and inhalation of TTHMs associated with everyday tap water use can result in significantly higher blood TTHM concentrations than simply drinking the water does. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)? Cancer. Studies from around the world including the United States & Europe have found that drinking tap water that carries Total Trihalomethanes increases the risk of developing cancer. In animal studies, all trihalomethanes cause liver, kidney and intestinal tumors. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.
What are the best type of filters to remove these contaminants?
Water sources can contain contaminants that impact your long term health, the taste & smell of the water and other microbiological contaminants that can actually make people sick shortly after drinking. Fortunately, there are water filtration products that remove many of the impurities from water. These filters often use carbon. Two dominant carbon filter choices are solid carbon blocks and granular activated carbon filters.
Granular activated carbon filters have loose granules of carbon that look like black grains of sand. Solid block carbon filters have blocks of compressed activated carbon that are formed with the combination of heat and pressure. Both filters are made from carbon that’s ground into small particulate sizes. Solid carbon blocks are ground even further into a fine mesh 7 to 19 times smaller than the granular activated carbon filters.
Less Contact Time
Flow channels also develop between the granules in granular activated carbon filters, leading to less effective filtration as there’s less contact between the water and carbon. Solid carbon blocks are much tighter and won’t even let through microbial cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium. However, solid carbon block filters are so tight that they can often get plugged up with matter, forcing owners to replace them on a more regular basis. This is why when you are using a Brita water pitcher filter (granular carbon), the filter will keep going and going long after it has stopped removing any water contaminants. Why bother?
The solid carbon block filters like the one used in the Epic Smart Shield remove more contaminants than the granular activated carbon filters due to the larger surface area and the tighter filters, this is why Epic Water Filters has standardized on the solid carbon block design for our water pitchers and our under the sink water filter. Granular activated carbon filters do not do enough to reduce contaminants and they are cheap to make. They are truly not "Epic" so that is why we have passed on this design and let our competitors like Woder, Brita, Pur, and Invigorated Water use these loose packed carbon filters for sub-par contaminant removal.
With solid carbon block filters the contaminants are in contact with more carbon for a longer period and therefore have more time to remove stubborn contaminants like lead (Epic Pure Pitcher 99.9% removal), fluoride (Epic Pure Pitcher 97.8% removal), and PFCs (Epic Pure Pitcher 99.8% removal). Carbon blocks can remove chlorine more effectively, eliminate undesirable odors, and removal endocrine disruptors like volatile organic compounds. The granular activated carbon particles move around, so the filter does not have as much uniformity throughout, unlike the solid carbon blocks.
Solid carbon blocks have millions and millions of different sized pores that cause the water to take a long slow path to get through the filter, increasing the contact time that the contaminated water has with the carbon. During this contact time is when contaminants adhere to the carbon and are removed from water. This happens during a process called adsorption, the other filtration method that carbon blocks use is called depth filtration where the thickness of the filter comes into play to help remove contaminants as they have to pass through this carbon walls.
Block vs Granulated
The granular activated carbon filters are cheap and simple to make which is why most water filtration companies (Brita & Woder) choose this method for manufacturing. Solid carbon block carbon filters on the other hand take longer to make and are more expensive but with this expense, you get better contaminant removal because the water has to take a tortured path before it reaches your family's lips.
A hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...
- April Jones