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Providence, RI Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Providence, Rhode Island

Where does Providence's water come from?  Providence's water comes from the Scituate Reservoir, which is located west of Providence in the town of Scituate, RI.  The water is drawn from the reservoir through aqueducts into a purification plant, the Philip J. Holton Purification Works.  The purification process involves several steps, including chemical treatment, oxidization, pH adjustment, chlorination, and flouridation.  The water is stored for several days, then it is distributed both for use and to storage reservoirs.  There are also five other reservoirs that feed into the Providence Water System; the main Scituate Reservoir was created in 1926 when the region’s demand for water grew. Is Providence's water safe to drink? Does Providence put fluoride in the water? No, not that was detected. 

Source: City of Providence, Rhode Island

Contaminants Found in Providence'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.

Hormones

Human sex hormones are sometimes detected at low concentrations in drinking water. There are no current health guidelines to determine whether these exposures are safe, or if they could pose a risk to human health.

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. 

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

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 Disruptors: This utility detected 4-Androstene-3,17-dione. 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 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 Providence, RI Compared to Other Regions

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Providence, RI: 0.0338 ppb

 - State: 0.144 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Hormones

No drinking water standard exists for hormones (yikes!!) 

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 19.4 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Providence, RI: 38.3 ppb

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April Jones

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

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