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Salt Lake City Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Salt Lake City, Utah

Multiple source waters feed our system. We have also built redundancy into our system to avoid disruption in service. Our source waters include mountain streams, surface water reservoirs, and a network of groundwater wells and springs. SLC Public Utilities owns and operates three surface water treatment plants and purchases water from other water districts and conservancies. We typically use our network of wells in the summer months to meet high demand. Because of our multiple sources and treatment facilities, water in our distribution system is blended from these sources. Also, the sources may vary throughout the year depending on supply and demand.

SURFACE WATER. Our primary source waters are from mountain streams (i.e., City Creek, Parley's Creek, Big Cottonwood Creek, and Little Cottonwood Creek), which are in the protected watersheds located north and east of Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountains. Salt Lake City Ordinances 17.04 and 17.08 were adopted to protect these mountain streams from pollution. In addition, we have invested in and receive treated water from the Provo River watershed. Like many public water systems around the country, the surface water treatment for SLC Public Utilities uses a multi-step treatment process, including coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. The primary disinfectant used is chlorine. After the water leaves the treatment plants, SLC Public Utilities routinely collects samples throughout the distribution system to monitor the quality of water as it travels through more than 1,300 miles of pipe to your tap.

GROUNDWATER. SLC Public Utilities' wells and springs are spread across the valley from Cottonwood Heights to the mouth of City Creek Canyon. The quality of our groundwater is impacted by what happens on the ground above. Salt Lake City zoning ordinance 21A.34.060 was adopted to help protect our groundwater resources. Never dispose of chemicals or hazardous materials on the ground. These materials can migrate through the soils and impact groundwater. Because of SLC Public Utilities' excellent groundwater resources, groundwater does not require special treatment. Similar to the filtration process of surface water, groundwater is continually filtered through a natural process as it passes through the subsurface geology. SLC Public Utilities routinely monitors the quality of the groundwater and remains a concerned and active stakeholder for sites where groundwater contamination has been identified. As such, we work with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA, and other stakeholders to protect our citizens and their interests. 

Source: Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

Contaminants Found in Salt Lake City's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Arsenic

Arsenic is a potent carcinogen and common contaminant in drinking water. Arsenic causes thousands of cases of cancer each year in the U.S. Click here to read more about arsenic.

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).

Radiological contaminants

This utility detected Radium, combined (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228 & Uranium.

Source: EWG Tap Water Database - Salt Lake City

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of Arsenic in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.004 ppb for arsenic 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 Chromium (hexavalent) in excess of the health guidelines

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 Radiological contaminants in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: 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.

Contaminant Levels Compared to Other Regions

Arsenic

 - Health Guideline: 0.004 ppb

 - Salt Lake City, UT: 0.738 ppb

 - National: 1.33 ppb

 - State: 3.78 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Salt Lake City, UT: 0.381 ppb

 - State: 0.484 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Radiological Contaminants

 - N/A

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Jason Nash

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

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