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Scottsdale Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Scottsdale, Arizona

Where does Scottsdale get its water from?  Prior to the mid 1980s, Scottsdale relied almost entirely on groundwater for its water supply. Today, about 90 percent of our drinking water comes from two surface water sources: the Central Arizona Project and the Salt River Project.

About two-thirds of Scottsdale’s water supply comes from the Central Arizona Project (CAP) – a 336-mile-long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants and pipelines designed to bring about 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to water users in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties. CAP carries water from Lake Havasu near Parker to the southern boundary of the San Xavier Indian Reservation southwest of Tucson.

Scottsdale began using CAP water in 1987 and our CAP allocation for 2015 is approximately 81,000 acre-feet. CAP water is treated at the 70 million gallon a day CAP Water Treatment Plant, located at the Water Campus in north Scottsdale.

In 1903, Arizona settlers formed the Salt River Valley Water Users Association (Salt River Project) and pledged more than 200,000 acres of their land as collateral for a government loan to build a water storage and delivery system. They used this loan to build Roosevelt dam. As Phoenix grew, SRP added three more dams on the Salt River and two dams on the Verde River.

Scottsdale's SRP supplies are delivered through the Arizona Canal to the city’s Chaparral Water Treatment Plant, located near the intersection of McDonald Drive and Hayden Road. The 30 million gallon a day capacity plant has been in operation since the spring of 2006. The total SRP supply available to Scottsdale in normal supply years is 16,894 acre feet per year.

Unlike other sources of supply, which can be used anywhere within the Scottsdale service area, SRP supplies are available only to certain parts of the city, referred to as "on-project" lands. Scottsdale’s on-project land is south of the Arizona Canal. Is Scottsdale's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Scottsdale

Contaminants Found in Scottsdale'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 Uranium. 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 — more so 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 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: This utility detected Uranium. 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.

Health risks of Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) in excess of the health guidelines 

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 fluoride in excess of health guideline  

No standards exist for fluoride in water but fluoride is considered by many to be a neurotoxin.

Contaminant Levels Compared to Other Regions

Arsenic

 - Health Guideline: 0.004 ppb

 - National: 1.33 ppb

 - State: 5.02 ppb

 - Scottsdale, AZ: 3.25 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

 - State: 4.69 ppb

 - Scottsdale, AZ: 3.54 ppb

Radiological Contaminants

 - No standard exists for this contaminant which cannot be good.

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 13.6 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Scottsdale, AZ: 47.6 ppb

Fluoride

- Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.776 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb

 - Scottsdale, AZ: 0.250 ppb

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April Jones

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

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