When you live in a city like Phoenix – where summer temperatures reach as high as 120° – staying hydrated and having access to clean, safe water is vital. Unfortunately, the water that comes out of the faucet may smell bad, have poor taste and stain your utensils, faucets and appliances.
The reason for these issues is that water is exposed to a lot of contaminants before it makes its way to your home. These substances range from hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, to potentially harmful chemicals, such as nitrates and arsenic.
What Toxins are in Phoenix Water?
The City of Phoenix recently released its 2018 Water Quality Report in order to inform residents of what contaminants are present in your water. As the report notes, your water comes from various sources in Arizona, from big rivers and lakes to small streams and underground wells. At the source, it absorbs a lot of toxins that change the quality of the water. Many of these substances can be harmful to humans and our pets if present in large doses.
To ensure that these toxins do not reach harmful levels, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set up legal standards for municipal drinking water. In all cases, the water in Phoenix meets these standards. However, we’ve noted some measurements that may be of interest to you for health or safety reasons.
Particularly worrisome toxins in the Phoenix water are nitrates. High nitrate levels can be fatal to small children and the elderly. The 2018 water quality tests showed a nitrate level range between 0 to 5 parts per million (ppm), which is below the EPA risk level of 10ppm. However, it is important to note that level of nitrate can spike quickly and unpredictably due to heavy rainfall and other factors.
Also troubling is the high amount of arsenic that has been reported in the water. High levels of arsenic have been linked with cancer, skin damage, and other health problems. The action level set for EPA stands at 10 ppm. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Water Department reported a highest running average of 7 ppm in water tests, pushing it close the EPA action level.
As can be seen in the report, despite best efforts many of these substances remain present in the water just slightly below the EPA action levels. These trace amounts can be worrying, as some fear that EPA standards do not go far enough in ensuring water is completely safe for consumption. Reading the report annually is a good idea to keep up to date on the changes in the water content.
Why Does Water in Phoenix Taste Bad?
EPA regulations deal with immediately harmful and potentially fatal substances, but they do not regulate contaminants that cause your water to have an unpleasant odor and taste. The offensive taste can be caused from annual algae blooms, as well as from the chlorine introduced to the water in order to kill bacteria. The time of year can have a big impact on the odor and taste especially when impacted by the summer heat.
Another aspect not covered by EPA standards is water hardness. Water hardness is caused by magnesium and calcium, which are naturally present in the Arizona landscape. As the report notes, Phoenix water ranges from 12 to 17 grains per gallon, meaning that the city has some of the hardest water in the country!
While hardness is not a health hazard, it can be extremely harmful to your plumbing and appliances. Over time hard water will damage the pipes in your home through a process called scale build-up, which can lead to clogging and other serious plumbing issues. Taking showers with hard water can also cause excessively dry hair and skin irritation. This situation can create additional expense for maintenance of plumbing, faucets and appliance.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Water
While city of Phoenix does a great job in meeting EPA standards, these standards do not address water hardness or taste, and might not go far enough in meeting the standards you set for your family’s drinking water.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to ensure that the water in your household is great tasting, safe to drink, and does not damage your home. Water filtration provided by a reverse osmosis system can be a cost-effective and a quick solution for your drinking water, while a good water softening system will ensure that your water doesn’t damage your home. Aqua Science provides reverse osmosis systems as an easy to implement option to significantly reduce the levels of nitrate and arsenic in your drinking water. We also provide a wide range of whole home water softening systems guaranteed to soften your water and prolong the life of your investments.