New EWG drinking water datatabase; systems rankings

Author: Merritt Frey

The Environmental Working Group has launched a new and very impressive database on drinking water violations and reporting around the country. The user-friendly system allows a user to search by zip code or supplier and then view extensive data in a non-technical format.

The National Drinking Water Quality Database covers 48,000 communities in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The data demonstrates that more than 300 pollutants were found in our tap water, and the database website goes on to say:

More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount. The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans.

Environmental Working Group also used their data to rate large (serving more than 250,000 people) drinking water systems based on three factors. No systems in the Intermountain West showed up in the ten "top-rated" systems. Three systems did make the ten "lowest-rated" systems list, and all of them were in Nevada -- Las Vegas, Nevada (Las Vegas Valley Water District); Reno, Nevada (Truckee Meadows Water Authority); and North Las Vegas, Nevada (City of North Las Vegas Utilities Department).

To see the rating for all the large systems reviewed, check out this list. For example, Phoenix (City of Phoenix Water Services Department) comes in at #53, Albuquerque (Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority ) at #51, Tuscon (Tucson Water) at #66 and Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities) at #80.

Post new comment

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.