The Top 10 Worst Water Cities in the US

-by Pelican Water, originally posted on January 5, 2015

Most Americans believe their drinking water is safe from unhealthy levels of chemicals and contaminants. According to a report from the website 24/7 Wall St, this isn’t necessarily the case. Profiled by NBC News, the study looked at 48,000 communities across 45 states. It showed that a number have drinking water with chemicals and pollutants that exceed limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


The Ten Worst Offenders

To assess overall water quality, communities were ranked based on total percentage of chemicals found, total number of contaminants found, and the most dangerous average level of a single pollutant. Based on the organization’s findings, the following cities stood out for having the worst drinking water:

  1. Jacksonville, FL: With 23 different toxins, including high volumes of carcinogenic trihalomethanes, lead and arsenic, Jacksonville’s water appears to be anything but pure. In fact, during one test, trihalomethane levels were two times the EPA legal limit.
  1. San Diego, CA: The country’s eighth-largest city provides water to numerous residents. Unfortunately, 24/7 Wall St says that water contains at least 20 contaminants, including two chemicals that exceeded the EPA’s legal limit.
  1. North Las Vegas: Mostly fed by groundwater and the Colorado River, North Las Vegas’s water supply didn’t contain any chemicals exceeding legal limits. It did, however contain a total of 26 contaminants, including high levels of radioactive uranium.
  1. Omaha, NE: Fed by the Missouri and Platte Rivers, Omaha’s water supply contained at least four chemicals above legal amounts, including manganese, nitrate and nitrite, trihalomethanes and atrazine, a herbicide linked to human birth defects.
  1. Houston, TX: The fourth-largest U.S. city gets its water from Lake Houston, the San Jacinto Rivers and the Trinity River. Within this water, over 46 pollutants were detected, including radioactive alpha particles and haloacetic acids from disinfection byproducts.
  1. Reno, NV: In addition to arsenic and manganese, Reno’s water supply was found to contain eight chemicals at levels above EPA health guidelines, including tetrachloroethylene, an industrial solvent and dry cleaning chemical.
  1. Riverside County, CA: A 7,200-square-mile area located north of San Diego, Riverside County gets its water from the Bay Delta. Within that water, 13 chemicals were found that exceeded recommended health guidelines.
  1. Las Vegas, NV: Fed by the Colorado River, Las Vegas’ water supply contained 12 pollutants exceeding EPA health guidelines, including lead, arsenic, radium-228 and radium-226.
  1. Riverside, CA: In addition to the same problems facing county residents, Riverside city residents drink an unusually unhealthy water supply containing 15 chemicals that exceeded health guidelines, along with traces of uranium and bromoform.
  1. Pensacola, FL: Situated along the Gulf of Mexico on the Florida Panhandle, Pensacola ranks as having the worst water quality in the country, thanks to 45 total chemicals. Of these, 21 were found at unhealthy amounts, with the worst being lead, benzene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, radium-228 and -228. Pensacola’s water was also found to contain chloroform and cyanide.

The best way to ensure that your home’s water is protected from harmful contaminants is with a Pelican Whole House Water Filter. This industry-leading system filters out microorganisms at the point of entry to the home, adding an extra layer of protection against contaminated municipal water supplies.

Learn More