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Identifying and Mitigating Contaminants in LA’s Tap Water

Everyone deserves to have safe, clean drinking water, but are there contaminants in your LA water making it unsafe? There are several common contaminants that invade water sources throughout California, but which ones are making their way through local water providers and into your home? And how can you protect yourself from consuming them? Let’s dive into what exactly is in your water and how to make it safer and cleaner.

Los Angeles Water Quality Reported Contaminants

Los Angeles Water Quality Report discusses potential contaminants in source water as the following:

Microbial pollutants, encompassing viruses and bacteria, may originate from diverse sources such as sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.

Inorganic pollutants, like salts and metals, can be either naturally present or arise from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming activities.

Pesticides and herbicides, deriving from various origins like agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential usage, pose potential threats to water quality.

Organic chemical pollutants, comprising synthetic and volatile organic chemicals produced as by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, can also emanate from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, agricultural applications, and septic systems.

Radioactive contaminants, which can occur naturally or result from oil and gas production and mining activities, contribute to the complexity of water quality concerns.

The report details the levels of the following contaminants in LA’s water:

  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Total Coliform Bacteria
  • Aluminum
  • Chloride
  • Odor
  • pH
  • Sulfate
  • And others.

Is Los Angeles Drinking Water Contaminated with PFAS?

Researchers estimated that at least 45% of drinking water across the nation could contain one or more of the chemicals. In Southern California alone, an ABC7 analysis showed PFAS was found in more than 200 water systems, servicing more than 18 million people at some point over the last 10 years.

Contaminants in Los Angeles Water Exceeding Environmental Working Group Guidelines

It is important to regularly test your water to identify contaminants and take the proper steps to get them removed. Culligan is proud to offer FREE water tests to help get you started on your journey to cleaner, safer water.

The EWG reports the following contaminants and how much they exceed their guidelines by parts per billion:

  • Arsenic: 430x
  • Bromate 7.3x
  • Chromium (hexavalent): 29x
  • Haloacetic Acids (HAA5): 103x
  • Haloacetic Acids (HAA9): 184x
  • Nitrate: 12x
  • Nitrate & Nitrite: 7.6x
  • Trichloroacetic Acid: 177x
  • Uranium: 7x

Other Contaminants found in LA’s Tap Water

While the following contaminants do not exceed EWG guidelines, they are still present in LA’s tap water:

  • Aluminum
  • Barium
  • Bromide
  • Bromochloromethane
  • Chlorate
  • Chlorodifluoromethane
  • Chromium (total)
  • Fluoride
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Nitrate
  • Strontium
  • Vanadium
  • Selenium
  • Vanadium

Where Does Los Angeles Get It’s Water From?

The Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts (LACWD), under the umbrella of Los Angeles County Public Works, sources water for its customers from three main channels: local groundwater, and water imported through the State Water Project (SWP) and the Colorado River Aqueduct (CRA). The State Water Project constitutes a vast network of reservoirs, pump stations, storage facilities, power plants, and an extensive system of pipes and canals stretching across two-thirds of California. LACWD acquires imported water by collaborating with local SWP contractors like the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Additionally, they engage with regional wholesale water agencies such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the West Basin Municipal Water District to meet the water needs of their customers.

How Does LA Drinking Water Become Contaminated?

Contaminants can enter Los Angeles drinking water through various pathways, and the sources can be both natural and human made. These are common ways contaminants can find their way into the drinking water in the Los Angeles area:

Urban areas including Los Angeles, often face challenges with stormwater runoff. Rainwater can pick up pollutants such as heavy metals, chemicals, and debris from streets, parking lots, and industrial areas, eventually finding its way into water sources.

Industrial discharges from industrial facilities may introduce pollutants into water bodies. Sewages containing chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants can potentially impact water quality downstream, especially if not properly treated.

The use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in agricultural activities can lead to runoff that carries these substances into water sources. This runoff may contain harmful chemicals that can affect the quality of drinking water.

Despite treatment efforts, wastewater treatment plants may not always remove all contaminants from the water. Residual traces of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other chemicals may enter water sources.

Improperly maintained or failing septic systems can release bacteria, viruses, and nutrients into the ground, potentially contaminating nearby groundwater sources that feed into drinking water supplies.

Some contaminants are naturally occurring in the environment. For example, minerals like arsenic and radon can leach into groundwater from geological formations, impacting the quality of drinking water.

Aging infrastructure and corroding pipes can introduce metals such as lead into the water supply. This is particularly relevant in regions with older water distribution systems.

Animal waste and other biological contaminants from wildlife, including birds and mammals, can contribute to water pollution if not adequately managed.

Efforts to monitor, treat, and safeguard drinking water in Los Angeles involve comprehensive testing, treatment processes, and regulatory measures to minimize the risk of contamination. Regular water quality assessments help authorities identify and address potential issues, ensuring that residents receive safe and clean drinking water.

How To Remove Contaminants From Your Drinking Water

In the pursuit of cleaner and safer tap water, understanding effective filtration methods is paramount. Begin your journey towards better drinking water by scheduling a free water test. Our water experts are here to identify contaminants and guide you towards a tailored solution.

Once the contaminants are pinpointed through the water test, your dedicated Culligan professional will expertly recommend a system suited to your unique water composition. Potential solutions are as follows:

  1. Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems: Multi-stage filtration, removing 97% of dissolved minerals from your water.
  2. Whole House Water Filters: Combatting disinfection byproducts and pesticides, these filters offer comprehensive protection.
  3. Water Softeners: Address the challenge of hard water, characterized by elevated levels of magnesium and calcium.

Safe and drinkable water is a fundamental necessity for every household.