Whether you’re planning a holiday gathering with the whole family or splashing around in the hot summer weather, water is a crucial element of the family home. Water has an impact on almost every activity inside your home, from preparing meals and washing dishes to bathing and doing laundry. While we expect our water to be clean and clear, there can be a number of contaminants that can compromise water quality and safety. Unfortunately, Nebraska’s water system has been rated one of the lowest in the U.S over the last few years, particularly the Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha. There are common contaminants in the Lincoln, Nebraska water systems exceeding the national average as of the EPA assessment between January to March 2017. So, here we’ll explore these contaminants that may be lingering in your water and what risk they pose to your health.
One of the highest contaminant levels in Lincoln, Nebraska’s drinking water is chloroform. The EPA regulations for acceptable levels of chloroform in public water systems is 12.5 parts per billion. The water from Lincoln, NE was shown to contain 11.2 parts per billion. While this is within the acceptable range, it is over four times the 2.57 ppb national average.
Chloroform was commonly used for its anesthetic properties until research found that there were health hazards associated with this drug. Chloroform is a possible carcinogenic, with kidney and liver issues associated with prolonged exposure.
Bromate is a bromite byproduct containing the compound BrO3. This typically occurs in water as a byproduct of disinfection. Lincoln water supplies contain three times the bromate national average. Long term exposure to bromate has been shown to cause cancer and kidney failure in lab rats.
There are several ways that hexavalent chromium can enter drinking water supplies. Contamination is typically due to industrial pollution or mineral deposits in groundwater systems. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen, but fortunately, Lincoln’s waters were found to be 14 times lower than national averages.
Small amounts of dibromochloromethane can be found in some times of oceanic algae, but it is more common in chlorinated water. Chlorine is a standard drinking water treatment, so this contaminant is quite common. At a recorded 8.79 ppb, the Lincoln, NE levels of dibromochloromethane not only exceed the national average by a significant 5.83 ppb, but are also eight times higher than EPA recommended levels.
TTHM or total trihalomethanes refer to 4 chemicals and are linked to cancer. While the levels of TTHMs in Lincoln is less than the EPA mandated levels, it is 26.84 ppb above the national average.
This contaminant is linked to pregnancy issues and increased cancer risk. The level of dichloroacetic acid in Lincoln was 4.14 ppb higher than state averages and 2.18 ppb higher than national average figures.
Like the above, trichloroacetic acid is linked to cancer risks. The Lincoln water tests revealed that levels of trichloroacetic acid were just below the national average figures by just 0.44 ppb.
Contact your local water treatment company for any further questions.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.