Can You Drink Washington DC Tap Water?

Can You Drink Washington DC Tap Water

[Updated: June 13, 2023]

Washington DC water quality ranks in the mid to high range for contaminants.

With a total of 36 contaminants in your drinking water, 12 of those exceed health guidelines.

Drinking unfiltered water from Washington DC water sources could be hazardous to your health.

Let’s look closer at DC water quality.

Washington DC Water Quality

Washington has a total of 36 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

12 of these 36 contaminants are rated as exceeding health guidelines.

They include things like Arsenic, Chloroform, and Nitrates.

Most of the 36 contaminants pose a risk of Cancer if allowed to stay in your drinking water.

Lead in DC Water

Washington DC drinking water has lead in it.

90 percent of samples taken from DC water sources had a lead concentration of 2.7 parts per billion (ppb) or less.

This is a very low level of lead contamination when compared to other cities. That’s great!

Here is how to compare Washington’s lead levels to risky levels.

Lead concentrations of 3.9 ppb to 15 ppb “put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels.” (

Here are a few of the lead poisoning symptoms for children under 6:

  1. Abdominal Pain
  2. Developmental Delay
  3. Learning Difficulties
  4. Fatigue
  5. Weight loss
  6. Irritability
  7. Hearing loss

There is no safe level of lead for humans.

So, What Can You Do?

Information about D.C. water quality can be surprising.

There are things you can do today to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

In Your Household:


  • Use Activated Carbon filters to remove most contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Faucet-mount filters work better than pitchers (and reduce lead content).
    • PUR and Brita are low-cost and effective.
Brita Lead Filtration
Brita Faucet Mount – Amazon
  • Alternatively, use Berkey water filters with activated carbon to filter out 28 of the 36 contaminants, or 77.8 percent, in your drinking water. (They also remove 99% of lead contamination in Washington DC water.)

Washington DC Whole House Water Filtration Systems

A whole house filtration system will filter out 32 of the 36 contaminants, or 88.9 percent, making it another effective choice.

A few things to note:

  • Whole house systems are much more effective than water pitchers like Brita and PUR.
  • However, the initial cost is higher and they require installation.

For a list of the contaminants that can be filtered out by a whole house system, go to Washington DC’s Water Quality page.

To filter out the highest number of contaminants, use our recommendations on the WaterBadge Filters page:

Conclusion: Can You Drink Washington DC Tap Water?

Not without a filter.

This small extra step can save you and your loved ones from health problems later.

You deserve to feel safe when you drink your own tap water.

At WaterBadge, our goal is to make that a reality.

To support this mission, we’ve partnered with companies that are dedicated to water filtration and safety.

When you purchase filters and systems through them, you’re also supporting WaterBadge’s mission of cleaner water for everyone.

Thanks for doing your part.

Want to learn more about water quality around the U.S.?

Search for your city here:


  • Is Boston Tap Water Good? – WaterBadge

    […] This is a high level of lead contamination when compared to other cities. […]

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