Asheville, North Carolina
What is the Water Quality in Asheville, North Carolina?
Compared to other US cities over 50,000, Asheville water quality ranks in the low-mid range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 20 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes. Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 69x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Asheville water.
What’s in Asheville water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Dichloroacetic acid – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 20 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
8 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Asheville have Lead contamination?
No, Asheville does not currently lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2017 through 2019 showed concentrations of 0.0 parts per billion.
The legal limit for lead is 15 parts per billion. Being well-below this level is a good thing.
Concentrations between 3.8 ppb and 15 ppb put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels. Read more about the symptoms of Lead in water.
There is no safe level of lead for humans.
The good news is that 99.99% of the lead can be filtered out.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Asheville’s water come from?
Asheville’s water comes from the Beaverdam Creek – French Broad River watershed.
13 of the 15 EPA assessed water sources in the Beaverdam Creek – French Broad River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Beaverdam Creek
- Carter Cove
- Emma Branch
- French Broad River – one segment
- Killian Branch
- Linn Cove Creek
- McKinnish Branch
- Reed Creek
- Rice Branch
- Smith Creek
- Smith Mill Creek
- Spooks Branch
- Wolf Cove
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. One segment of French Broad River and the Swannanoa River are in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Asheville’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Asheville can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your home as well as things you can do at a community level.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 88.2% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 17 of the 20 contaminants in your whole house, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your home.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Heptachlor – banned insecticide still found in water and soil. Can be transmitted through breast milk.
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- PFHPA – a dangerous “forever chemical”
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: https://www.ashevillenc.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.