What is the Water Quality in Bakersfield, California?
Compared to other US cities, Bakersfield water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 41 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at exremely high levels: 594x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 87x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 281x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Bakersfield water.
What’s in Bakersfield water?
Here are the top 6 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are six of the 41 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
15 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Bakersfield have Lead contamination?
Yes, Bakersfield has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 14.0 parts per billion (ppb).
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 removed.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Bakersfield’s water come from?
Bakersfield’s water comes from the Kern Island Canal – Frontal Kern Lake Bed watershed.
There are no EPA assessed water sources in the Kern Island Canal – Frontal Kern Lake Bed watershed. There is due to a lack of sufficient water sources to analyze.
Ideally, a water source would be Known, Assessed, and rated 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 Bakersfield’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Bakersfield can be surprising.
But there are things you can do in your home to clean up your water.
To Remove Lead and Other Contaminants In Your Home:
There is one solution that beats Brita, PUR, and expensive whole house systems.
- It costs less per gallon.
- Needs fewer filter changes.
- And it doesn’t make your water taste weird.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 87% of contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
- To filter out 38 of the 41 contaminants (92.7%), consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- 1,4-Dioxane – “Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.”
- Arsenic – health effects in water
- Barium – In low doses, barium ions act as a muscle stimulant, and higher doses affect the nervous system, causing cardiac irregularities, tremors, weakness, anxiety, shortness of breath, and paralysis.
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Selenium – toxicity
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
- Xylenes – Hearing disorders have been linked to xylene exposure.
*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.bakersfieldcity.us/ to find contact information for your local officials.