Bismarck, North Dakota
What is the Water Quality in Bismarck, North Dakota?
Compared to other US cities, Bismarck water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 27 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 184x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 107x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 230x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Bismarck water.
What’s in Bismarck water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in Bismarck water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – 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 27 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
12 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Bismarck water have Lead contamination?
Yes, Bismarck has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2019 showed concentrations up to 17.1 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 Bismarck’s water come from?
Bismarck’s water comes from the Cottonwood Lake watershed.
All Four EPA assessed water sources in the Cottonwood Lake watershed are in Good condition. These include:
- Heart River
- Missouri River – 2 sections
- Tributaries to the Missouri River
Ideally, a water source would be 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
How can the rivers around Bismarck be in Good condition and the tap water be so bad/contaminated?
Most of the contamination in local tap water comes from industry run-off and improper pollution disposal. With mining and factories nearby, the chances of having contaminated tap water increase.
See below for what you can do to improve Bismarck’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Bismarck 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 some 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 90% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 26 of the 27 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Arsenic – health risks
- Barium – health risks
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks
- Chloroform – health risks
- Cyanide – health risks
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium
- Selenium – health risks
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
*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: http://www.bismarcknd.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.