What is the Water Quality in Burien, Washington?
[Updated: June 13, 2023]
Compared to other US cities, Burien water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 23 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 73x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 262x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 408x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Burien water.
What’s in Burien 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
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 23 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
11 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Burien have Lead contamination?
Yes, Burien (and the greater Seattle area) has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 5.5 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 Burien’s water come from?
Burien’s water comes from the Miller Creek – Frontal East Passage watershed.
76 of the 85 water sources in the Miller Creek – Frontal East Passage watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Barnes Creek
- Burien Lake
- Des Moines Creek
- Duwamish Waterway
- Elliott Bay – Multiple sections
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Nine water sources are currently in good condition. These include:
- North Creek
- Puget Sound (South-Central section)
- Multiple sections of Dalco Passage
- Parts of Elliott Bay
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Burien’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Burien can be surprising and downright scary.
But there are things you can do in your home to clean up your water.
- Test Your Water using Varify Home Test Kits or similar.
- To Remove Lead and Other Contaminants In Your Home:
- Use Activated Carbon filters to remove most contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out even more contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are typically more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Chromium (hexavalent)
- Chromium (total)
- Haloacetic acids
- Our recommendation: APEC Reverse Osmosis Systems
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.burienwa.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.