Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia

What is the Water Quality in Charleston, West Virginia

Compared to other US cities, Charleston water quality ranks in the low-mid range for contamination.

Most of their 18 contaminants are related to water treatment and have cancer-causing attributes.

Others, like Radium and Nitrates, can be naturally occurring or side effects of industrial activity: runoff, pesticides, etc.

Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Charleston water.

What’s in Charleston water?

Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:

  1. Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
  2. Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
  3. Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
  4. Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
  5. Trichloroacetic acid – Potential effect: Cancer

These are five of the 18 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

10 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.

Does Charleston Water Have Lead In It?

Thankfully, no. 90 percent of lead samples collected in Charleston measured below 0.0 parts per billion.

For more on Charleston Lead contamination, see EWG’s What About Lead?

Now let’s look at where Charleston water comes from and the condition of these water sources.

Where does Charleston’s water come from?

Charleston (city) water comes from water sources in the Rush Creek – Kanawha River watershed.

4 out of 25 waterbodies in the Rush Creek – Kanawha River watershed are in Good condition.

The remaining 21 waterbodies are either Impaired (13) or in Unknown Condition (8).

Learn more from How’s My Waterway here

Conclusion – What Can You Do?

Information about water quality in Charleston, West Virginia may be surprising and unsettling.

But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.

In Your Household:

  • Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 17 of the 18 contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Charleston water.
    • Brita will filter out 11 contaminants (including lead depending on the filter).
    • Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
  • To filter out 17 of the 18 contaminants in your home, consider a whole house water filtration system.
    • These are typically more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but will require fewer filter changes over time.
    • They have the benefit of filtering out the heavy hitters like:
      • Chromium (hexavalent)
      • Nitrate
      • Radium
      • Strontium
      • Vanadium

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: to find contact information for your local officials.

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