Water Quality in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Watershed: Tennessee River – Nickajack Lake Upper
What is the water quality like in Chattanooga, TN?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Chattanooga water.
What’s in Chattanooga 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
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 17 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
8 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Chattanooga’s water come from?
Chattanooga’s water comes from the Tennessee River – Nickajack Lake Upper watershed.
15 of the 20 EPA assessed water sources in the Tennessee River – Nickajack Lake Upper watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Baylor Lake
- Bee Branch
- Chattanooga Creek
- Citico Creek
- Fruedenberg Creek
- Mountain Creek
- Nickajack Reservoir
- North Market Street Branch
- Shoal Creek
- Short Creek
- South Chickamauga Creek
- Stanley Branch
- Stringers Branch
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Chickamauga Reservoir, Middle Creek, and North Chickamauga Creek 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 Chattanooga’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
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 14 of the 17 contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Chattanooga water.
- Brita can filter 6 contaminants (and 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 15 of the 17 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:
- 1,4-Dioxane – “Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.”
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- 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.chattanooga.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.