Water Quality in Chico, California
Watershed: Lower Big Chico Creek
What is the water quality like in Chico, CA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Chico water.
What’s in Chico water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Nitrate – Potential effect: Cancer
- Nitrate and nitrite – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 33 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
7 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 Chico’s water come from?
Chico’s water comes from the Lower Big Chico Creek watershed.
Both EPA assessed water sources in the Lower Big Chico Creek watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These are:
- Big Chico Creek (Butte and Tehama Counties)
- Schoolhouse Creek
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
See below for what you can do to improve Chico’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 27 of the 33 contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Chico water.
- Brita can filter 14 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 29 of the 33 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 – may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
- Androstenedione – steroidal hormone side effects
- Arsenic – health risks
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Cadmium – poisoning can lead to weak and brittle bones.
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
- 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: https://chico.ca.us/government to find contact information for your local officials.