Water Quality in Denver, Colorado
Watershed: Cherry Creek – South Platte River
What is the water quality like in Denver, CO?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Denver water.
What’s in Denver water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 31 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
10 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 Denver’s water come from?
Denver’s water comes from the Cherry Creek – South Platte River watershed.
10 of the 12 EPA assessed water sources in the Cherry Creek – South Platte River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Cherry Creek – 2 segments
- Duck lake
- Ferril Lake
- Goldsmith Gulch
- South Platte River
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Lollipop Lake and Washington Park Lakes 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 Denver’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 31 contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Denver 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 31 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:
- 2,4-D – herbicide/defoliant (gets rid of leaves). Cancer risks. Sterility risks due to abnormally shaped sperm cells.
- Arsenic – health effects in water
- Barium – In low doses, barium ions act as a muscle stimulant, and higher doses affect the nervous system, causing cardiac irregularities, tremors, weakness, anxiety, shortness of breath, and paralysis.
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Selenium – toxicity
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*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://www.denvergov.org/Home to find contact information for your local officials.