Dubuque, Iowa

Dubuque, Iowa Dubuque, Iowa

What is the Water Quality in Dubuque, Iowa?

Compared to other US cities, Dubuque water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.

Most of their 19 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.

  • Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 72x health guidelines.
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 82x health guidelines.
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 240x health guidelines.
    • HAA5 and HAA9 are byproducts of chlorine treatment, a common method of disinfecting water supplies.

Let’s look closer at what’s in Dubuque water.

What’s in Dubuque 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. Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer

These are five of the 19 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).

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

Does Dubuque have Lead contamination?

Yes, Dubuque has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 9.0 parts per billion (ppb).

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 Dubuque’s water come from?

Dubuque’s water comes from the Frentress Lake – Mississippi River watershed.

5 of the 7 water sources in the Frentress Lake – Mississippi River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:

  • Catfish Creek
  • Frentress
  • Mississippi River – Multiple sections

Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. One section of the Mississippi River near Dubuque is in good condition along with O’Leary Lake.

Learn more from How’s My Waterway

See below for what you can do to improve Dubuque’s water.

Conclusion – What Can You Do?

Information about water quality in Dubuque can be surprising.

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

In Your Home:
Take Control of Your Water with Berkey Filters

  • Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 75% of contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Dubuque water.
    • Brita can filter 11 of 19 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 16 of the 19 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis Pentair 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:
      • 1,4-Dioxane
      • Androstenedione
      • Bromoform
      • Chloroform
      • Chromium (hexavalent)
      • Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)
      • Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)
      • Nitrate
      • Strontium
      • Total trihalomethanes

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.cityofdubuque.org/ to find contact information for your local officials.

Water Quality in Other Iowa Cities

Iowa Water Quality Page

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