Water Quality in Erie, Pennsylvania
Watershed: Presque Isle Bay – Frontal Lake Erie
What is the water quality like in Erie, PA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Erie water.
What’s in Erie 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
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 28 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
14 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 Erie’s water come from?
Erie’s water comes from the Presque Isle Bay – Frontal Lake Erie watershed.
57 of the 135 EPA assessed water sources in the Presque Isle Bay – Frontal Lake Erie watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- Mill Creek – multiple segments
- Presque Isle Bay
- Multiple Unnamed tributaries to Lake Erie
- Multiple Unnamed tributaries to Mill Creek and the West Branch of Cascade Creek
- West Branch Cascade Creek – multiple segments
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Fourmile Creek, segments of Mill Creek, and multiple Unnamed tributaries in the watershed 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 Erie’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 24 of the 28 contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 25 of the 28 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:
- Arsenic – health risks
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromochloroacetic acid
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Selenium – health risks
- 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://cityof.erie.pa.us/government/ to find contact information for your local officials.