What is the Water Quality in Fresno, California?
Compared to other US cities, Fresno water quality ranks in the very high range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 53 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 165x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at very high levels: 16x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at very high levels: 67x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
- PFOA is at very high levels: 26x health guidelines.
- PFOS is at high levels: 2.1x health guidelines.
- These two are considered “forever chemicals” by the EPA and are being studied extensively.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Fresno water.
What’s in Fresno water?
Here are the top 7 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
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
- Uranium – Potential effect: Cancer
These are seven of the 53 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
17 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Fresno have Lead contamination?
No, Fresno does not have lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2018 showed concentrations of 0.0 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 removed.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Fresno’s water come from?
Fresno’s water comes from the Fanning Ditch – Fish Slough watershed.
There are no EPA assessed water sources in the Fanning Ditch – Fish Slough watershed.
Ideally, a water source would be Known, Assessed, and 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 Fresno’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Fresno can be surprising.
But there are things you can do in your home to clean up your water.
To Remove Lead and Other Contaminants In Your Home:
There is one solution that beats Brita, PUR, and expensive whole house systems.
- It costs less per gallon.
- Needs fewer filter changes.
- And it doesn’t make your water taste weird.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 70% of contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
- This includes Arsenic, Haloacetic acids, PFOA, PFOS, and Total trihalomethanes.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of any Lead in Fresno water.
- Brita can filter 32 contaminants (60%) 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 48 of the 53 contaminants (90.6%), 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.”
- 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)
- DBCP – soil fumigant causing male sterility at high exposure levels.
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Ethinyl estradiol
- Ethylene dibromide
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Perchlorate – used as oxidizers in propellants for rockets, fireworks, and highway flares. Also used to control static electricity in food packaging.
- 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.fresno.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.