What is the Water Quality in Harlingen, Texas?
Compared to other US cities, Harlingen water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 33 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at extremey high levels: 490x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 184x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 390x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Harlingen water.
What’s in Harlingen 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 (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 33 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
13 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Harlingen have Lead contamination?
Yes, Harlingen has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2018 showed concentrations up to 1.3 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 Harlingen’s water come from?
Harlingen’s water comes from the Line V Canal – Arroyo Colorado watershed.
9 of the 10 water sources in the Line V Canal – Arroyo Colorado watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Multiple sections of the Arroyo Colorado (Above Tidal)
- Multiple sections of the Arroyo Colorado (Tidal)
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. A single Unnamed drainage ditch tributary to South Arroyo Colorado is in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of three uses:
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Harlingen’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Harlingen 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 78% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 31 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:
- Carbon tetrachloride – toxic to the liver
- Hexadecanoic acid (palmitic acid) – increased risk of heart disease.
- Hexavalent chromium – carcinogenic
- Octadecanoic acid (stearic acid)
- 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: http://www.myharlingen.us/ to find contact information for your local officials.