Harrisonburg, Virginia

Harrisonburg, Virginia Harrisonburg, Virginia

What is the Water Quality in Harrisonburg, Virginia?

Compared to other US cities over 50,000, Harrisonburg water quality ranks in the lower-middle range for contamination excluding Lead.

Most of their 20 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes. Arsenic and Chloroform are at very high levels: 46x and 77x health guidelines, respectively.

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

What’s in Harrisonburg water?

Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:

  1. Arsenic – 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 20 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).

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

Does Harrisonburg have Lead contamination?

Yes, Harrisonburg has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 14.7 parts per billion.

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 Harrisonburg’s water come from?

Harrisonburg’s water comes from the Blacks Run watershed.

All 4 water sources in the Blacks Run watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:

  • Blacks Run
  • Newman Lake
  • Unsegmented tributaries

Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition.

Learn more from How’s My Waterway

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

Conclusion – What Can You Do?

Information about water quality in Harrisonburg can be surprising and downright scary.

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 87.5% of contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Harrisonburg water.
    • Brita can filter 9 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
      • Regular Brita filters won’t remove Arsenic or Barium.
    • Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
  • To filter out 17 of the 20 contaminants in your whole house, consider a whole house water filtration system.
    • These are typically more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
    • They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
      • Chloroform
      • Chromium (hexavalent)
      • Nitrate
      • Nitrite
      • Strontium

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.harrisonburgva.gov/government to find contact information for your local officials.

Water Quality in Other Virginia Cities

Virginia Water Quality Page

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