Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa Iowa City, Iowa

Water Quality in Iowa City, Iowa

Watershed: Ralston Creek – Iowa River

What is the water quality like in Iowa City, IA?

Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Iowa City water.

What’s in your 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. Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
  4. Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
  5. Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer

These are five of the 15 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).

11 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 Iowa City’s water come from?

Iowa City’s water comes from the Ralston Creek – Iowa River watershed.

All 6 EPA assessed water sources in the Ralston Creek – Iowa River watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:

  • Iowa River – 2 sections
  • Muddy Creek
  • Ralson Creek
  • Unnamed tributary to Muddy Creek
  • Unnamed tributary to Ralston Creek

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

Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:

  1. Drinking Water
  2. Aquatic Life
  3. Fish and Shellfish Consumption
  4. Recreation

Learn more from How’s My Waterway

See below for what you can do to improve Iowa City’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 14 of the 15 contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Iowa City water.
    • Brita can filter 9 (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 14 of the 15 contaminants in your whole house, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your home.
    • These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
    • They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
      • Bromodichloromethane – health risks
      • Bromoform
      • Chloroform – health risks
      • Chromium (total)
      • Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
      • Hexavalent chromium
      • Molybdenum
      • Nitrate
      • Strontium
      • 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.icgov.org/city-government to find contact information for your local officials.

Water Quality in Other Iowa Cities

Iowa Water Quality Page

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