What is the Water Quality in Irvine, California?
Compared to other US cities, Irvine water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 42 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 297x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 89x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 254x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
- PFOA is at extremely high levels: 264x health guidelines.
- PFOS is at high levels: 2.7x health guidelines.
- These are considered “forever chemicals” by the EPA and are being studied extensively.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Irvine water.
What’s in Irvine 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
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- PFOA – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
- Uranium – Potential effect: Cancer
These are seven of the 42 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
18 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Irvine have Lead contamination?
No, Irvine does not appear to have lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 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 Irvine’s water come from?
Irvine’s water comes from the Lower San Diego Creek watershed.
4 of the 6 EPA assessed water sources in the Lower San Diego Creek watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- Bonita Creek
- Newport Bay
- Peters Canyon Channel
- San Diego Creek Reach 1
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh and Santa Ana Delhi Channel 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 Irvine’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Irvine 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 75% of contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
- To filter out 39 of the 42 contaminants (92.9%), 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 effects in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Radon – 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://www.cityofirvine.org/government to find contact information for your local officials.