What is the Water Quality in Lancaster, Pennsylvania?
Compared to other US cities, Lancaster water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 23 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 86x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 371x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 661x health guidelines.
- HAA5 and HAA9 are byproducts of chlorine treatment, a common method of disinfecting water supplies.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Lancaster water.
What’s in Lancaster water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 23 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
11 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Lancaster have Lead contamination?
Yes, Lancaster has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 11.0 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 filtered out.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Lancaster’s water come from?
Lancaster’s water comes from the Lower Conestoga River watershed.
Most of the 129 assessed water sources in the Lower Conestoga River watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- 35 sections of the Conestoga River
- 8 sections of Stauffer Run
- 6 sections of Landis Run
- 3 sections of Stehman Run
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Witmer Run and Mill Creek are currently in Good condition.
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Lancaster’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Lancaster can be surprising.
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.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 82% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 20 of the 23 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis Pentair water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Atrazine – powerful herbicide
- Haloacetic acids HAA5
- Haloacetic acids HAA9
- Hexavalent chromium
- Total trihalomethanes
- Trichloroacetic acid
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://cityoflancasterpa.com/ to find contact information for your local officials.