Los Angeles, California
What is the Water Quality in Los Angeles, California?
Compared to other US cities, Los Angeles water quality ranks in the high-middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 30 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 430x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 103x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 184x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Los Angeles water.
What’s in Los Angeles water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Bromate – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
- Uranium – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 30 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
9 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Los Angeles have Lead contamination?
Yes, Los Angeles has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2016 through 2018 showed concentrations up to 5.2 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 Los Angeles’s water come from?
Los Angeles’s water comes from the Compton Creek – Los Angeles River watershed.
All 6 EPA assessed water sources in the Compton Creek – Los Angeles River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Avalon Drain
- Compton Creek – 2 segments
- Los Angeles River Estuary (Queensway Bay)
- Los Angeles River Reaches 1 and 2
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:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Los Angeles’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Los Angeles 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 25 of the 30 contaminants (83%), 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:
- 1,4-Dioxane – “Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.”
- Arsenic – health effects in water
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Selenium – toxicity
- 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: https://www.lacity.org/ to find contact information for your local officials.