Los Angeles, California
Water Quality in Los Angeles, California
Watershed: Compton Creek – Los Angeles River (surface water)
What is the water quality like in Los Angeles, CA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in your water.
What’s in your 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
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 21 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
8 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 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.
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 21 contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
- Brita and PUR pitchers only remove 7 contaminants.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99% of Lead in Los Angeles water.
- Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
- To filter out 17 of the 21 contaminants, 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.