What is the Water Quality in Olympia, Washington?
Compared to other US cities over 50,000, Olympia water quality ranks in the lower-middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 20 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes. Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 250x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Olympia water.
What’s in Olympia water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – 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 20 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
14 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Olympia have Lead contamination?
Yes, Olympia has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 7.0 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 Olympia’s water come from?
Olympia’s water comes from the Ellis Creek – Frontal Budd Inlet watershed.
All 43 water sources in the Ellis Creek – Frontal Budd Inlet watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Adams Creek
- Budd Inlet
- Ellis Creek
- Indian Creek
- Mission Creek
- Ward Lake
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition.
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Olympia’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Olympia can be surprising and downright scary.
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 83.3% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 18 of the 20 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are typically more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Chromium (hexavalent)
- Dibromoacetic 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: http://olympiawa.gov/city-government.aspx to find contact information for your local officials.