Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Pawtucket, Rhode Island Pawtucket, Rhode Island

What is the Water Quality in Pawtucket, Rhode Island?

Compared to other US cities, Pawtucket water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.

Most of the 31 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.

  • Arsenic is at very high levels: 45x health guidelines.
  • PFOA is at extremely high levels: 193x health guidelines.
  • PFOS is at high levels: 3x health guidelines.
    • PFOA and PFOS are considered “forever chemicals” by the EPA and are being studied extensively.

Let’s look closer at what’s in Pawtucket water.

What’s in Pawtucket water?

Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in Pawtucket water and what health issues they can potentially cause:

  1. Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
  2. Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
  3. Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
  4. Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
  5. Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer

These are five of the 31 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

16 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.

Does Pawtucket have Lead contamination?

Yes, Pawtucket has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 12.0 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 Pawtucket’s water come from?

Pawtucket’s water comes from the Peters River – Blackstone River watershed.

34 of the 36 EPA assessed water sources in the Peters River – Blackstone River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:

  • Arnolds Brook
  • Barney Pond
  • Blackstone River
  • Crookfall Brook and tributaries
  • East Sneech Brook
  • Mill River
  • Monastery Brook and tributaries
  • Moshassuck River and tributaries
  • Mussey Brook
  • Olney Pond
  • Peters River
  • Scott Brook and tributaries
  • Scott Pond
  • Sneech Pond
  • Spring Brook and tributaries
  • 8 Unnamed tributaries to Blackstone River
  • Valley Falls Pond
  • West Sneech Brook and tributaries

Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Handy Pond Tributary and Woonsocket Reservoir #1 are in Good condition.

Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:

  1. Drinking Water
  2. Aquatic Life
  3. Fish and Shellfish Consumption
  4. Recreation

Learn more from How’s My Waterway

See below for what you can do to improve Pawtucket’s water.

What Can You Do?

Information about water quality in Pawtucket 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 some 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 minimum, 19 of the 31 contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead as well as PFOA and PFOS in Pawtucket water.
    • Brita can filter 19 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
    • Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
  • To filter out 28 of the 31 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:

*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: to find contact information for your local officials.

Water Quality in Other Rhode Island Cities

Rhode Island Water Quality Page

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