San Diego, California
What is the Water Quality in San Diego, California?
Compared to other US cities, San Diego water quality ranks in the high-middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 30 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at very high levels: 23x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 96x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 302x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in San Diego water.
What’s in San Diego water?
Here are 5 other chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – 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).
16 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does San Diego have Lead contamination?
No, San Diego does not have lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations of 0.0 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 San Diego’s water come from?
San Diego’s water comes from the San Diego Bay watershed.
35 of the 38 EPA assessed water sources in the San Diego Bay watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Paleta Creek
- Paradise Creek
- Poggi Canyon Creek
- San Diego Bay – 24 segments
- Sweetwater River
- Switzer Creek
- Telegraph Canyon Creek
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Three segments of the San Diego Bay shoreline are 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 San Diego’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in San Diego 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 water filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 77% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of any Lead in San Diego water.
- Brita can filter 16 contaminants (53%) 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 26 of the 30 contaminants (87%), 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:
- Barium – In low doses, barium ions act as a muscle stimulant, and higher doses affect the nervous system, causing cardiac irregularities, tremors, weakness, anxiety, shortness of breath, and paralysis.
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chlorite – Potential change in blood chemistry.
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*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.sandiego.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.