San Rafael, California
What is the Water Quality in San Rafael, California?
Compared to other US cities, San Rafael water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 24 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 40x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 168x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 350x health guidelines.
- HAA5 and HAA9 are byproducts of chlorine treatment, a common method of disinfecting water supplies.
- Radon is at extremely high levels: 65x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in San Rafael water.
What’s in San Rafael water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radon – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 24 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
12 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does San Rafael have Lead contamination?
No, San Rafael does not currently have lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2016 through 2018 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 filtered out.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does San Rafael’s water come from?
San Rafael’s water comes from the Larkspur Creek – Frontal San Francisco Bay Estuaries watershed.
All 4 water sources in the Larkspur Creek – Frontal San Francisco Bay Estuaries watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Corte Madera Creek
- McNears Beach
- Paradise Cove Beach (Central San Francisco Bay)
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 San Rafael’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in San Rafael can be surprising.
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 79% of contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
- To filter out 21 of the 24 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis Pentair water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9)
- Hexavalent chromium
- Total trihalomethanes
- Chlorate, a chemical that can damage the thyroid, is present in San Rafael’s water. It cannot be filtered out with our current technology.
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.cityofsanrafael.org/ to find contact information for your local officials.