Santa Cruz, California
What is the Water Quality in Santa Cruz, California?
Compared to other US cities, Santa Cruz water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 24 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 408x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 320x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 812x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Santa Cruz water.
What’s in Santa Cruz water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 24 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
11 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Santa Cruz have Lead contamination?
No, Santa Cruz 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 removed.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Santa Cruz’s water come from?
Santa Cruz’s water comes from the Carbonera Creek – San Lorenzo River watershed.
7 of the 8 water sources in the Carbonera Creek – San Lorenzo River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Branciforte Creek
- Camp Evers Creek
- Carbonera Creek
- San Lorenzo River
- San Lorenzo River Lagoon
- Shingle Mill Creek
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Gold Gulch Creek is in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of three uses:
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Santa Cruz’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Santa Cruz 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 filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 80% 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 water filtration system for your whole 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: https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/government to find contact information for your local officials.