Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California Santa Monica, California

What is the Water Quality in Santa Monica, California?

Compared to other US cities over 50,000, Santa Monica water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.

Most of their 30 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes. Arsenic is at extremely high levels: 171x health guidelines.

Let’s look closer at what’s in Santa Monica water.

What’s in Santa Monica water?

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

  1. Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
  2. Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
  3. Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
  4. Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
  5. Uranium – Potential effect: Cancer

These are five of the 30 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

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

Does Santa Monica have Lead contamination?

Yes, Santa Monica has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2014 through 2016 showed concentrations up to 3.0 parts per billion.

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 Santa Monica’s water come from?

Santa Monica’s water comes from the Santa Monica Beach – Frontal Santa Monica Bay watershed.

21 of the 22 EPA assessed water sources in the Santa Monica Beach – Frontal Santa Monica Bay watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:

  • Ashland Avenue Drain
  • Ballona Creek Wetlands
  • Big Rock Beach
  • Carbon Beach
  • Castlerock Beach
  • La Costa Beach
  • Las Flores Beach and Las Flores Canyon Creek
  • Las Tunas Beach
  • Malibu Lagoon Beach
  • Marina del Rey Harbor
  • Pena Canyon Creek
  • Santa Monica Beach
  • Santa Ynez Canyon
  • Sweetwater Canyon Creek
  • Temescal Canyon Creek
  • Topanga Beach
  • Tuna Canyon Creek
  • Venice Beach
  • Will Rogers Beach

Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Pico Kenter Drain is 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 Santa Monica’s water.

Conclusion – What Can You Do?

Information about water quality in Santa Monica 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.

In Your Home:
Take Control of Your Water with Berkey Filters

  • Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 77.8% of contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Santa Monica water.
    • Brita can filter 14 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
      • Brita will not filter out Arsenic or Uranium. Berkey will.
    • 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, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.

*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 California Cities

California Water Quality Page

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.