Schenectady, New York
What is the Water Quality in Schenectady, New York?
Compared to other US cities, Schenectady water quality ranks in the lower-middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 17 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 49x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 138x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Schenectady water.
What’s in Schenectady water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 17 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
11 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Schenectady have Lead contamination?
Yes, Schenectady has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2014 through 2016 showed concentrations up to 3.5 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 Schenectady’s water come from?
Schenectady’s water comes from the Poentic Kill – Mohawk River watershed.
All 6 water sources in the Poentic Kill – Mohawk River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Collins Lake – Impaired
- Iroquois Lake – Unknown
- Minor tributaries to Mohawk River – Impaired
- Mohawk River (multiple sections) – Unknown
- Poentic Kill and tributaries – Unknown
Ideally, a water source would be rated 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 Schenectady’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Schenectady 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 90% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 15 of the 17 contaminants in your whole house, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your home.
- 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. (Source)
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium
- 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: http://cityofschenectady.com/ to find contact information for your local officials.