What is the Water Quality in Scranton, Pennsylvania?
Compared to other US cities, Scranton water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 30 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 97x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 332x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 531x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Scranton water.
What’s in Scranton water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in Scranton water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 30 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
14 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Scranton water have Lead contamination?
Yes, Scranton has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 26.0 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 Scranton’s water come from?
Scranton’s water comes from the Roaring Brook watershed.
The vast majority of the 624 water sources in the Roaring Brook watershed are in Good condition. These include:
- Bear Brook
- East Branch Roaring Brook
- Emerson Run
- Kellum Creek
- Lake Run
- Langan Creek
- Little Roaring Brook
- Roaring Brook
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 Scranton’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Scranton 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 some 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 the majority of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 27 of the 30 contaminants, 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 – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Strontium – wiki
- 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://scrantonpa.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.