Water Quality in Suffolk, Virginia
Watershed: Cedar Lake – Nansemond River
What is the water quality like in Suffolk, VA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Suffolk water.
What’s in Suffolk 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
- Haloacetic acids – 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).
10 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Suffolk’s water come from?
Suffolk’s water comes from the Cedar Lake – Nansemond River watershed.
12 of the 13 EPA assessed water sources in the Cedar Lake – Nansemond River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Burnetts Mill Creek
- Lake Meade
- Nasemond River – Upper, Upper Middle, and Lower Middle
- Shingle Creek – 2 segments
- Western Branch – tributary to Nansemond River.
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Western Branch Reservoir is in Good condition.
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 Suffolk’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 16 of the 17 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 – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- 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://www.suffolkva.us/ to find contact information for your local officials.