What is the Water Quality in Waukesha, Wisconsin?
Compared to other US cities, Waukesha water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 27 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Arsenic is at very high levels: 131x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at very high levels: 32x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at very high levels: 85x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
- Radium is over the legal limit: 114x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Waukesha water.
What’s in Waukesha water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in Waukesha water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – (Over Legal Limit) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 27 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
11 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Waukesha have Lead contamination?
Yes, Waukesha has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2017 showed concentrations up to 1.6 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 Waukesha’s water come from?
Waukesha’s water comes from the City of Waukesha – Fox River watershed.
All 14 EPA assessed water sources in the City of Waukesha – Fox River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Fox River
- Saratoga Lake
- 10 Unnamed waterbodies
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 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 Waukesha’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Waukesha 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 84% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Waukesha water.
- Brita can filter 13 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
- *Radium is not filtered out using these pitchers.
- Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
- To filter out 25 of the 27 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
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks
- Cyanide – health risks
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
*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.waukesha-wi.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.