San Fransisco

The Five Best/Worst Cities for Water Quality

Your drinking water can come from a variety of different sources. Cities across the country draw access to water from sources like streams, rivers, lakes, and aquifers.  Depending on where you live, your tap water supply can be satisfactory or potentially dangerous to consume.  Is your drinking water safe? Here’s a list of the five best and worst cities for water quality:

The Five Best Cities for Water Quality:

5 – Portland, Oregon – The city gets its water from the Bull Run Watershed, which contains two reservoirs. Test results on the Bull Run water supply found very low levels of naturally occurring microbial contaminants such as as Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, fecal coliform bacteria and total coliform bacteria.

Portland Oregon

4 – San Francisco, California – The drinking water supply provided by the watersheds and related infrastructure exceeded water quality standards set by state and federal regulators, prompting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health to grant the environmentally protected Hetch Hetchy watershed a filtration exemption.

San Fransisco

The water from Hetch Hetchy is so clean, according to officials, the EPA’s exemption says that the SFPUC is not required to filter it.

3 – Louisville, Kentucky – Sand and gravel filtration and hundreds of daily tests ensure that even water from the not-so-untouched Ohio River flows from taps sweet and clean.


2 – Fort Collins, Colorado – Mountain snowmelt and the Cache La Poudre River are coal-filtered and chlorine-treated for a crisp, fresh taste.

Fort Collins

1 – Stevens Point, Wisconsin – Pulled from aquifers and treated with chlorine, fluoride, and phosphate, the silky, clean sip topped the American Water Works Association (AWWA) 2010 taste test.

Stevens Point


The Five Worst Cities for Water Quality:

5. San Diego, California– The eighth-largest city in the U.S., located in Southern California, contained eight chemicals exceeding health guidelines, as well as two chemicals that exceeded the EPA’s legal limit, according to California’s Department of Public Health. The total number of contaminants found was 20, with two exceed the EPA limit, trihalomethanes and manganese.

San Diego

4.  Houston, Texas – Eighteen chemicals that exceed the federal and state health legal limit were found in the fourth-largest city in the country. The city’s water supply comes from the surrounding rivers and lakes. Three chemicals exceeded EPA legal health standards compared to the national average of 0.5 chemicals. Hazardous chemicals such as alpha particles, a form of radiation, and haloacetic acids, from various disinfection byproducts, have been detected.


3. Reno, Nevada– Another city whose water supply comes from rivers and lakes contained 21 chemicals, with eight exceeding the EPA health guidelines. Three of these – manganese, tetrachloroethylene and arsenic – were discovered at illegal amounts.


2. Las Vegas, Nevada– The large amount of pollutants discovered in this city’s water supply is the reason it made the list. The water is supplied by the Colorado River. Of the 125 chemicals tested, 12 were found to exceed the health guidelines. These chemicals included radium-126, radium-228, arsenic and lead.

Las Vegas

1. Pensacola, Florida – Located on the Florida Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico, analysts said it has the worst water quality in the country. Of 101 chemicals tested, 45 that were discovered are harmless and 21 were discovered in unhealthy amounts. Chemicals such as radium-228, radium-228, tetrachloroethylene, alpha particles, benzine and lead were the worst chemicals found. Two other dangerous chemicals, cyanide and chloroform, were also found, making Pensacola’s water supply the most unhealthy water in America.



As you can see, where you are geographically plays a large factor in drinking water quality.  Municipalities treat their water from surrounding water sources, and these resources can be contaminated.  If you are unsure about your city’s tap water quality or want to protect yourself against potentially dangerous foreign contaminants in your tap water, you should use a refrigerator water filter.  Refrigerator water filters use activated carbon to remove harsh impurities from your home’s indoor water supply.  Using a fridge filter in your home can act as an extra defense against foreign chemicals and pollutants in your drinking water.  Enjoy the peace of mind of having better-tasting, clean, and healthy drinking water in your home.

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