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The Five Best and Five Worst Cities for Water Quality

What are the criteria for good water quality?

Again, it will depend on who you ask or where you do your research. That being said, we can all agree that high quality tap water will contain the lowest levels possible of contaminants. Contaminants can include bacteria, organic, or made-made chemicals and compounds such as pesticides and residual pharmaceuticals. Most people are not immediately affected by water contaminants in tap water. However, over long periods of time, contaminants have been known to cause severe illnesses, such as cancer and liver damage. It is also important to note that even chemicals that are used traditionally in water supplies such as chlorine and fluoride can have dangerous effects on health.

An investigation by the Associated Press turned up significant quantities of pharmaceuticals in the tap water of 24 major cities. Some of the drugs found included anticonvulsants, antibiotics, sex hormones, and mood stabilizers. Note: Please do not throw old or unused medications down the toilet! Also, do not dump any chemicals or drugs down the drain. Contact your local public works department regarding proper disposal.

Other criteria for determining good water quality include: air quality, distance to primary untreated fresh drinking water, dependence on snow pack and water tables, history of trends of drought or saltwater intrusion, and population growth trends.† The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains data regarding the water quality of the nationís watersheds. The EPA bases their water quality criteria on how effectively the watershed supports its designated use. For example, Aspen and Vale Colorado come in at the top because their watershed supports its designated use by 99 percent.

No study can cover every city or town. Studies are often based on the most populated cities. Look into getting your local report and it never hurts to use a good water filtration system.

Top 10 Greenest Cities in the U.S.
How to Read Your Water Quality Report

Read more: Eco-friendly tips, Green, Health & Safety, Home, Household Hints, , ,

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8:15PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Great article. Thanks.

5:07AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Melbourne Australia has great water but if you go to Adelaide, put a peg on your nose coz it tastes gross...make that double gross!

5:23AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Only for Americans...

6:50AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Interesting. I wonder if the best cities can compare with the Swedish tap water? =)

5:53PM PDT on Sep 4, 2011


6:43AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

It would be nice to have had some criteria for the decisions. I cannot use San Francisco water because of the chloramine--not for drinking, bathing or even washing fruit and vegies. Please see for more information.

9:57AM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

I have to wonder how on earth are you measuring "quality". What measurements are involved... when it comes to your rating on San Francisco's noxious tap, I would have to bet you haven't even gotten to something as simple as a taste test. San Francisco tap is poisoned with chloramine which is impossible to filter out and makes it unsuitable even for bathing much less ingestion. In addition to being a toxic combination of ammonia and chlorine (a combination even a D biology or chem student knows not to mix) chloramine presents aerosol inhalation risks, is a very poor disinfectant (according to World Health Organization), kills amphibians (making a water main break an environmental impact event). I think it may be time to consider drawing from a more reliable source. I can never even gag down the semi-filtered water delivered at a restaurant or within a 30 mile radius of SF... my wife was shocked when I drank down the water served at an AppleBee's in Anchorage AK, but as I understand Alaska is now contaminating their own systems with chloramine! I don't know why you'd even write an article without conducting even the most superficial research of your own rather than regurgitation of some government sponsored "studies". Get a clue please!

7:34PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

San Francisco IS NOT!! one of the top TEN it has AMMONIA in the water aka Chloramine :P I HAVE to carry ~ Bottled water if I need to drink water Which I need to do A LOT cus I have Sjogrne’s Syndrome Dry Eyes (drops)+ Mouth Spray! Lots of Water
Nasal Spray 6 or more X’s a day! Some folks can't even have a shower, eat off plates, wear clothes with out an expensive filter!

1:33PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

I'm surprised at Concord NH making the worst list. This story could use a little documentation and explanation of how and why each city is where it is. Reminds me of Fox News.....

12:59AM PST on Dec 30, 2010


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