Whether you’re brand-new to Ventura County or a longtime resident, it’s reasonable to wonder about the local water quality. After all, recent droughts and past wildfires could theoretically affect the quality of the water that comes out of your tap.
Luckily, it’s generally safe to drink the water in Ventura County. But that doesn’t mean it necessarily tastes good. If you are concerned about your tap water, look into a water softener or Drinking Water System!
Under state and federal regulations, the county creates an annual report on water quality.
In this short guide, we’ll relay the most recent findings and discuss the steps you can take to upgrade your tap water.
How Ventura’s Water Sources Affect Water Quality
If you live in Ventura County, you already know that drought conditions arise on a frequent basis.
Therefore, most of the drinking water in your tap comes from another source.1
- About 80% of Ventura’s water comes from the California State Water Project, which uses the 444-mile California Aqueduct to transport water held in a reservoir north of Sacramento throughout the state.
- The remaining 20% of water comes from local sources, including:
- The Las Posas Basin (extracted via well)
- The Ventura River
- Lake Casitas
The California Aqueduct is a concrete waterway that often flows above ground—therefore, it is exposed to open air, rain, runoff, and anything else it comes into contact with. As your water makes its long journey, it’s exposed to numerous potential contaminants.
- As California water travels overland, water absorbs minerals from the surrounding earth and from runoff.
- Viruses and bacteria can infiltrate the supply as it passes by farms and sewage treatment plants.
- Pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals can run off into the water, whether from industrial plants, agricultural sites, or residential areas.
- Finally, radioactive contaminants created by mining and other industrial processes can leach into passing water.
Heat and drought lead to evaporation, concentrating the water. This can lead to even higher concentrations of unwanted substances.
However, purification plants and frequent testing ensure that water never exceeds safety levels set by the FDA and local authorities.
How Ventura Water Safety Measures Up to Federal Guidelines
We’ve already told you that you can drink Ventura’s tap water.
But to assess Ventura county water quality, we’ll look at two measures: safety and aesthetics. If you want to drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day, you want to make sure it looks and tastes appealing!
Ventura water is exposed to potentially harmful substances first as it travels, and then again when it’s disinfected.
After treatment, the county found the following (safe) levels of hazards:
- Disinfectants are something you use in your kitchen every day, but you obviously don’t want to drink them. The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for bromate is 10 parts per billion (ppb). The highest contaminant level found in Ventura county was 8.4 ppb.1
- Inorganic chemicals – The government recommends less than 1,000 ppb of aluminum and 10 ppb of arsenic. You don’t want these chemicals in your drinking water. Ventura stacked up decently, with less than ⅓ of the recommended amount of aluminum in its water. Levels of arsenic reached 4 ppb in some areas, which might sound scary. But it’s still well within the safe range for most people.
- Radioactive chemicals – Ventura had no observed radium in 2019. While there were trace amounts of other radioactive chemicals, they aren’t a significant cause for concern.
- Lead – There was no observed lead at any of Ventura’s testing sites during the most recent water quality survey.
While the above levels are safe for adults and children, low levels of contaminants could take a greater toll on immunocompromised individuals.
If you or a family member has an immune deficiency, it may be worth upgrading the quality of your drinking water.
We’ve all been to an area where the tap water was just bad, whether because it smelled like rotten eggs, tasted like pennies, or simply looked wrong.
The good news? In Ventura, water has:
- No discernible odor
- A fairly transparent color (slightly darkened by organically occurring compounds)
- No detectable iron or manganese
Some results were less impressive. The county found more aluminum than it would like from the perspective of taste.
Likewise, testing found numerous minerals in the drinking water, including small amounts of chloride, sulfate, dissolved solids, calcium, and magnesium.
While none of these are concerning in and of themselves, the combination of numerous minerals can affect water flavor and “hardness.”
What is Hard Water?
You want calcium and magnesium in your diet. But you don’t necessarily want it in your water.
Why is that?
Hard water has a number of downsides in regards to taking a shower or trying to keep down the cost of homeownership. Hard water has the potential impacts on the following areas:2
- Comfort – Hard, mineral-rich water can leave a palpable residual on your skin after showering or washing your hands. Sometimes, it can feel difficult to get clean.
- Home maintenance – Mineral buildup can decrease the lifespan of your pipes, water heating system, household appliances, coffee maker, and just about anything else your water comes into contact with. You may have to repair or replace household items more frequently than homeowners in areas with softer water.
- Beauty – Many people find that hard water dehydrates their skin, causing irritation, eczema, and other issues. This often requires a more intensive moisturizing routine. Likewise, hard water can dry out hair and even strip hair dye from the follicle.
- Aesthetics – Hard water leaves spots and residue on plates and glassware. If you’re throwing a dinner party, you might be frustrated that nothing looks clean.
- Sustainability – Hard water reacts with soap to create more scum and fewer bubbles. People with hard water tend to take longer showers (leading to higher water bills).
Finally, many people dislike the taste of hard water, finding it chalky or minerally. Unfortunately, this is the case for many residents of Ventura County. Check out the water hardness level in Ventura, California.
Hard Water and Pets
Hard water affects people and their pets. Hopefully, your cat and dog aren’t too picky when it comes to water. But some pets, especially fish, will almost certainly have a negative reaction.
Ventura County notes that its water is not suitable in fish tanks. The high concentration of chloramines can affect fish, shellfish, and other aquatic life.
If you’re moving to Ventura with a scaly friend (or thinking of getting one), consult with your local pet store to find a suitable filter.
Other Factors that Affect Water Quality
The water supplied to you by Ventura County, and your municipality can be affected by other factors in the local vicinity.
- Occasionally, water mains are flushed to remove residue and improve water quality. But in the short term, this can actually reduce quality. Get in touch with the county to receive a flushing schedule that you can plan around.
- Some people still flush unused medication down their toilets, which can be reintroduced back into the local water system.
- Older homes may have lead plumbing. While there are tricks to avoiding lead exposure (i.e., running the tap for several minutes before drinking), it’s best to replace this out-of-date plumbing and upgrade to a safer material.
- Radon can contaminate air and drinking water. If you’ve never had a radon test in your home, consider scheduling one for peace of mind.
How to Upgrade Your Water
If you’d like to improve your water quality, there are numerous solutions. You might choose to upgrade your entire household or to put a filter in one specific area of your house for clean water.
A whole-house system can improve the taste of your drinking water and cut down on your overall maintenance costs. But if you’re renting and only care about the taste of your water, troubleshoot the specific area that concerns you: your bathroom, drinking water, etc.
You have several options for filtering out potentially harmful substances.
True “water softeners” use ionic exchange to pull minerals out of drinking water.
- Calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are physically replaced by sodium ions.
- This adds sodium (salt) to your water.
Water softeners help to eliminate many of the problems outlined above. Since minerals are completely removed, they’ll no longer degrade pipes, dehydrate skin, or show up on your glasses and flatware.
Salt-Free Water Conditioning
Sometimes called “salt-free water systems,” water conditioning systems don’t replace minerals with sodium. Rather, they change the chemical composition of minerals so that they stop collecting in pipes and appliances.
Minerals are still present in the water but are not having the same damaging effects.
If you want to go the extra mile, a more advanced reverse osmosis system pushes water through membranes to remove minerals along with the following compounds:
This is a popular choice for coffee aficionados who want to brew with perfectly pure, clean-tasting water. It also ensures better-tasting ice cubes.
Rayne Water’s Solutions to Improve Ventura County Water Quality
It’s one thing for your water to be safe.
It’s another thing altogether to actually look forward to a glass from your tap.
While bottled water can be a stopgap solution for issues of taste and drinkability, plastic water bottles ultimately contribute to the pollution that degrades our collective water quality over time. In contrast, adding a home filter saves on plastic while extending the lifespan of your appliances and piping.
At Rayne Water, we have solutions for every budget, from reverse osmosis to water conditioning to water softening. Get in touch today to make your Ventura County water supply clean and sustainable.
- Ventura County Public Works. Water quality report. https://www.vcpublicworks.org/wsd/waterquality/
- USGS. Hardness of water. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/hardness-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects