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Is Scottsdale Water Safe to Drink?

Scottsdale, Arizona’s drinking water is sourced from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and wells. If you’re a Scottsdale resident or you’re considering a move to “The West’s Most Western Town,” you probably have questions about Scottsdale water quality.

In which case, is Scottsdale water safe to drink? 

According to the drinking water quality report of the Environmental Working Group—for the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019-March 2019)—the tap water of the city of Scottsdale did comply with “federal health-based drinking water standards.”

This means legally, yes, it is safe to consume the tap water in Scottdale. But there are still contaminants in this potable water source that you may want to know more about. In this guide, we’ll break down where Scottsdale water comes from, how it’s treated through water filtration, and what contaminants have been detected in the water. And, if you’re interested in exploring a water softener system in Scottsdale, we just what you need.

Let’s dive in. 

Scottsdale Water Quality 

The Scottsdale water hardness is 22-25 grain per gallon or 432 PPM and comes primarily from surface water (78%), groundwater (10%), and recycled water (12%).

Before the 1980s, the city was “100 percent reliant on groundwater” for its water supply. Today, the water supply of the city comes primarily from renewable surface water sources and recycled water, ensuring that the water supply will last for generations. This is why people prefer having their own water softener system.

Let’s explore these water sources a little more in-depth:

Surface Water 

The main surface water supply for the city is the Colorado River water. This water is moved to the Scottsdale Water Campus’ CAP Water Treatment Plant through the Central Arizona Project canal

There are three facilities in the CAP Plant that function as follows:

  • CAP I and II use a “conventional water treatment process” that includes pre-treatment, coagulation/flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection.
  • CAP III is treated using ultrafiltration membrane technology and disinfection. 

The Verde River and Salt River are also water sources of the Scottsdale water, which are channeled to the Chaparral Water Treatment Plant by the Salt River Project. This plant uses granular activated carbon and ultrafiltration membranes to treat the water. 

Groundwater 

While the city used to rely entirely on groundwater supplies for drinking water, today, only a small portion stems for aquifers below ground. Scottsdale currently has 23 active wells and oversees the operation of several groundwater treatment plants. The ADEQ, EPA, and Maricopa County regulates the treatment of groundwater to ensure that the quality complies and even exceeds the state and federal standards for drinking water. 

Recycled water 

As one of the most advanced and largest water recycling plants in the world, the Scottsdale water recycling facility treats water for residences and businesses , treating water well above federal drinking water regulations. This recycled water is also used for replenishing local groundwater supplies as well as turf irrigation.

Contaminants Detected in Scottsdale Water 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit—founded in 1993—that provides easily accessible information to people interested in learning more about the safety standards involved with food and water, farming and agriculture, personal care products, household products, and more. 

EWG’s 2019 tap water database found that Scottsdale’s water supply, while in compliance with federal standards, did contain 17 total contaminants, with seven of these exceeding EWG’s health guidelines. 

The EWG guidelines are primarily based on the public health goals established by scientists in the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. 

There are seven contaminants that exceed EWG guidelines found in the drinking water of Scottsdale. These include:

Arsenic 

It is a natural mineral that can be found in all drinking water in the U.S. Arsenic was found 871 times above EWG’s health guideline of 0.004 parts per billion or less in Scottsdale. Scottsdale’s arsenic levels are 3.49 parts per billion; the national average is .682 ppb; the legal limit set forth by the EPA is 10 ppb. 

According to EWG, the legal limit set forth of this contaminant is “not low enough to protect public health, potentially causing up to 600 cancer cases in 1 million people who drink arsenic-contaminated water for a lifetime.”

Chromium 

It is a carcinogen that may be found in water due to natural occurrences or industrial pollution. In Scottsdale, Chromium was found 177 times above EWG’s guidelines, which are .02 ppb or less. The city’s chromium levels are 3.54 ppb; the national average is .492 ppb; plus, EPA has not set any legal limit of chromium.

Haloacetic acids 

These are formed when chlorine fluoride and other disinfectants are mixed into the tap water. In Scottsdale City alone, these acids were found 112 times above EWG’s guidelines which indicate that water should only have .1 ppb or less of haloacetic acids. 

Scottsdale’s haloacetic acid levels are 11.2 ppb; the national average is 17.2 ppb, and the legal limit is 60 ppb. Health concerns associated with these acids include cancer and harm to fetal growth and development. 

Nitrate 

Nitrate is a fertilizer chemical that may contaminate water supplies due to agricultural and urban runoff. Nitrate was found in Scottsdale water supplies at a level 11 times above EWG’s guidelines, which indicate that water should include .14 ppm of nitrate or less. 

Scottsdale’s nitrate levels are 1.51 ppm; the national average is .937 ppm; and the legal limit is 10 ppm. Health concerns associated with nitrate in water include an increased risk of cancer and oxygen deprivation in infants. 

Nitrate and nitrite 

These are contaminants that get mixed into the water because of septic tanks, fertilizer runoff, and other urban runoff. These contaminants were found in Scottsdale water at a level 9.8 times above EWG’s standards (.14 ppm or less). 

Nitrate and nitrite levels in Scottsdale’s water supply is 1.37 ppm; the national average is .891 ppm; and the legal limit is 10 ppm. Like nitrate, nitrite can also cause an increased risk of cancer and oxygen deprivation in infants. 

Total trihalomethanes 

These are types of contaminants that form when chlorine and other disinfectants are mixed in during water treatment. The amount of trihalomethanes found in Scottsdale’s water supplies were 319 times above EWG’s standards of .15 ppb or less. 

Scottsdale’s water supply contains 47.8 ppb of these contaminants; the national average is 30.1 ppb, and the legal limit is 80 ppb. Health concerns associated with these contaminants include bladder cancer, skin cancer, and harm to fetal growth and development. 

Uranium 

This carcinogen was found in Scottsdale water at 3.8 times above EWG’s standards of .43pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or less. Scottsdale’s uranium levels are 1.61pCi/L; the national average is 1.09pCi/L, and the legal limit is 20pCi/L. Health concerns associated with this carcinogen include cancer and harm to the kidney. 

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Is Scottsdale water safe to drink?

Legally, yes, the water coming from the taps in the city of Scottsdale is safe to consume. But not everyone is comfortable sipping on H20 that contains more than half-a-dozen contaminants, from nitrates to uranium. 

Luckily, there is a safe, easy way to filter out unwanted contaminants in your tap water. 

At-home drinking water filtration systems—like reverse osmosis systems, ion exchange systems, and other drinking water systems—can purify your drinking water so you can rest easy knowing your family isn’t potentially being exposed to dangerous chemicals or carcinogens. 

At Rayne Water, veteran, factory-trained techs provide 24/hour service, so once your water filtration system is installed, you can have someone on call to help you address any issues you may run into and answer any questions that might surface. 

Rayne Water has been in business since 1928 and services all of California, Arizona, and Nevada. Interested in learning more about Rayne’s top-of-the-line water filtration products? Contact your local Rayne Water office today to drink water with the peace of mind you deserve.

Sources:

CDC. Choosing Home Water Filters & Other Water Treatment Systems https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/water-filters/step3.html

Environmental Working Group. City of Scottsdale. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=AZ0407098 

EWG. Arsenic. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/reviewed-arsenic.php 

EWG. Chromium. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminant.php?contamcode=1080 

EWG. Haloacetic Acids. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminant.php?contamcode=2456 

EWG. Total Trihalomethanes. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminant.php?contamcode=2950 

Scottsdale Water. 2019 Water Quality Report. https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/ScottsdaleAZ/Water/Water+Quality/2019+Water+Quality+Report.pdf