Water Quality

How much do you know about your drinking water?

At El Paso Water, we monitor water for potentially harmful substances and qualities that affect taste, odor or appearance. Testing ensures that water meets or exceeds state and federal standards.

We are serious about water. A team of dedicated employees tests water for metals, microbiological components, water quality compounds and organic substances. Our instrumentation can detect substances at the parts-per-trillion level.


Drinking Water Report

You don't have to wonder about the quality of your water. Please read the latest Drinking Water Report, and find the answers to your questions.


 
2017 Drinking Water Report



Learn more about your water

Arsenic

Is there arsenic in El Paso’s water?  Arsenic occurs naturally as a constituent in many types of rocks and minerals. Some of the geological formations comprising El Paso’s aquifers consist of arsenic-containing rocks in nearby mountains. Some of the arsenic dissolves into El Paso’s groundwater over time.

Is arsenic in drinking water harmful?  In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a new health standard for arsenic in drinking water of 10 parts per billion, which is equivalent to less than a teaspoon of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The previous standard for arsenic was adopted in 1943 and was 50 parts per billion.

How does EPWater remove arsenic and meet regulations?   In order to comply with the new standard set by the EPA, EPWater designed and constructed the Upper Valley Water Treatment Plant. The Upper Valley Water Treatment Plant removes naturally occurring arsenic from drinking water. An iron salt is used to attract the arsenic as part of the removal process. Once arsenic reacts with the iron, the resulting precipitate settles and is filtered from the water, leaving arsenic-free water behind. The finished water is then sent to the Canutillo Booster Pump Station where it is then distributed to the Upper Valley, West Side and areas beyond the city limits.

Interesting Facts:  To date, the Upper Valley Water Treatment Plant is one of the largest facilities in the United States constructed as a result of the revised federal regulation on arsenic. 

Fluoride

What do we know about fluoride and fluoridation? Fluoride, a substance which prevents cavities in teeth, occurs naturally in El Paso’s water. The American Dental Association recommends a concentration at 1 part per million, and levels in El Paso tap water fall below or at that level. In other water utilities, water is “fluoridated” when a public water system adjusts fluoride to the optimal level.

Is fluoride in drinking water safe? Yes. Public health institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and the ADA conclude that extensive research demonstrates that fluoridation of public water supplies is safe when added or naturally present in the correct amounts. Because of the naturally occurring fluoride in El Paso’s water, child cavity rates have been reduced by up to 40 percent, according to the ADA. The CDC declared fluoridation to be one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the past century because of its contribution in the decline in tooth decay.

How can I tell if my water has fluoride in it? EPWater publishes a consumer confidence report annually that describes the source and quality of your drinking water and our efforts to ensure a high-quality water supply. The report is available at epwater.org, or please call 915-594-5733 to get a hard copy.

If you get your drinking water from a private well, you should have your water tested by a certified laboratory at least once a year. You can bring samples for testing to EPWater's International Water Quality Lab at 4100 Delta Drive. 

Lead

Is lead a concern in El Paso’s Water?  There is no lead in the source waters used for El Paso's drinking water, nor is there lead in the pipelines that carry water through the city or the service lines that lead into businesses and homes.  

Lead seldom occurs naturally in lakes and rivers, and it is seldom present in water at treatment plants. Lead in drinking water is usually caused by corrosion in water distribution systems and in the lead plumbing fixtures and lead solder commonly used in older homes.

How is lead monitored?  EPWater monitors lead levels at its water treatment plants, in the distribution system and in homes likely to have elevated lead levels. Lead is rarely detected, but when it is, levels are very low. The highest level detected recent samples was 80 percent below the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

How do you prevent lead from old home plumbing systems from entering the drinking water?  Because river water can be slightly acidic, EPWater adds phosphates to inhibit corrosion. This chemical creates a film in pipes that reduces the likelihood of lead leaching from lead plumbing systems. Water from the aquifers is not acidic, so corrosion inhibitors are not required.

Where can I learn more?  To learn more, visit the EPA website, or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

Unregulated Contaminants

What are unregulated contaminants?  As part of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking public utilities to monitor substances that are not regulated, known as unregulated contaminants. The intent of testing is to provide a baseline of occurrence that can later be combined with toxicological research to make decisions about potential future drinking water regulations.

What is EPWater testing for? These substances include but are not limited to pharmaceutical drugs, personal care products, toxic chemicals and hexavalent chromium.

What is the frequency of testing?  Every five years, the Environmental Protection Agency develops a list of roughly 30 unregulated contaminants for monitoring. After 12 months, the information is collected from participating utilities such as EPWater and analyzed for occurrence, routes of exposure and health effects.    

What happens next?  Dependent on the prevalence, the test results are used to help determine whether certain contaminants are found in drinking water and at what levels. EPA can then conduct further analysis in order to determine whether additional regulation is necessary. 


Are you interested in a chemical analysis of El Paso’s water?

Download report here:
Adobe Acrobat icon Download Chemical Analysis (PDF Document - 8 KB)

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