The Power of Information

National Drinking Water Database


362 systems serving 4,883,170 people

This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in Alabama, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. It is part of EWG's national database that includes 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results from 45 states and the District of Columbia. Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount. Despite this widespread contamination, the federal government invests few resources in protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place. The information below summarizes drinking water quality for this state.

Water Utilities
Population Served
Detected Chemicals
Exceed health guidelines*
Exceed Legal Limits*
Unregulated chemicals detected
* Water utilities are noted as exceeding the legal limit if any test is above the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Most MCLs are based on annual averages so exceeding the MCL for one test does not necessarily indicate that the system is out of compliance.

36 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

Contaminants detected in Alabama drinking water above health guidelines, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data obtained from state water authorities

Number of Systems
At Any Level Above Health Limits At Any Level Above Health Limits
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs)4,001,5663,785,786243215
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)4,031,6523,216,596252148
Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium)1,511,3631,511,3637474
Combined Radium (-226 & -228)985,374985,3741212

Water Utilities in Alabama Reporting Chemicals Exceeding Health Guidelines

Water utilities in Alabama reporting chemicals exceeding health guidelines, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data obtained from state water authorities, include:

Chemicals tested
Chemicals found
Chemicals exceeding
health guidelines
The City of Talladega20,550851611
Madison Water Works & Sewer39,0511231811
Water Works Board of Prattville39,0001221611
Montgomery Water Works237,3901262510
Mobile Area Water & Sewer System274,9951581510
Birmingham Water Works & Sewer Board585,0001441310
Sylacauga Utilities Board22,250121179
Irondale Water System8,492118159
Cherokee Water & Gas Department2,250121159
Oneonta Utilities Board16,986121179
Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer141,000121118
Geneva Water Works5,613120108
Brewton Water Works9,945121198
Hanceville Water Works5,811106118
Northeast Alabama Water System37,500120127
Winfield Water Works & Sewer Board9,00078107
Huntsville Utilities219,168119107
Scottsboro Water Works20,961119147
Bridgeport Utilities Board5,37379127
Colbert County Rural Water System10,73112097

Sources of Alabama Drinking Water Contaminants

The contaminants identified in Alabama drinking water come from a wide variety of sources, including agriculture, industry, water treatment plants, and polluted storm runoff from urban areas.

72Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2008)
19Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Arsenic (total), Chlorate, Cyanide, Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Dalapon, Diquat, Simazine, Metolachlor, Atrazine, Heptachlor epoxide, Bromomethane, Foaming agents (surfactants), Chlordane, p-Dichlorobenzene, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Ethylbenzene

21Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Tetrachloroethylene, MTBE, Nitrite, Xylenes (total), Dalapon, Cadmium (total), Antimony (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Cyanide, Foaming agents (surfactants), Benzene, Silver (total), p-Dichlorobenzene, Naphthalene, Chlordane

56Industrial Pollutants

Aluminum, Arsenic (total), Chlorate, Chlorine dioxide, Chlorite, Barium (total), Cadmium (total), Chromium (total), Cyanide, Lead (total), Manganese, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Silver (total), Antimony (total), Beryllium (total), Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Pentachlorophenol, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Dibromomethane, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, Foaming agents (surfactants), Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), p-Dichlorobenzene, Vinyl chloride, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, Carbon tetrachloride, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228, Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L)

15Water Treatment and Distribution Byproducts
(pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Bromoform, Chlorite, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Cadmium (total), Chloromethane, Chlorine dioxide, Chlorate, Vinyl chloride, Dibromomethane, Bromochloromethane

21Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Barium (total), Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Manganese, Radium-228, Radium-226, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L), Chromium (total), Aluminum, Selenium (total), Nitrite, Radon, Mercury (total inorganic), Chloromethane, Cyanide, Silver (total)

18Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Chlorate, Chlorine dioxide, Lead (total), Metolachlor, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Bromomethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Dibromomethane, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Radon

Testing Summary for Alabama

The federal government has set standards for some of the pollutants found in tap water supplies.

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in Alabama162
 Contaminants tested due to federal law: 110
 Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 52

Violation Summary for Alabama

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Alabama since 2004

Violation TypeNumber of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly2,079
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule140
Over maximum contaminant level, Average128
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria)85
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria)74
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria)56
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling28
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report8
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria)7
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria)7
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal6
Public Notification Violation for National Primary Drinking Water Regulations5
Improper Treatment Techniques1
Over maximum contaminant level, Single Sample1
Operations Report1
Filter Turbidity Reporting1
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria)1