The Power of Information

National Drinking Water Database


Rhode Island


77 systems serving 983,259 people

This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in Rhode Island, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Rhode Island Department of Health. 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.



 
Chemicals
Water Utilities
Population Served
Detected Chemicals
80
77
958,426
Exceed health guidelines*
37
69
956,990
Exceed Legal Limits*
12
24
356,942
Unregulated chemicals detected
29
39
546,588
* 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.

37 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

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

Contaminant
Population
Number of Systems
At Any Level Above Health Limits At Any Level Above Health Limits
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)911,495885,1404025
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs)784,836784,8362020
Bromodichloromethane768,852768,8522424
Chloroform845,307764,9573820
Dibromochloromethane471,112471,1122121
Radium-228349,059349,0591919
Combined Radium (-226 & -228)345,389345,3891919
Bromoform229,345229,3451111
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate208,953208,9531313
Benzo[a]pyrene154,709154,70944

Water Utilities in Rhode Island Reporting Chemicals Exceeding Health Guidelines

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

System
Population
Chemicals tested
Chemicals found
Chemicals exceeding
health guidelines
City of Newport43,8091462916
Bristol County Water Authority51,0001452015
Town of Cumberland21,9001461913
RI Community Living & Support (Ladd3531291911
Westerly Water Department38,0001251811
Jamestown Water Department3,1781451310
City of Pawtucket99,1661482410
Kent County Water Authority70,0001472510
Stone Bridge Fire District2,500150149
Pascoag Utility District, Water Division3,500147109
Harrisville Fire District2,642148168
Woonsocket Water Department46,000153178
United Water Rhode Island17,500152157
North Tiverton Fire District8,96970127
Shadow Woods AT Deer Brook3012396
South Kingstown-South Shore3,81114176
Prudence Island Water District1,50014296
Portsmouth Water & Fire District16,2707586
Naval Station, Newport7,8716066
Saugatucket Springs11014995

Sources of Rhode Island Drinking Water Contaminants

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

80Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2009)
11Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Simazine, Metolachlor, Atrazine, Dacthal, 2,4-D, Chlordane, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Ethylbenzene

31Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Cadmium (total), Copper, Lead (total), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Antimony (total), Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Dacthal, 2,4-D, Naphthalene, MTBE, Fluorene, Phenanthrene, Pyrene, Di-n-butylphthalate, Chrysene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene, Benzo[k]fluoranthene, Benzo[a]pyrene, Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, Dibenz[a,h]anthracene, Benzo[g,h,i]perylene, Xylenes (total), Chlordane, Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Tetrachloroethylene, o-Xylene, n-Propylbenzene, m- & p- Xylene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene & Benzo[k]fluoranthene

59Industrial Pollutants

Barium (total), Cadmium (total), Chromium (total), Lead (total), Manganese, Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Antimony (total), Beryllium (total), Thallium (total), Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Acenaphthylene, Isophorone, Fluorene, Phenanthrene, Pyrene, Di-n-butylphthalate, Chrysene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene, Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, Dibenz[a,h]anthracene, Aroclor 1232, Aroclor 1248, Aroclor 1254, Aroclor 1260, Dibromomethane, 1,1-Dichloropropene, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, n-Butylbenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), o-Chlorotoluene, p-Chlorotoluene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, Carbon tetrachloride, Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Isopropylbenzene, Styrene, o-Xylene, n-Propylbenzene, m- & p- Xylene, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Uranium (mg/L), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228, Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L)

18Water Treatment and Distribution Byproducts
(pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Dichloroacetic acid, Trichloroacetic acid, Bromoform, Dibromoacetic acid, Monochloroacetic acid, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Cadmium (total), Chloromethane, Dibromomethane, Benzo[a]pyrene, Benzo[g,h,i]perylene, Benzo[k]fluoranthene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene & Benzo[k]fluoranthene

16Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Barium (total), Lead (total), Manganese, Radium-228, Radium-226, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L), Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Chromium (total), Combined Uranium (mg/L), Nitrite, Chloromethane

30Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Lead (total), Metolachlor, Dacthal, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Acenaphthylene, Isophorone, Fluorene, Phenanthrene, Pyrene, Di-n-butylphthalate, Chrysene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene, Benzo[k]fluoranthene, Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, Dibenz[a,h]anthracene, Benzo[g,h,i]perylene, Dibromomethane, 1,1-Dichloropropene, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, n-Butylbenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, o-Chlorotoluene, p-Chlorotoluene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, Isopropylbenzene, n-Propylbenzene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene & Benzo[k]fluoranthene


Testing Summary for Rhode Island

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

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in Rhode Island160
 Contaminants tested due to federal law: 89
 Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 71

Violation Summary for Rhode Island

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

Violation TypeNumber of Violations
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria)64
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report37
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling29
Over maximum contaminant level, Average28
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria)17
Inadequate reporting of information to the public13
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule11
Public Notification Violation for National Primary Drinking Water Regulations6
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal6
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria)5
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria)5
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria)5
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria)3
Initial Tap Sampling for Lead and Copper2
Over maximum contaminant level, Single Sample1
Other Non-National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Potential Health Risks1
Excess Turbidity at 1 NTU1
Excess Turbidity at 0.3 NTU1
Public Education1
Lead Service Line Replacement1