The Power of Information

National Drinking Water Database


Townsend Water Department - Wilmington, DE


Serves 1,500 people - Test data available: 2004-2007

This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Delaware Health and Social Services- Division of Public Health. It is part of EWG's national database that includes 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results. 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 to protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place. The information below summarizes test results for this utility and lists potential health concerns.

 
This Drinking Water System
National Average
Exceed Health GuidelinesTests showing chemicals at concentrations above health guidelines established by federal and state health agencies. These guidelines are typically set at a levels that pose no significant health risk.
14 chemicals
4
Health Standard ExceedencesChemicals detected at concentrations above the legal limit, the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCLs) established by the U.S. EPA. 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.
0 chemicals
0.5
Pollutants FoundThe total number of contaminants detected since 2004, according to data provided by the state water agency.
30 chemicals
8
Tests ConductedThe total number of number of water quality tests conducted by water utilities and recorded in data provided by the state water agency.
3,046 tests
420

Contaminants Exceeding Health Guidelines

ContaminantAverage/
Maximum
Result
Health Limit
Exceeded
Legal Limit
Exceeded

Testing History

-Tested      -Detected      -Over Health Guidelines      -Over Legal Limit*
DibromochloromethaneDibromochloromethane is a disinfection byproduct from the trihalomethane (THM) family, and is formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.1.13 ppb
2.1 ppb
Yes
0.4 ppb
No
80 ppb
BromodichloromethaneBromodichloromethane is a disinfection byproduct from the trihalomethane (THM) family, and is formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.1.69 ppb
3.5 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
80 ppb
Dichloroacetic acidDichloroacetic acid is a disinfection byproduct regulated by EPA as one of five haloacetic acids that are formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.1.78 ppb
4.3 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
60 ppb
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs)Total haloacetic acids refers to the sum of the concentrations of five related disinfection byproducts in a water sample: dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monochloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid and dibromoacetic acid.2.53 ppb
5.9 ppb
Yes
0.7 ppb
No
60 ppb
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)Total trihalomethanes constitute the sum of four disinfection byproducts: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform.5.98 ppb
13 ppb
Yes
9.8 ppb
No
80 ppb
ChloroformChloroform is a disinfection byproduct from the trihalomethane (THM) family, and is formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.3.18 ppb
7.7 ppb
Yes
5.7 ppb
No
80 ppb
Arsenic (total)Arsenic contaminates drinking water due to mining runoff, erosion of natural deposits, emissions from glass and electronics processing and the use of arsenical compounds as wood preservatives and pesticides.0.21 ppb
0.7 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
10 ppb
Lead (total)Lead is a metal that enters water by corrosion of household plumbing systems, discharge of industrial pollution and erosion of natural deposits.0.27 ppb
1 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
BromoformBromoform is a disinfection byproduct from the trihalomethane (THM) family, and is formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.0.07 ppb
0.9 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
80 ppb
PentachlorophenolPentachlorophenol is a carcinogenic pollutant discharged from wood preserving factories.0.03 ppb
0.18 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
1 ppb
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalateDi(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate is a pollutant from rubber and industrial chemical factories and a leachate from PVC pipes; it is classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen.0.02 ppb
0.36 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
6 ppb
Thallium (total)Thallium is a highly toxic metal that contaminates the environment due to leaching from ore-processing sites, discharge from electronics, glass, and drug factories and historical use as rodenticide0.06 ppb
0.5 ppb
Yes
0.1 ppb
No
2 ppb
Dichloromethane (methylene chloride)Dichloromethane is a widely-used paint remover, solvent and metal degreasing agent; it is discharged into the environment from the manufacture of chemicals, textiles, electronics, metals and plastics, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.0.04 ppb
0.3 ppb
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 ppb
No
5 ppb
Alpha particle activityAlpha particles are a form of radiation released from mining waste pollutants and natural sources.0.19 pCi/L
0.33 pCi/L
Yes
MCLGA non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.: 0 pCi/L
No
15 pCi/L
NOTE: Each dot in the above graph represents one month.
* 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.

Other Detected Contaminants

ContaminantAverage/
Maximum
Result
Health Limit
Exceeded
Legal Limit
Exceeded

Testing History

-Tested      -Detected      -Over Health Guidelines      -Over Legal Limit*
Trichloroacetic acidTrichloroacetic acid is a disinfection byproduct regulated by EPA as one of five haloacetic acids that are formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.0.65 ppb
1.9 ppb
No
20 ppb
No
60 ppb
Barium (total)Barium is a mineral that enters drinking water through drilling and mining waste runoff, discharges from chemical industries and erosion of natural deposits.21.01 ppb
32 ppb
No
700 ppb
No
2000 ppb
ManganeseManganese is a naturally occurring element released from mineral deposits as well as industrial use.5 ppb
9 ppb
No
50 ppb
No
50 ppb
CopperCopper is a naturally occuring metal and drinking water contaminant that enters tap water by corrosion of household plumbing systems and erosion of natural deposits.36.45 ppb
133 ppb
No
300 ppb
No
1000 ppb
Di-n-butylphthalateDi-n-butylphthalate is an industrial solvent or additive used in many consumer products such as nail polish, cosmetics, some printing inks, pharmaceutical coatings, cleaning products and insecticides.0.06 ppb
0.6 ppb
No
700 ppb
Legal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
Chromium (total)Chromium is a metal that pollutes drinking water due to discharge from steel and pulp mills and erosion of natural deposits.0.42 ppb
2.7 ppb
No
100 ppb
No
100 ppb
TetrahydrofuranTetrahydrofuran is an intermediate in chemical manufacturing to produce food storage and packaging materials, rubber, resins and plastics, and is a solvent for dyes and lacquers.1.27 ppb
4.45 ppb
NoLegal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
DiethylphthalateDiethylphthalate is an industrial solvent used in many consumer products, particularly those containing fragrances; it may be present in perfume, cologne, deodorant, soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and other personal care products.0.12 ppb
2.27 ppb
No
1700 ppb
Legal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
Monobromoacetic acidMonobromoacetic acid is a disinfection byproduct regulated by EPA as one of five haloacetic acids that are formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.0.06 ppb
1 ppb
NoNo
60 ppb
Monochloroacetic acidMonochloroacetic acid is a disinfection byproduct regulated by EPA as one of five haloacetic acids that are formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.0.06 ppb
1 ppb
No
70 ppb
No
60 ppb
Dibromoacetic acidDibromoacetic acid is a disinfection byproduct regulated by EPA as one of five haloacetic acids that are formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.0.06 ppb
1 ppb
NoNo
60 ppb
NitrateNitrate enters drinking water sources from fertilizer runoff, leaching septic tanks, and erosion of natural deposits; it is also emitted by chemical, petrochemical and metal-finishing industries.0.02 ppm
0.3 ppm
No
10 ppm
No
10 ppm
NitriteNitrite is a chemical that enters water from fertilizer runoff, leaching septic tanks, and erosion of natural deposits.<0.01 ppm
0.1 ppm
No
1 ppm
No
1 ppm
Selenium (total)Selenium is a naturally occurring element that contaminates water due to mining or petrolum refining, fly-ash from coal-burning power plants, and irrigation of arid farmland soils high in selenium.0.13 ppb
1 ppb
No
50 ppb
No
50 ppb
Antimony (total)Antimony is a metal that enters water from petroleum refinery pollution, fire retardants, ceramics, electronics and solder.0.06 ppb
0.5 ppb
No
5.6 ppb
No
6 ppb
Silver (total)Silver is an element from natural deposits and mining wastes; it is also associated with the development of photographic and x-ray film and the use of silver in antibacterial consumer products.0.2 ppb
1 ppb
No
100 ppb
No
100 ppb
NOTE: Each dot in the above graph represents one month.
* 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.

Contaminants Not Detected - 161 chemicals

1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,2-Trichloroethane, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,1-Dichloropropene, 1,2 Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2-Dibromoethylene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,2-Dichloropropane, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, 1,3-Dichloropropane, 2,2-Dichloropropane, 2,4,5-t, 2,4,5-TP (Silvex), 2,4-d, 2,4-db, 2-Chloroethylvinyl ether, 2-Hexanone, 3-Hydroxycarbofuran, 4,4-dde, Acenaphthene, Acenaphthylene, Acetone, Acrylonitrile, Alachlor (Lasso), Aldicarb, Aldicarb sulfone, Aldicarb sulfoxide, Aldrin, Allyl Chloride (3-chloro-1-propene), Alpha Chlordane, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), alpha-Lindane, Aluminum, Anthracene, Aroclor 1016, Aroclor 1221, Aroclor 1232, Aroclor 1242, Aroclor 1248, Aroclor 1254, Aroclor 1260, Atrazine, Baygon (Propoxur), Bentazon (Basagran), Benzene, Benzo[a]anthracene, Benzo[a]pyrene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene & Benzo[k]fluoranthene, Benzo[g,h,i]perylene, Benzo[k]fluoranthene, Beryllium (total), beta-Lindane, bis(2-chloroethyl) ether, Bromobenzene, Bromochloroacetic acid, Bromochloromethane, Bromomethane, Butachlor, Butyl Benzylphthalate, Cadmium (total), Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Carbon tetrachloride, Chloramben, Chlordane, Chloroethane, Chloromethane, Chrysene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, cis-1,3-Dichloropropene, Cyanide, Dacthal, Dalapon, delta-BHC, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Di-n-octylphthalate, Dibenz[a,h]anthracene, Dibromomethane, Dicamba, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Dichlorprop, Dieldrin, Dimethylphthalate, Dinoseb, Endosulfan I, Endosulfan II, Endosulfan Sulfate, Endrin, Endrin Aldehyde, Ethyl Methacrylate, Ethylbenzene, Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Fluoranthene, Fluorene, Gamma Chlordane, Heptachlor, Heptachlor epoxide, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Hexachlorobutadiene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, Iodomethane, Isopropylbenzene, Lindane, m- & p- Xylene, m-Dichlorobenzene, Mercury (total inorganic), Methiocarb, Methomyl, Methoxychlor, Methyl ethyl ketone, Methyl isobutyl ketone, Methyl methacrylate, Metolachlor, Metribuzin, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Mtbe, n-Butylbenzene, n-Propylbenzene, Naphthalene, Nitrate & nitrite, o-Chlorotoluene, o-Dichlorobenzene, o-Xylene, Oxamyl (Vydate), p,p'-DDT, p-Chlorotoluene, p-Dichlorobenzene, p-Isopropyltoluene, para-para DDD, para-para DDE, Phenanthrene, Picloram, Propachlor, Pyrene, sec-Butylbenzene, Simazine, Styrene, tert-Butylbenzene, Tetrachloroethylene, Toluene, Total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Toxaphene, trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, trans-1,3-Dichloropropene, trans-1,4-Dichloro-2-butene, Trichloroethylene, Trichlorofluoromethane, Trifluralin, Uranium-238, Vinyl acetate, Vinyl chloride, Xylenes (total)

Pollution Summary

30Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2007)

Barium (total), Chromium (total), Copper, Manganese, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Silver (total), Antimony (total), Tetrahydrofuran, Diethylphthalate, Di-n-butylphthalate, Monochloroacetic acid, Trichloroacetic acid, Monobromoacetic acid, Dibromoacetic acid, Arsenic (total), Lead (total), Thallium (total), Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Pentachlorophenol, Dichloroacetic acid, Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromoform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Alpha particle activity

4Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Arsenic (total)

10Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Nitrate, Copper, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Nitrite, Antimony (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Silver (total), Di-n-butylphthalate, Diethylphthalate

18Industrial Pollutants

Barium (total), Chromium (total), Manganese, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Silver (total), Antimony (total), Tetrahydrofuran, Diethylphthalate, Di-n-butylphthalate, Arsenic (total), Lead (total), Thallium (total), Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Pentachlorophenol, Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Alpha particle activity

12Water 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, Monobromoacetic acid, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

11Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Barium (total), Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Manganese, Alpha particle activity, Chromium (total), Selenium (total), Nitrite, Silver (total)

4Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Tetrahydrofuran, Diethylphthalate, Di-n-butylphthalate, Lead (total)

EPA Violation Summary

Violation CategoryNumber of Violations
MCL and Treatment
(click see violations)
1

Information on violations is drawn directly from EPA's national violations database in the Agency's Safe Drinking Water Information System. Analyses by others have raised questions about the quality of the information in EPA's database. For the purposes of this investigation, EWG is not showing below or including in our analyses, those violations for individual water suppliers that occurred on days for which the total number of violations assigned by EPA to that water supplier was greater than 20. This criteria was based on common characteristics of incorrect violations data as identified by water utilities, from a review of EPA's violations data by several hundred utilities prior to the release of EWG's investigation.