The Power of Information

National Drinking Water Database


City of Tacoma Water Division - Tacoma, WA


Serves 305,000 people - Test data available: 2004-2008

This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Washington State Department of 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.
17 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.
1 chemicals
0.5
Pollutants FoundThe total number of contaminants detected since 2004, according to data provided by the state water agency.
28 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.
7,145 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*
ManganeseManganese is a naturally occurring element released from mineral deposits as well as industrial use.26.47 ppb
185 ppb
Yes
50 ppb
Yes
50 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.0.51 ppb
3.95 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
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.5.87 ppb
50.45 ppb
Yes
5.7 ppb
No
80 ppb
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)Total trihalomethanes constitute the sum of four disinfection byproducts: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform.6.55 ppb
54.4 ppb
Yes
9.8 ppb
No
80 ppb
TrichloroethyleneTrichloroethylene is used to remove grease from fabricated metal parts and in the production of some textiles; this pollutant comes from metal degreasing sites, metal finishing and rubber processing industries.0.43 ppb
3.53 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
Lead (total)Lead is a metal that enters water by corrosion of household plumbing systems, discharge of industrial pollution and erosion of natural deposits.1.58 ppb
9.5 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
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.2.55 ppb
16.13 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.20.61 ppb
38.06 ppb
Yes
0.7 ppb
No
60 ppb
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.0.04 ppb
0.6 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
RadonRadon is a radioactive breakdown product of radium and uranium in soil, rock and water; it is often present in groundwater.275.12 pCi/L
415 pCi/L
Yes
1.5 pCi/L
Legal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
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.0.11 ppb
1.53 ppb
Yes
0.4 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.0.43 ppb
7.4 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
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.11.44 ppb
21.94 ppb
Yes
20 ppb
No
60 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.56.17 ppb
416.94 ppb
Yes
300 ppb
No
1000 ppb
Mercury (total inorganic)Mercury is a metal from refinery and factory pollution, coal burning, landfill and agricultural runoff and erosion of natural deposits.0.07 ppb
2 ppb
Yes
1.2 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.0.01 ppb
0.44 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
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane is a synthetic chemical used for metal degreasing and in the production of paint, cement, paint removers and moth-proofing products.<0.01 ppb
0.2 ppb
Yes
0.1 ppb
Legal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
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*
Nitrate & nitriteNitrate and nitrite enter water from fertilizer runoff, leaching from septic tanks, and erosion of natural deposits.1.84 ppm
3.8 ppm
No
10 ppm
No
10 ppm
Bromochloroacetic acidBromochloroacetic acid is a disinfection byproduct, and is formed when chlorine, chloramines or other disinfectants react with organic and inorganic matter in water.0.27 ppb
1.11 ppb
NoLegal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
TrichlorofluoromethaneTrichlorofluoromethane (Freon 11) is a refrigerant, solvent, chemical intermediate and halocarbon aerosol that was banned in 2000 under the Montreal Protocol because of its ozone-depleting properties.0.13 ppb
3.8 ppb
No
700 ppb
Legal at any levelThis is the Federal Limit. State Limits may be lower.
trans-1,2-Dichloroethylenetrans-1,2-Dichloroethylene is a synthetic chemical used as a solvent, refrigerant, and in the production of pharmaceuticals; it is released as pollutant from various industrial chemical factories.0.03 ppb
0.45 ppb
No
100 ppb
No
100 ppb
TolueneToluene is a pollutant from petroleum refineries and a chemical used in plastics manufacturing as well as the pharmaceutical, paint and furniture industries.0.06 ppb
2.2 ppb
No
150 ppb
No
1000 ppb
Xylenes (total)Xylenes are a group of chemicals produced from petroleum and released as pollutants from chemical, plastics and synthetic fiber industries as well as printing, painting, and laboratory uses.0.89 ppb
30.1 ppb
No
1800 ppb
No
10000 ppb
EthylbenzeneEthylbenzene is a pollutant from petroleum refineries and industrial chemical factories; it is also used to make plastics, and may be present as an impurity in some insecticides.0.11 ppb
3.9 ppb
No
300 ppb
No
700 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.<0.01 ppb
0.28 ppb
No
70 ppb
No
60 ppb
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylenecis-1,2-Dichloroethylene is a pollutant discharged by various industrial chemical factories from the manufacture of plastic wrap, adhesives and synthetic fiber.<0.01 ppb
0.17 ppb
No
70 ppb
No
70 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.0.08 ppb
0.7 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.2.49 ppm
2.49 ppm
No
10 ppm
No
10 ppm
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 - 149 chemicals

1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, 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-Dichloroethane, 1,2-Dichloropropane, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, 1,3-Dichloropropane, 1,3-Dichloropropene, 2,2-Dichloropropane, 2,4,5-t, 2,4,5-TP (Silvex), 2,4-d, 2,4-db, 3-Hydroxycarbofuran, 4,4-dde, 4-Nitrophenol, 5-Hydroxydicamba, Acenaphthene, Acenaphthylene, Acifluorfen (Blazer), Alachlor (Lasso), Aldicarb, Aldicarb sulfone, Aldicarb sulfoxide, Aldrin, Alpha particle activity, Aluminum, Anthracene, Antimony (total), Aroclor 1016, Aroclor 1221, Aroclor 1232, Aroclor 1242, Aroclor 1248, Aroclor 1254, Aroclor 1260, Asbestos, Atrazine, Barium (total), Baygon (Propoxur), Bentazon (Basagran), Benzene, Benzo[a]anthracene, Benzo[a]pyrene, Benzo[b]fluoranthene, Benzo[g,h,i]perylene, Benzo[k]fluoranthene, Beryllium (total), Bromacil, Bromobenzene, Bromochloromethane, Bromomethane, Butachlor, Butyl Benzylphthalate, Cadmium (total), Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Carbon tetrachloride, Chloramben, Chlordane, Chloroethane, Chloromethane, Chromium (total), Chrysene, cis-1,3-Dichloropropene, Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Cyanazine (Bladex), Cyanide, Dalapon, DCPA di acid degradate, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Di-n-butylphthalate, Diazinon (Spectracide), Dibenz[a,h]anthracene, Dibromomethane, Dicamba, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Dichlorprop, Dieldrin, Diethylphthalate, Dimethylphthalate, Dinoseb, Endrin, EPTC (Eptam), Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Fluoranthene, Fluorene, Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L), Heptachlor, Heptachlor epoxide, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Hexachlorobutadiene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, Isopropylbenzene, Lindane, m- & p- Xylene, m-Dichlorobenzene, Malathion, Methiocarb, Methomyl, Methoxychlor, Metolachlor, Metribuzin, Monobromoacetic acid, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), n-Butylbenzene, n-Propylbenzene, Naphthalene, Nitrite, o-Chlorotoluene, o-Dichlorobenzene, o-Xylene, Oxamyl (Vydate), p,p'-DDT, p-Chlorotoluene, p-Dichlorobenzene, p-Isopropyltoluene, para-para DDD, Parathion (ethyl), Pentachlorophenol, Phenanthrene, Picloram, Prometon, Propachlor, Pyrene, sec-Butylbenzene, Selenium (total), Silver (total), Simazine, Styrene, Terbacil, tert-Butylbenzene, Tetrachloroethylene, Thallium (total), Total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Toxaphene, trans-1,3-Dichloropropene, Trifluralin, Vinyl chloride

Pollution Summary

28Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2008)

Arsenic (total), Copper, Lead (total), Manganese, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Trichlorofluoromethane, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Monochloroacetic acid, Dichloroacetic acid, Trichloroacetic acid, Dibromoacetic acid, Bromochloroacetic acid, Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromoform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Radon

4Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Arsenic (total), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Ethylbenzene

9Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Xylenes (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Trichlorofluoromethane

15Industrial Pollutants

Arsenic (total), Lead (total), Manganese, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Trichlorofluoromethane, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, Toluene, Ethylbenzene

11Water 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, Bromochloroacetic acid

8Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Manganese, Radon, Mercury (total inorganic)

5Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Lead (total), Trichlorofluoromethane, Bromochloroacetic acid, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, Radon

EPA Violation Summary

No violations were reported for this system since 2004.

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.