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EWG's Tap Water Database

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Nitrate and nitrite

Status: National drinking water standard exists

 

Nitrate and nitrite enter water from fertilizer runoff, septic tanks and urban runoff. These contaminants can cause oxygen deprivation for infants and increase the risk of cancer. Nitrite is significantly more toxic than nitrate. Click here to read more about nitrate.

2015:

FOUND
FOUND ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES

44

states detected

12,148

utilities detected

114 million

people served

31

states over health guideline

624

utilities over health guideline

2.1 million

people served over health guideline

Health concerns for nitrate and nitrite

Cancer

Harm to fetal growth and child development

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

Health Guideline 5 ppm

The health guideline of 5 ppm for nitrate and nitrite was defined by EWG based on studies by scientists at the National Cancer Institute and other independent researchers. This health guideline protects against cancer and harm to fetal growth and development.

ppm = parts per million.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 10 ppm

The enforceable federal standard that defines the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water.

ppm = parts per million.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level Goal (MCLG)10 ppm

A non-enforceable federal health guideline. For cancer-causing chemicals, these health goals are typically set to zero.

ppm = parts per million.

States reporting nitrate and nitrite in drinking water

UTILITIES REPORTING ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served UtilitiesPeople Served
Texas10984,0722,85018,128,786
New York1380,29031414,029,537
Illinois98302,6847898,671,218
Ohio1012,0114527,094,993
Georgia111,3475486,489,661
Virginia123,6957086,030,420
Missouri41,1429224,780,775
Arizona35631,4621594,629,244
Maryland1316,073854,385,638
Alabama28,3312754,269,595
California9563,790733,169,693
Oklahoma139188,6947623,135,100
Louisiana003572,824,203
Colorado22371642,784,817
New Jersey3447912,549,961
Nevada41,713912,499,360
Indiana196762,192,626
Washington2039,5233512,142,546
Arkansas003232,102,338
Oregon2212791,982,340
Utah1495811,522,888
Wisconsin521,225651,512,818
New Mexico121,7873261,475,002
Delaware3684,711106874,146
Mississippi00160708,439
Montana193,286633682,489
North Dakota00176530,336
Tennessee009440,525
Alaska204,676211415,540
North Carolina2620,355406368,238
Rhode Island248240363,186
Kansas003334,456
Wyoming97,257201260,834
South Carolina0063179,480
New Hampshire0057103,290
West Virginia213,9252399,847
Maine21659198,419
Idaho1551480,982
Kentucky27,974456,285
Michigan00133,816
Minnesota00211,876
Pennsylvania0027,149
Vermont004809
South Dakota001450
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Utilities with the highest amounts of nitrate and nitrite, 2015

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Santa MonicaSanta Monica, CA1 of 130.0 ppm92,185
Eola Water Supply CorporationEola, TX2 of 229.4 ppm113
City of WeinertWeinert, TX4 of 422.4 ppm208
Golf Mobile CityKailua-kona, OR1 of 119.1 ppm32
Wheeler Municipal Water SystemWheeler, TX4 of 417.7 ppm1,651
Thunderbird Farms Domestic Water Improvement DistrictMaricopa, AZ1 of 117.0 ppm1,600
Turkey Municipal Water System*Turkey, TX3 of 317.0 ppm421
Sol Y MarPharr, TX4 of 415.8 ppm103
Okarche Rural Water District Inc.Okarche, OK4 of 415.7 ppm250
Franklin Water Systems 3Southlake, TX12 of 1215.4 ppm92
Blue MoundBlue Mound, IL5 of 515.0 ppm1,300
Klondike Independent School DistrictLamesa, TX3 of 314.7 ppm231
Northside Water Supply CorporationVernon, TX4 of 414.7 ppm225
Grassland Water Supply CorporationTahoka, TX4 of 414.4 ppm55
Greenwood Terrace Mobile Home SubdivisionLas Cruces, TX4 of 414.4 ppm120
Rra Guthrie Dumont Water SystemWichita Falls, TX2 of 214.3 ppm402
Rra Hinds Wildcat Water SystemWichita Falls, TX4 of 414.3 ppm141
South Midland County Water SystemsMidland, TX1 of 114.2 ppm165
City of DodsonDodson, TX4 of 414.1 ppm109
Canadian County Rural Water District # 1Calumet, OK4 of 414.0 ppm750
Geary*Geary, OK9 of 913.7 ppm1,258
Sherwood Estates Manufactured Townhome CMidland, TX4 of 413.6 ppm150
OkarcheOkarche, OK4 of 413.3 ppm1,110
City of Byers*Byers, TX4 of 413.2 ppm496
Welch Water Supply CorporationWelch, TX3 of 312.6 ppm315
Twin Oaks Mobile Home Park MidlandLas Cruces, TX4 of 412.6 ppm234
WillowWillow, OK3 of 312.4 ppm114
Marion Water Co. Inc.Buckley, WA4 of 412.4 ppm716
Copper Mountain Ranch CfdCasa Grande, AZ9 of 912.1 ppm909
White Horse Ranch Owners AssociationPrescott, AZ2 of 212.1 ppm292

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Nitrate and nitrite, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Santa MonicaSanta Monica, CA1 of 130.0 ppm92,185
Chelan County PUD 1Wenatchee, WA1 of 19.17 ppm13,170
Goodyear Water Department*Goodyear, AZ4 of 47.73 ppm34,000
Enid*Enid, OK2 of 27.65 ppm47,950
City of Vernon*Vernon, TX4 of 47.52 ppm11,686
Elk CityElk City, OK1 of 16.96 ppm10,510
Decatur*Decatur, IL1 of 16.70 ppm81,860
City of ShafterShafter, CA1 of 16.60 ppm16,928
Liberty Water Lpsco*Avondale, AZ21 of 216.35 ppm45,298
Town of Gilbert*Gilbert, AZ2 of 26.30 ppm210,000
WeatherfordWeatherford, OK2 of 26.29 ppm10,833
Arizona Water Company - Pinal Valley*Phoenix, AZ14 of 146.19 ppm88,019
City of GrandviewGrandview, WA65 of 686.11 ppm10,922
City of TustinTustin, CA2 of 26.11 ppm69,100
Rehoboth Beach Water Department*Rehoboth, DE41 of 416.08 ppm30,000
Manhasset Lakeville WD*Great Neck, NY5 of 55.92 ppm44,600
Taylorville*Taylorville, IL14 of 145.91 ppm15,427
Aqua Illinois-Vermilion County*Danville, IL1 of 15.80 ppm38,000
Westbury WDWestbury, NY10 of 115.61 ppm20,500
Johnson UtilitiesScottsdale, AZ6 of 65.57 ppm62,158
City of AvondaleAvondale, AZ21 of 215.55 ppm79,335
City of Vienna*Vienna, WV2 of 25.33 ppm12,507
City of ModestoModesto, CA663 of 6685.31 ppm212,000
City of Garden GroveGarden Grove, CA3 of 35.28 ppm170,883
Mattoon*Mattoon, IL1 of 15.20 ppm19,000
City of BurkburnettBurkburnett, TX4 of 45.04 ppm10,927
Brookwood Comm. Water System*Fayetteville, NC40 of 455.03 ppm15,665
Epcor Water - Paradise Valley/ScottsdaleYoungtown, AZ1 of 14.95 ppm11,600
City of Scottsdale*Scottsdale, AZ1 of 14.90 ppm230,000
South Adams County Water and Sanitation District*Commerce City, CO10 of 104.88 ppm51,465

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Nitrate and nitrite, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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