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Benzene

Status: National drinking water standard exists

 

Benzene is a known human carcinogen. It also damages blood cells and the nervous system. Emissions from petroleum processing, hazardous waste landfills and underground storage tanks contaminate drinking water with benzene. Read More.

To protect against cancer risks, California set a public health goal for benzene in drinking water at 0.15 parts per billion, 30 times lower than the federal legal limit of 5 parts per billion.

Click here to read more about carcinogenic VOCs.

2015:

FOUND
FOUND ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES

16

states detected

40

utilities detected

488,000

people served

13

states over health guideline

30

utilities over health guideline

336,000

people served over health guideline

Health concerns for benzene

Cancer

Harm to blood cells

Harm to the central nervous system

Harm to child development

Harm to the immune system

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

Health Guideline 0.15 ppb

The health guideline of 0.15 ppb for benzene was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

ppb = parts per billion.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 5 ppb

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

ppb = parts per billion.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level Goal (MCLG)0 ppb

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

ppb = parts per billion.

States reporting benzene in drinking water

UTILITIES REPORTING ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served UtilitiesPeople Served
Virginia3155,5153155,515
New York003103,960
Tennessee192,506192,506
California346,360446,446
Texas1132,9551132,955
Louisiana00323,561
Minnesota11,963314,488
Wisconsin00111,900
Utah21,83021,830
Oklahoma11,79011,790
New Hampshire11,68811,688
Georgia38363836
North Carolina13911391
Colorado13831383
New Jersey12001200
Florida145145
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LESS

Utilities with the highest amounts of benzene, 2015

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Dalhart Municipal Water SystemDalhart, TX3 of 43.50 ppb8,256
Wright City Water Supply Corporation 1Troup, TX1 of 12.75 ppb1,242
Pineora SystemEden, GA8 of 81.49 ppb94
City of Jacinto CityJacinto City, TX3 of 31.43 ppb10,500
AdrianAdrian, GA4 of 41.38 ppb664
Northwest Harris County Municipal Utility District 23Bellaire, TX3 of 41.35 ppb3,528
Wakefield S/dRaleigh, NC4 of 51.29 ppb391
Comanche County Rural Water District #2Elgin, OK1 of 41.21 ppb1,790
Linda County Water DistrictMarysville, CA15 of 241.13 ppb13,800
Treichel Woods EstatesPinehurst, TX1 of 10.900 ppb183
Bethel Ash Water Supply Corporation Bethel Plant*Athens, TX1 of 30.830 ppb183
Hart Municipal Water SystemHart, TX1 of 10.830 ppb1,198
Powder Mill EstatesTomball, TX1 of 10.800 ppb342
Rollinsford Water and SewerRollinsford, NH1 of 30.667 ppb1,688
Red Cliff, Town ofGeorgetown, CO1 of 20.550 ppb383
Blooming PrairieBlooming Prairie, MN1 of 10.500 ppb1,963
M J C Water Supply CorporationPattonville, TX1 of 40.430 ppb942
Tarkington Special Utility DistrictCleveland, TX2 of 40.375 ppb4,031
Stoney Field Mobile Home ParkPittsford, NJ3 of 30.343 ppb200
City of Norco*Norco, CA2 of 40.288 ppb27,160
Ferron - Castle Valley Special Service District*Castledale, UT5 of 220.245 ppb1,630
Western Virginia Water Authority*Roanoke, VA3 of 140.226 ppb155,000
Long`s Mobile Home ParkFayetteville, GA1 of 30.213 ppb78
Hudson House AlfHudson, FL1 of 10.200 ppb45
City of HallettsvilleHallettsville, TX1 of 40.175 ppb2,550
Jackson Water SystemJackson, TN14 of 960.162 ppb92,506
Fort Polk South Water SystemFt. Polk, LA2 of 120.120 ppb5,610
Hunters Creek Mobile Home ParkOrchard Park, NY2 of 120.108 ppb150
State Of La Military Department - Camp MindenMinden, LA2 of 60.0900 ppb1,001
Clear Creek Mobile ParkKingston, CA1 of 20.0850 ppb86

* 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 Benzene, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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LESS
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
City of Jacinto CityJacinto City, TX3 of 31.43 ppb10,500
Linda County Water DistrictMarysville, CA15 of 241.13 ppb13,800
City of Norco*Norco, CA2 of 40.288 ppb27,160
Western Virginia Water Authority*Roanoke, VA3 of 140.226 ppb155,000
Jackson Water SystemJackson, TN14 of 960.162 ppb92,506
Minden Water SystemMinden, LA2 of 180.0422 ppb16,950
AlexandriaAlexandria, MN2 of 160.0331 ppb12,415
Cedarburg L & W CommissionCedarburg, WI2 of 240.0142 ppb11,900
HempsteadHempstead, NY1 of 600.00883 ppb56,000
Hicksville WDHicksville, NY1 of 1700.00318 ppb47,810

* 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 Benzene, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.