EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE



City of Detroit

Nitrate, a fertilizer chemical, frequently contaminates drinking water due to agricultural and urban runoff, and discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks. Excessive nitrate in water can cause oxygen deprivation in infants and increase the risk of cancer. Click here to read more about nitrate.





Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)


Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
20120.520 ppm110.260 ppm - 0.520 ppm
20130.690 ppm110.380 ppm - 0.690 ppm
20140.390 ppm110.260 ppm - 0.390 ppm
20150.430 ppm110.280 ppm - 0.430 ppm
20160.520 ppm110.520 ppm
20170.950 ppm110.380 ppm - 0.950 ppm

ppm = parts per million

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EWG Health Guideline 0.14 ppm

The EWG Health Guideline of 0.14 ppm for nitrate was defined by EWG . This health guideline protects against cancer and harm to fetal growth and development.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 10 ppm

The legal limit for nitrate, established in 1962, was developed to protect infants from acute methemoglobinemia, a life-threatening disorder of oxygen transport in the body. This limit does not fully protect against the risk of cancer and harm to the developing fetus.

ppm = parts per million

All test results

Date Lab ID Result
2012-08-140.520 ppm*
2013-05-130.690 ppm*
2014-05-130.390 ppm*
2015-05-110.430 ppm*
2016-05-100.520 ppm*
2017-05-160.950 ppm*

* Sample result is taken from the system's CCR report.