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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Polk City System

EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Utility Details

  • Polk City, Florida
  • Serves: 2,568
  • Data available: 2012—2017
  • Source: Groundwater

Contaminants Detected

6

EXCEED
EWG HEALTH
GUIDELINES

12 Total Contaminants

  • Legal does not necessarily equal safe. Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water meets the latest health guidelines.
  • Legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years.
  • The best way to ensure clean tap water is to keep pollution out of source water in the first place.

Legal ≠ Safe

EWG Health Guidelines fill the gap in outdated government standards.

The federal government’s legal limits are not health-protective. The EPA has not set a new tap water standard in almost 20 years, and some standards are more than 40 years old.

Contaminants Detected

Arsenic

Potential Effect: cancer763x EWG'S HEALTH GUIDELINE
THIS UTILITY3.05 ppb
EWG HEALTH GUIDELINE0.004 ppb
LEGAL LIMIT10 ppb
DETAILS
X

Arsenic is a potent carcinogen and common contaminant in drinking water. Arsenic causes thousands of cases of cancer each year in the U.S. Click here to read more about arsenic.

Arsenic was found at 763 times above EWG's Health Guideline.

EWG Health Guideline

0.004 ppb or less

This Utility

3.05 ppb

Legal Limit

10 ppb

National Average

0.688 ppb

State Average

0.515 ppb
The state and national averages were calculated using the averages of the contaminant measurements for each utility in 2015-2017.
ppb = parts per billion

Health Risks

The EWG Health Guideline of 0.004 ppb for arsenic 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.

Pollution Sources

agriculture icon

Agriculture

industry icon

Industry

naturally occuring icon

Naturally Occurring

Filtering Options

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

ion exchange icon

Ion Exchange

Nitrate

Potential Effect: cancer3.1x EWG'S HEALTH GUIDELINE
THIS UTILITY0.438 ppm
EWG HEALTH GUIDELINE0.14 ppm
LEGAL LIMIT10 ppm
DETAILS
X

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.

Nitrate was found at 3.1 times above EWG's Health Guideline.

EWG Health Guideline

0.14 ppm or less

This Utility

0.438 ppm

Legal Limit

10 ppm

National Average

0.938 ppm

State Average

0.264 ppm
The state and national averages were calculated using the averages of the contaminant measurements for each utility in 2015-2017.
ppm = parts per million

Health Risks

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.

Pollution Sources

agriculture icon

Agriculture

urban area icon

Runoff & Sprawl

naturally occuring icon

Naturally Occurring

Filtering Options

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

ion exchange icon

Ion Exchange

Radium, combined (-226 & -228)

Potential Effect: cancer15x EWG'S HEALTH GUIDELINE
THIS UTILITY0.75 pCi/L
EWG HEALTH GUIDELINE0.05 pCi/L
LEGAL LIMIT5 pCi/L
DETAILS
X

Radium, combined (-226 & -228)

more about
this contaminant

Radium is a radioactive element that causes bone cancer and other cancers. It can occur naturally in groundwater, and oil and gas extraction activities such as hydraulic fracturing can elevate concentrations.

Radium, combined (-226 & -228) was found at 15 times above EWG's Health Guideline.

EWG Health Guideline

0.05 pCi/L or less

This Utility

0.75 pCi/L

Legal Limit

5 pCi/L

National Average

0.47 pCi/L

State Average

0.59 pCi/L
The state and national averages were calculated using the averages of the contaminant measurements for each utility in 2012-2017.
pCi/L = picocuries per liter

Health Risks

EWG applied the health guideline of 0.05 pCi/L, defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal for radium-226, to radium-226 and radium-228 combined. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Pollution Sources

industry icon

Industry

naturally occuring icon

Naturally Occurring

Filtering Options

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

ion exchange icon

Ion Exchange

Thallium

Potential Effect: harm to internal organs2.5x EWG'S HEALTH GUIDELINE
THIS UTILITY0.250 ppb
EWG HEALTH GUIDELINE0.1 ppb
LEGAL LIMIT2 ppb
DETAILS
X

Thalium is a naturally occurring metal released into the environment from metal smelting and coal burning. Exposure to too much thalium can cause hair loss, liver damage, reduced sperm motility and nervous system impairment.

Thallium was found at 2.5 times above EWG's Health Guideline.

EWG Health Guideline

0.1 ppb or less

This Utility

0.25 ppb

Legal Limit

2 ppb

National Average

0.0064 ppb

State Average

0.0107 ppb
The state and national averages were calculated using the averages of the contaminant measurements for each utility in 2015-2017.
ppb = parts per billion

Health Risks

The EWG Health Guideline of 0.1 ppb for thallium 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 harm to internal organs.

Pollution Sources

industry icon

Industry

Filtering Options

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

ion exchange icon

Ion Exchange

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Potential Effect: cancer65x EWG'S HEALTH GUIDELINE
THIS UTILITY9.73 ppb
EWG HEALTH GUIDELINE0.15 ppb
LEGAL LIMIT80 ppb
DETAILS
X

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

more about
this contaminant

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform.

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) was found at 65 times above EWG's Health Guideline.

EWG Health Guideline

0.15 ppb or less

This Utility

9.73 ppb

Legal Limit

80 ppb

National Average

30.1 ppb

State Average

33.5 ppb
The state and national averages were calculated using the averages of the contaminant measurements for each utility in 2015-2017.
ppb = parts per billion

Health Risks

The health guideline of 0.15 parts per billion, or ppb, for the group of four trihalomethanes, or THM4/TTHM, was defined in a peer-reviewed scientific study by EWG and represents a one-in-one-million lifetime cancer risk level.

Pollution Sources

water treatment icon

Treatment Byproducts

Filtering Options

carbon filter icon

Activated Carbon

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

Uranium

Potential Effect: cancer4.5x EWG'S HEALTH GUIDELINE
THIS UTILITY1.95 pCi/L
EWG HEALTH GUIDELINE0.43 pCi/L
LEGAL LIMIT20 pCi/L
DETAILS
X

Uranium is a known human carcinogen. The federal legal limit for uranium is set at 30 micrograms per liter (corresponding to parts per billion), but utilities can also report uranium in picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is a measure of radioactivity in water. EWG translated all uranium results to pCi/L using a conversion factor developed by the EPA. With this conversion approach, the limit of 30 ppb corresponds to 20 pCi/L. Drinking water with this much uranium would cause more than 4.6 cancer cases in a population of 100,000. California set a public health goal for uranium of 0.43 pCi/L.

Uranium was found at 4.5 times above EWG's Health Guideline.

EWG Health Guideline

0.43 pCi/L or less

This Utility

1.95 pCi/L

Legal Limit

20 pCi/L

National Average

1.1 pCi/L

State Average

0.26 pCi/L
The state and national averages were calculated using the averages of the contaminant measurements for each utility in 2012-2017.
pCi/L = picocuries per liter

Health Risks

The EWG Health Guideline of 0.43 pCi/L for uranium 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. Three most common uranium isotopes are U-234, U-235 and U-238. All isotopes of uranium are radioactive, and the total radioactivity depends on the ratio of isotopes. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Pollution Sources

industry icon

Industry

naturally occuring icon

Naturally Occurring

Filtering Options

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

ion exchange icon

Ion Exchange

Includes chemicals detected in 2015-2017 for which annual utility averages exceeded an EWG-selected health guideline established by a federal or state public health authority; radiological contaminants detected between 2012 and 2017.


Other Contaminants Tested


Polk City System compliance with legally mandated federal standards:

  • From April 2016 to March 2019, Polk City System complied with health-based drinking water standards.

Information in this section on Polk City System comes from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online database (ECHO).

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS UTILITY

Water Filters That Can Reduce Contaminant Levels

ContaminantActivated Carbonactivated carbonReverse Osmosisreverse osmosisIon Exchangeion exchange
CONTAMINANTS ABOVE
HEALTH GUIDELINES
Arsenic
Nitrate
Radium, combined (-226 & -228)
Thallium
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
Uranium, combined (pCi/L)
OTHER CONTAMINANTS
DETECTED
Antimony
Barium
Fluoride
Glyphosate
Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
Manganese

Take Action

Contact Your Local Official

One of the best ways to push for cleaner water is to hold accountable the elected officials who have a say in water quality – from city hall and the state legislature to Congress all the way to the Oval Office – by asking questions and demanding answers.

LEARN MORE

Filter Out Contaminants

Check out our recommendations for filters to protect your water against the detected contaminants.

EWG’S WATER FILTER GUIDE