There is always lots of debate over which city and state has the best tap water in America. The fact is, tap water is not perfect anywhere. While some may succeed with respect to taste, they may fail with the presence of certain tasteless contaminants. For the purposes of this post, we will try to provide some general findings. Remember, regardless of whether your local tap water is deemed to be “high quality,” we always advise that you do some purification on your own to make your water as drinkable as possible.
Tucson consistently shows up on “best of” lists when it comes to pure water. According to Forbes.com, Tucson has low levels of haloacetic acid in its water supply. Haloacetic acid is what’s known as a chlorination disinfection by-product (CDBP). High levels of it indicate that the water required a significant amount of chlorine to disinfect it. In addition to being an indication that the original water source is laden with microbial life, haloacetic acid can also be cancer causing if it is consumed in elevated levels over many years. The fact that Tucson also had lower levels of bacteria suggests that the original source of the drinking water is largely free of harmful microbial life.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis may be a surprise to some people, yet it came in first place in a blind test performed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at its 75th annual meeting. Taste is not a great measurement of purity, however, so we need to ask how the city stacked up in other data-driven categories. It turns out, St. Louis is far below the limits set by the EPA for a number of water contaminants. In other words, the tap water is safe to drink, and it’s actually cleaner than the water found in many other cities.
San Jose, California
Several studies have rewarded San Jose with high marks, and they have also received a perfect score from Reader’s Digest. We might be able to explain part of this story with San Jose’s embrace of healthy, sustainable living. In fact, the city is working hard to recycle or reuse 100 percent of its wastewater within the next 15 years. More power to them.
Des Moines, Iowa
Forbes has previously called the tap water of Des Moines, the best in the country. That’s because the city consistently ranks high for having low levels of haloacetic acid, lead, bacteria, and turbidity. However, one thing to pay attention to with respect to water in Iowa, is the level of nitrates. Iowa has large farming operations and considerable fertilizer run-off. This can complicate water treatment and purification efforts.
At the end of the day, this post is worth a talking point or two at a dinner party, but not much more than that. If you live in the United States and you are drinking from a municipal water supply, you need to filter your water yourself.