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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Filtering out hexavalent chromium

Over the weekend, our local news station ran a story about hexavalent chromium being found in the City of Bend's water supply. Yesterday, the City of Bend released a statement that The Environmental Working Group (EWG) confirmed that the sample was taken from a private water utility that operates with the city - Avion Water. The Avion Water sample tested at was 0.78 parts per billion, ranked 10th among the 31 water systems studied.

The water to our house doesn't come from Avion or the City of Bend but Roats Water. Their line was busy yesterday as I'm guessing a lot of customers are concerned like me but I came across this great post yesterday from Big Green Purse on how to protect yourself.

Diane offers three simple steps (make sure you read her post):
  1. Don't buy bottled water
  2. Filter your water
  3. Contact your elected officials
I haven't filtered my water in years mainly because there was always a claim that Bend had the best water around but I may have to re-think that. And as a friend reminded me this week, we're pretty lucky to have a clean water supply. Some countries don't. Good way to think about it.


  1. Hey, did you read the article in the paper today? While I respect the EWG, it turns out they didn't use such great methods to collect their data and do their testing. They sent sample bottles to volunteers, who collected samples from the tap and then mailed them in for testing. Drinking water is supposed to be tested at the source. And if the test was from one sample from one person's tap - that's hardly scientifically valid. If they had tested multiple smamples from multiple locations in the water supply and consistently found Chromium 6, then I think we have something worth doing more reasearch about. (Sorry, that's the science/engineer in me busting out.)

    Also, the EPA sets limits for LOTS of chemicals in our water and Bend still has some of the cleanest water in the country. I think every drinking water supplier is required to publish an annual report about their water quality - I know Bend does that for City water. Roats is a pretty small supplier (their office is out of a little house!), so they may not have their report availble online.

    The article also noted that there are no labs in Oregon that can test samples at the low levels the EWG claims they detected. Granted, ANY level of Chromium 6 is probably not so great, but it is a chemical that naturally occurs in the environment. Just like Arsenic - obviously not good to ingest, but maybe not a big worry at these miniscule levels.

    Just trying to lower the stress level...

  2. I knew the "water geek" was going to leave a post :). I'm way less stressed when I was on Sunday and it's easy to filter your water. That was the whole point ... it you're worried just filter your water. Easy!

    We're lucky to have such a clean water supply in our country ... third world countries, not so much.

  3. I won't put added stress on you by asking whether the filters could even remove chemicals at these low levels... =)

    And, many urban areas in the US have drinking water that is downright NASTY - but meets stadnards, so it won't get you sick, but I wouldn't want to drink it.

  4. Study Methodology



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