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US Cities with the Worst Tap Water: Reno, Nevada

By Austin Armstrong September 29, 2021



Reno, Nevada, known as the world’s “biggest little city” has bigtime problems when it comes to water contamination. The city’s water supply exceeds EPA limits when it comes to levels of impurities like arsenic, manganese and tetrachloroethylene. 

Reno and its outskirts, like nearby Sparks, have drinking water contamination problems that exceed health limits and are cause for concern. Infact, 14 contaminants found in Reno city water exceed health standards set by the EPA and a total of 31 contaminants are considered to be concerning. 

Arsenic in drinking water is never a good thing. It increases the risk of cancer and has other serious health implications. Well water in Northern Nevada has high arsenic levels - not just in Reno and Sparks, but within the entire geographical region. Water in the rest of the state of Nevada is no better. Bacteria, chromium, cysts, lead, pesticides, prescription drugs, and other various organic and chemical impurities make their way into residential Nevadan taps everyday.  

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA), which serves Reno and Sparks residents with their tap water, is said to mix well water with water from the nearby Truckee River, an outflow water source for Lake Tahoe, in order to get tap water that meets EPA requirements. The TMWA made news recently when they announced conservation measures in anticipation of drought conditions in and near the Truckee River. Drought has serious consequences not only on our environment, but also within our bodies. Infectious diseases can be caused by drought. As a result of decreased rainfall, bacteria and viruses pollute ground and surface water - and make its way into our drinking water supply. Examples of drought-induced illnesses include respiratory issues, gastrointestinal illness, E. coli and salmonella. The people at highest risk for drought-related illness are those who get their water from private wells and those with chronic illness. 

For those who live in Reno, Nevada, investing in a quality water filtration device will give your family access to clean, quality drinking water, and give you the power over your tap. Simply put, we can’t trust that water supply agencies will get the job done when it comes to decontaminating our water. City water authorities work to remove contaminants but often fall short in the long run. In the end, impurities and contaminants slip through the cracks and find their way to residential taps all too often. Further down we’ll talk more about water filtration and how a water filtration system can provide your family with cleaner, healthier water, but first, let’s talk about how Reno’s water supply became so bad in the first place. 

How did this happen?

There are a few different factors that combine to create the perfect storm that makes a state’s water quality substandard. 

  1. Deteriorating infrastructure - The first reason deals with the infrastructure of the municipality supplying the water. In a perfect situation, public water pipes would remain in tip-top condition but in the real world, they don’t. Here’s a common example seen in deteriorating pipes: If a water pipe becomes old and starts to leak it can create a vacuum-like situation pulling untreated water in with treated water. When you turn on your faucet, your water would be both treated and untreated. 
  2. Deteriorating infrastructure (part 2) - Another problem with old pipes is that they can seep copper, lead and additional heavy metal impurities - inviting a dangerous and unhealthy cocktail of contaminants into your drinking cup.  
  3. Hazardous runoff - Hazardous tap water is also caused by runoff from farms and manufacturing plants, like car-making plants and coal mining plants. Runoff seeps into our water bodies and then gets into our water supply. 
  4. Adding chlorine - Municipalities often add chlorine to the water supply in order to improve the taste or smell of the water; but it’s not safe. 

How can I find out if my home has bad tap water in Reno, Nevada?

Ask your provider.

The first thing you should do is call or email your local water provider and ask them to give you a copy of the most up-to-date water quality report they have. This report will detail the exact tests done to the water in your area with the dates the tests were performed and the results of the tests. The test results will give you insight into what contaminants may have been detected in your water. After that you can decide to have further testing done or you could move forward satisfied with what the report says - either way now you have information about the likely contaminants in your water.  

Send samples for testing.

The most thorough testing will occur when you send out a sample of your tap water - this will also give you the most accurate results. You should always send your sample to a certified water-testing lab because they hire experts who will know what to look for. As an example: some chemical contaminants are hard-to-detect and can be overlooked by novice testers. Professional water labs will check for bacteria, chlorine, lead and pesticides as well as any specific contaminants you request. 

Test your water at home. 

You can also do it yourself and if that’s something you enjoy, there are water testing kits that can be purchased to make that happen. Professional lab testing is the most accurate and thorough way to test water - but with that said, at-home water testing kits can provide you with crucial information on your drinking water. 

You can buy a kit online or in your local hardware store. The test strip kit will give you instructions on how to perform a test at home. Here’s an important tip: when testing your water at home, yourself, do it twice. Testing your water two times will ensure that your results are accurate. If you find that impurities are present, consider investing in a good water filtration device. A good water filtration system will help you to eliminate many contaminants and bring your drinking water to its most healthy and pure state. Finding a good, reliable water filtration system may be a daunting task - so let’s talk about the best system available to you. 

Invest in The Water Machine. 

The Water Machine is the world's first all-glass, gravity-fed countertop water filter. It's design is both functional and stylish, making The Water Machine an eye-pleasing focal point in your kitchen - or wherever you decide to put it. The Water Machine features a sleek hammered-glass design and can filter up to 6,000 gallons of water over a 10-year span (if you consume a gallon-and-a-half of water a day).  Water filtered through The Water Machine is crisp and clean without a metallic or plastic aftertaste; it is some of the most delicious and refreshing water you'll ever enjoy. Plus our all-glass design helps reduce plastic waste in the environment. In fact, The Water Machine is committed to environmental causes, with a portion of all of our sales going toward clean water organizations including Water.org, who has given 36-million people worldwide access to clean, uncontaminated water; and Charitywater.org, whose goal is to bring clean drinking water to everyone on the planet. Please visit their websites to see more of the amazing work these organizations do. 

The Water Machine eliminates the following contaminants: Bacteria like E. coli, Chlorine, Viruses, Chloramines, Parasites, Fluoride, Heavy Metals, Trihalomethane (THMs), Pharmaceuticals, Petroleum Contaminants, Bisphenol-A (BPA), Radiologicals, Perfluorochemicals (PFOAS), and Herbicides & Pesticides.


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