Riverside Tap Water Rated 2nd Worst in Nation

City officials say reports like EWG's inspire fear where there is no danger

Riverside residents may want to consider a good filter for their tap water following a recent water quality report. A public health advocacy group claims chemical pollutants found in the water supply make the city's tap water the 2nd worst in the nation. City officials say the groups is telling a misleading story.

In a report published by The Environment Working Group, a non-profit public health advocacy organization, water utilities in 100 cities with a population of more than 250,000 were rated based on the total number of chemicals and pollutants found in the water supply.

City of Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) rated at the bottom of the list -- 99th out of a 100. Riverside County was the 4th worst, according to EWG. The data was complied via public records from State agencies across the country including the California Department of Public Health.

The report found that from 91,584 tests conducted over a five year period in Riverside, 19 chemicals were found in "concentrations above health guidelines" and 6 chemicals were detected in concentrations above the legal limit established by the EPA.

Chemicals included Nitrate found in fertilizers, various pesticides, traces of arsenic, and  uranium.

City of Riverside officials say EWG is being careless and there is nothing to worry about.

"Bottom line: Riverside's water is safe to drink and meets or surpasses state and federal water quality requirements," said Kevin Milligan, RPU Assistant General Manager of Water.

"EWG reports like this inspire fear where there is no danger. It’s misleading. Riverside’s water has never had a water quality violation. Never,"  said RPU General Manager David Wright.

Milligan says the report does not indicate that samples used in the survey were from groundwater sources taken before treatment as required by California Department of Public Health and the EPA.

According to the LA Times, a spokesman for the Eastern Municipal Water District also said much of the water quality data from his agency was from untreated supplies. The county was No. 4 on the list from the EWG.

"If anything, this is a sad comment about the nature of groundwater in a heavily industrialized area," Milligan said. 

EWG says water utilities are forced to spend more than $4 billion a year on water treatment when cheaper measures could be taken to prevent the problem at its source. In contrast, the government spends less than one-twentieth of that in pollution prevention.

The Top 5 Worst Cities in the nation according to EWG were:

  • Pensacola, FL
  • Riverside CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Riverside County, CA
  • Reno, NV
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