What is arsenic?
Arsenic occurs naturally, distributed in the earth’s crust in soil, rocks, and minerals. It is odorless and tasteless.
How can arsenic get into groundwater and tap water?
Arsenic can get into groundwater from the erosion of rocks, soils, and natural deposits. It can also enter groundwater from agricultural and industrial activities (i.e., runoff from orchards, glass and electronics production waste, etc.).
Is my tap water safe to drink?
Yes, our water is clean, safe and secure. Tucson Water monitors and tests our drinking water for arsenic levels once every three years to ensure compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for public water systems nationwide. (10 ppb of arsenic in water is roughly the equivalent to a few drops of ink in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.)
Are there health problems associated with elevated levels of arsenic?
According to the EPA, some people who drink tap water with elevated levels of arsenic over many years may experience increased risk of skin damage, circulatory problems and cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate.
Where can I learn more about arsenic in tap water?
- View the testing results for arsenic in Tucson Water’s Annual Water Quality Report (current year 2012). Request a copy by calling (520) 791-2544.
- Have your tap water tested by a certified laboratory. Contact the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) at (602) 364-0720 to locate a certified laboratory or go online to view the AZDHS “List of Arizona Certified Commercial Drinking Water Laboratories.” Please note that labs may charge $20 to $100 to analyze one tap water sample.
- Go online to access “Arsenic in Drinking Water” (web page) and “Arsenic in Your Drinking Water” (brochure) from the EPA.
For more information, contact the Water Quality Division of Tucson Water at (520) 791-5945 or e-mail WQinfo@tucsonaz.gov.