Denver, CO

Is Denver Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Last Update9:10 pm, September 2, 2021

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.91 in USD (1.5-liter)

User Submitted Ratings for Denver Tap Water

  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 20% Low
  • Water Pollution 35% Low
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 80% Very High
  • Water Quality 65% High

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Denver, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).

Can You Drink Tap Water in Denver?

Yes, tap water is drinkable.

Tap Safe includes data from many publicly available sources, including the WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for Disease Control), and user submitted databases, but unfortunately there's not enough data about Denver.

To see user submitted ratings of the water quality for Colorado, see the "User Submitted Ratings" box on this page.

Yes, Denver’s tap water is generally considered safe to drink as it met the EPA’s water quality mandates in its 2020 Water Quality Report. From April 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021 Denver’s Denver Water Board has had one Safe Drinking Water Act Violation, which was a monitoring violation, not a quality violation, and has been resolved.  One should not get sick from drinking Denver tap water. 

Though Denver’s tap water is generally safe to drink, one should consider the possible safety impacts of low levels of regulated contaminants, unregulated contaminants, and water quality issues caused by severe weather.

While Denver’s tap water is generally safe to drink, long-term residents may consider using water filters for their everyday drinking, as the EPA is still assessing the health impacts of long-term exposure to certain contaminants that they do not yet have regulations for, and long term exposure to certain contaminants which are already regulated, but below the currently acceptable levels. 

Where Does Denver Tap Water Come From?

According to Denver’s 2020 Water Quality Report, Denver Water Board obtains water for its customers from several sources:

Denver’s drinking water comes from rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs, and springs fed by high-quality mountain snow runoff. Denver Water’s supply is 100% surface water that originates in sources throughout 3,100 square miles of watersheds on both sides of the Continental Divide. 

Denver Water’s water sources are the South Platte River and its tributaries, the streams that feed Dillon Reservoir, and the creeks and canals above the Fraser River. Denver Water stores its water in five mountain reservoirs: Antero, Eleven Mile Canyon, Cheesman, Dillon, and Gross. The water is then sent to the metro area through a complex system of streams, canals, and pipes to be treated from these reservoirs. After treatment, drinking water is fed by gravity and pumps to a method of underground, clean-water reservoirs before continuing to your home or business. More than 3,000 miles of pipe carry water to Denver Water customers. 

Main Contaminants Found in Denver Tap Water

As we mentioned above, Denver tap water meets the requirements set by the EPA. For more precise information please see their 2020 Water Quality Report. Though Denver drinking water meets EPA standards that does not mean it is contaminant free as there are levels that the EPA considers acceptable. Though the EPA regulated contaminants must meet a certain threshold for the city’s water to be deemed acceptable, many are still present in the drinking water at some level. The EPA continues to evaluate the long term impacts of these chemicals as more research is available. For example, the rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.

Additionally, there are a number of “emerging” contaminants that the EPA has not determined acceptable levels for and is currently researching. For example, Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are also called ‘forever chemicals’ since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time. We do not yet fully understand the dangers of PFAS as they are currently being investigated. We do not have any information on PFAS in Denver’s drink water, so there may be a risk of contamination.

Lead piping is another potential source of contamination for many homes, both through service lines and in your home. The National Resource Defense Council has a great walk-through on how to determine if you may have lead service lines.

So while Denver’s tap water does meet the requirements set by the EPA, it still makes sense to try to purify the tap water further to reduce contaminants to lower levels.

Contaminants


Denver Water Board

EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Utility details

  • Serves: 1000000
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Surface water
  • Total: 31

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

  • Arsenic
  • Bromodichloromethane
  • Chloroform
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Dichloroacetic acid
  • Radium%2C combined (-226 & -228)
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
  • Trichloroacetic acid

Other Detected Contaminants

  • 2%2C4-D
  • 4-Androstene-3%2C17-dione
  • Antimony
  • Barium
  • Beryllium
  • Bromoform
  • Cadmium
  • Chlorodifluoromethane
  • Chromium (hexavalent)
  • Chromium (total)
  • Dibromoacetic acid
  • Fluoride
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
  • Molybdenum
  • Monobromoacetic acid
  • Monochloroacetic acid
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrate and nitrite
  • Selenium
  • Strontium
  • Thallium
  • Uranium
  • Vanadium

Reminder

Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

Can you Drink Tap Water from the Faucet in Denver?

Yes, Denver’s tap water is generally considered safe to drink as it met the EPA’s water quality mandates in its 2020 Water Quality Report. From April 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021 Denver’s Denver Water Board has had one Safe Drinking Water Act Violation, which was a monitoring violation, not a quality violation, and has been resolved.  One should not get sick from drinking Denver tap water. 

Though Denver’s tap water is generally safe to drink, one should consider the possible safety impacts of low levels of regulated contaminants, unregulated contaminants, and water quality issues caused by severe weather.

While Denver’s tap water is generally safe to drink, long-term residents may consider using water filters for their everyday drinking, as the EPA is still assessing the health impacts of long-term exposure to certain contaminants that they do not yet have regulations for, and long term exposure to certain contaminants which are already regulated, but below the currently acceptable levels. 

Where Does Denver Tap Water Come From?

According to Denver’s 2020 Water Quality Report, Denver Water Board obtains water for its customers from several sources:

Denver’s drinking water comes from rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs, and springs fed by high-quality mountain snow runoff. Denver Water’s supply is 100% surface water that originates in sources throughout 3,100 square miles of watersheds on both sides of the Continental Divide. 

Denver Water’s water sources are the South Platte River and its tributaries, the streams that feed Dillon Reservoir, and the creeks and canals above the Fraser River. Denver Water stores its water in five mountain reservoirs: Antero, Eleven Mile Canyon, Cheesman, Dillon, and Gross. The water is then sent to the metro area through a complex system of streams, canals, and pipes to be treated from these reservoirs. After treatment, drinking water is fed by gravity and pumps to a method of underground, clean-water reservoirs before continuing to your home or business. More than 3,000 miles of pipe carry water to Denver Water customers. 

Main Contaminants Found in Denver Tap Water

As we mentioned above, Denver tap water meets the requirements set by the EPA. For more precise information please see their 2020 Water Quality Report. Though Denver drinking water meets EPA standards that does not mean it is contaminant free as there are levels that the EPA considers acceptable. Though the EPA regulated contaminants must meet a certain threshold for the city’s water to be deemed acceptable, many are still present in the drinking water at some level. The EPA continues to evaluate the long term impacts of these chemicals as more research is available. For example, the rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.

Additionally, there are a number of “emerging” contaminants that the EPA has not determined acceptable levels for and is currently researching. For example, Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are also called ‘forever chemicals’ since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time. We do not yet fully understand the dangers of PFAS as they are currently being investigated. We do not have any information on PFAS in Denver’s drink water, so there may be a risk of contamination.

Lead piping is another potential source of contamination for many homes, both through service lines and in your home. The National Resource Defense Council has a great walk-through on how to determine if you may have lead service lines.

So while Denver’s tap water does meet the requirements set by the EPA, it still makes sense to try to purify the tap water further to reduce contaminants to lower levels.

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