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Is Memphis Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 5:10 am, December 15, 2021
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Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Memphis?

Yes, Memphis's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Memphis has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. For the latest updates on Memphis water, please check out its Twitter page

According the EPA’s ECHO database, from Oct. 31, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2021, Memphis's water utility, Memphis Light, Gas, & Water, had 0 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. This assessment is based on the Memphis Light, Gas, & Water water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.

While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.

The EPA is reviewing if it’s current regulations around pollutant levels in tap water are strict enough, and the health dangers posed by unregulated pollutants, like PFAS.

Water Quality Report for Memphis Tap Water

The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Memphis tap water are in its 2020 Water Quality Report. As you can see, there are levels which the EPA considers to be acceptable, but being below the maximum allowable level doesn’t necessarily mean the water is healthy.

Lead in tap water, for example, is currently allowed at up to 15ppb by the EPA, but it has set the ideal goal for lead at zero. This highlights how meeting EPA standards doesn’t necessarily mean local tap water is healthy.

EPA regulations continue to change as it evaluates the long term impacts of chemicals and updates drinking water acceptable levels. The rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.

There are also a number of "emerging" contaminants that are not currently. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are called "forever chemicals" since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time.

We recommend looking at the contaminants present in Memphis's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.

Memphis Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years

Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Memphis Light, Gas, & Water for Memphis in Tennessee. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.

From May 1, 2013 to May 31, 2013, Memphis had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Repeat Major (TCR) which falls into the Microbials rule code group, and the Total Coliform Rules rule code family for the following contaminant code: Coliform (TCR).

From April 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013, Memphis had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Chlorine.

Is there Lead in Memphis Water?

Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the Memphis water system, Memphis Light, Gas, & Water, between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, 0.00875 mg/L of lead in Memphis water. This is 58.3% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from Memphis contained more lead.

While Memphis water testing may have found 0.00875 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.

No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.

Are there PFAS in Memphis Tap Water?

Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be at least one military base - Defense Depot Memphis TN - near Memphis with suspected leaks.

With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if Memphis has been evaluated for yet.

Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.

Memphis SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years

Compliance Period Status Health-Based? Category Code Code Rule Code Contaminant Code Rule Group Code Rule Family Code
05/01/2013 - 05/31/2013 Archived No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring, Repeat Major (TCR) (25) Total Coliform Rule (110) Coliform (TCR) (3100) Microbials (100) Total Coliform Rules (110)
04/01/2013 - 06/30/2013 Archived No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27) Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210) Chlorine (0999) Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200) Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)

What do these Violations Mean?

Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.

Health Based Violations

  1. Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
  2. Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
  3. Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.

Non-Health Based Violations

  1. Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
  2. Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
  3. Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.

SDWA Table Key

Field Description
Compliance Period Dates of the compliance period.
Status Current status of the violation.
  • Resolved - The violation has at least one resolving enforcement action. In SDWIS, this indicates that either the system has returned to compliance from the violation, the rule that was violated was no longer applicable, or no further action was needed.
  • Archived - The violation is not Resolved, but is more than five years past its compliance period end date. In keeping with the Enforcement Response Policy, the violation no longer contributes to the public water system's overall compliance status. Unresolved violations are also marked as Archived when a system ceases operations (becomes inactive).
  • Addressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and is addressed by one or more formal enforcement actions.
  • Unaddressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and has not been addressed by formal enforcement.
show details
Health-Based? Whether the violation is health based.
Category Code
The category of violation that is reported.
  • TT - Treatment Technique Violation
  • MRDL - Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level
  • Other - Other Violation
  • MCL - Maximum Contaminant Level Violation
  • MR - Monitoring and Reporting
  • MON - Monitoring Violation
  • RPT - Reporting Violation
show details
Code A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.
Contaminant Code A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.
Rule Code Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rule
  • 121 - Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 122 - Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 123 - Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Ground Water Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 331 - Nitrates
  • 332 - Arsenic
  • 333 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 111 - Revised Total Coliform Rule
show details
Rule Group Code Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
  • 120 - Surface Water Treatment Rules
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Groundwater Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 330 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rules
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
show details
Rule Family Code Code for rule family.
  • 100 - Microbials
  • 200 - Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 300 - Chemicals
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
show details

For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.

Memphis Water - Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT’S ON TAP?
When you think of Memphis, you may think of Elvis, BBQ, the Mississippi River or Beale Street, but there’s a treasure in Memphis that some people may not know about…our drinking water. Memphis water is some of the best tasting water in the entire world. Our customers depend on us to deliver pure water with excellent service. We are very fortunate to have an abundant supply of an incredible resource that is used for so many things. You need water to survive, and it’s so good here in the Bluff City all you do is go straight to the tap. Many businesses come to Memphis because the water has such a wonderful taste and is very affordable. Several microbreweries have popped up in the city 500’ Memphis Aquifer Figure
HOW DO I CONTACT MEMPHIS CUSTOMER SERVICE?
To contact customer service for the Memphis water provider, Memphis Light, Gas, & Water, please use the information below.
By Mail: P.O. BOX 430
MEMPHIS, TN, 38101-0430
HOW TO PAY BILL FOR MEMPHIS LIGHT, GAS, & WATER
Already have an account?

Existing customers can login to their Memphis Light, Gas, & Water account to pay their Memphis water bill by clicking here.

Want to create a new account?

If you want to pay your Memphis Light, Gas, & Water bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your Memphis water bill.

Want to pay without an account?

If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your Memphis water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.

HOW TO START & STOP MEMPHIS WATER SERVICE
Starting Your Service

Moving to a new house or apartment in Memphis means you will often need to put the water in your name with Memphis Light, Gas, & Water. In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.

Start Service Form

Want to create a new account?

Leaving your house or apartment in Memphis means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Memphis Light, Gas, & Water. In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.

Stop Service Form

Is Memphis Tap Water Safe to Drink? Tap water & safety quality

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.75 in USD (1.5-liter)

USER SUBMITTED RATINGS

Memphis tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 22% Low
  • Water Pollution 49% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 78% High
  • Water Quality 51% Moderate

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

Related FAQS

Memphis Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report)

The EPA mandates that towns and cities consistently monitor and test their tap water. They must report their findings in an annual Consumer Confidence Report. Below is the most recent water quality report from Memphis's Water. If you would like to see the original version of the report, please click here.

Memphis Water Quality Report 2020

Memphis Light, Gas and Water is proud to present its 2020 Water Quality Report, which includes required information about the testing, monitoring and treatment of our drinking water.

Memphis water meets or exceeds all state and federal water quality regulations again in 2020. This Water Quality Report guides you, the consumer, through required monitoring results and information on common contaminants that can be found in drinking water, including bottled water.

What’s on Tap?

When you think of Memphis, you may think of Elvis, BBQ, the Mississippi River or Beale Street, but there’s a treasure in Memphis that some people may not know about…our drinking water. Memphis water is some of the best tasting water in the entire world. Our customers depend on us to deliver pure water with excellent service. We are very fortunate to have an abundant supply of an incredible resource that is used for so many things. You need water to survive, and it’s so good here in the Bluff City all you do is go straight to the tap. Many businesses come to Memphis because the water has such a wonderful taste and is very affordable. Several microbreweries have popped up in the city

Mississippi River Alluvium

Loess & Terrace Deposits

 

Alluvium

Clay

 

500’ Memphis Aquifer

 

Clay

 

Fort Pillow Sand Aquifer

 

Clay

 

2500’ Aquifer

 

Clay

Co￿ee Sand Aquifer

Bedrock

Figure 1

and some attribute the great taste of their product to having such a wonderful source of water. The great taste is partly due to the fact that the water has very few minerals so that it can be used with minimal treatment after it is withdrawn from underground wells.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily pose a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791. Sources: EPA and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Our water comes from an underground aquifer known as the Memphis Aquifer. The reservoir is located 350 to 1,100 feet below ground. By looking at Figure 1, you'll see the aquifers are made up of layers of clay, sand and gravel. Those layers act as a natural filter removing many impurities from the water. The wells connected into this system are commonly known as “artesian wells” because they draw the naturally purified water to the surface by releasing the built-up pressure which forces the water up the well like liquid through a straw. Some experts believe the water we drink today began as raindrops over 2,000 years ago.

After the water is collected, MLGW’s Water Quality Assurance Laboratory ensures our water’s quality and safety through a battery of tests (close to

Electric

 

 

 

Pump

Residential

Commercial

Industrial

 

The

Aeration

Process

Distribution Mains

The Treatment

and Distribution

Process

Sand

Filter

Finished Water

Pump

Reservoir

 

500’ Well

40,000 a year). Memphis is one of the largest cities in the world with a water supply that relies exclusively on artesian wells.

Other drinking water sources

In addition to underground aquifers where MLGW pumps our water from, drinking water sources (both tap and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity.

Contaminants That May Be Present In Source Water:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial, or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation prescribe regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.”

While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among people in the U.S.

Source water and wellhead protection

An explanation of Tennessee’s Source Water Assessment Program, the Source Water Assessment summaries, susceptibility scorings, and the overall TDEC report to the EPA can be viewed online at: tn.gov/environment.

MLGW’s wellhead protection plan and source water assessment are available for public review by calling Quinton Clark, Manager, Water Engineering and Operations, at 901-320-3939, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday- Friday.

For more information on groundwater protection, call the EPA at 800-490-9198 to request a copy of the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Ground Water Protection. You also can view it online by searching for the title, EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Ground-Water Protection or by clicking here: EPA's Citizen's Guide.

Opportunities to discuss water quality issues

MLGW holds meetings of its Board of Commissioners, which are open to the public, on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 8:30 a.m. The meetings are held in MLGW’s Administration Building, 220 South Main Street, Memphis, TN.

Visit mlgw.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

to find out how to discuss water quality issues at a Board meeting. Send your questions for the Board of Commissioners to corpcomm@mlgw.org 24 hours before the Board meeting.

Public meetings are also held periodically by the Shelby County Groundwater Control Board. For more information on the time and location of future meetings, call the Water Quality Section of the Shelby County Health Department at 901-222-9599.

Unregulated Contaminant

Monitoring Rule

The EPA requires MLGW to participate in the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). This testing identifies chemical contaminants in drinking water that may require future regulation.

2020 Water Quality Table

RESULTS OF INORGANIC ANALYSES

Component

Average Amount

Detected

Maximum

Maximum

Contaminant Level

Contaminant Level

(MCL)

Goal (MCLG)

Range of

Levels Detected

Major Sources

in Drinking Water

FLUORIDE

0.6

4.0

4.0

0.49-0.7

Erosion of natural

 

parts per million

parts per million

parts per million

parts per million

deposits; water additive

 

 

 

 

 

which promotes strong

 

 

 

 

 

teeth; discharge from

 

 

 

 

 

fertilizer and aluminum

 

 

 

 

 

factories

 

 

 

 

 

 

NITRATE as

0.87

10.0

10.0

BDL - 2.44

Erosion of natural

Nitrogen (N)

parts per million

parts per million

parts per million

parts per million

deposits; leaching from

 

 

 

 

 

septic tanks; sewage;

 

 

 

 

 

runoff from fertilizer use

 

 

 

 

 

 

SODIUM *

8.63

 

 

5.46 - 11.8

Naturally present in

 

parts per million

Not applicable

Not applicable

parts per million

the environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results surpass state and federal drinking water regulations.

Fluoride Reduction

Fluoridation has been successfully practiced in the U.S. since the mid-1900s. MLGW began adding fluoride to the water supply according to mandates set by a City of Memphis Ordinance at a concentration of 1.0 ppm. In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed through the CDC that the fluoride level recommended for drinking water be set at 0.7 mg/L. The Rules of the Tennes- see Department of Environment and Conservation made this same recommendation.

MLGW changed the fluoride content in finished water from 1.0 mg/L to 0.7 mg/L in 2013. Because of its contribution to the dramatic decline in tooth decay over the past 75 years, the CDC named community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Ways you can help protect our water supply:

  • Never put anything down a storm drain, wisely dispose of household and lawn/garden chemicals. Never pour hazardous wastes on the ground, in a storm drain or in an indoor drain. Consider using non- toxic alternatives to toxic household and lawn chemicals.
  • Recycle used motor oil. Many auto stores and gas stations will accept used motor oil. Two gallons of used motor oil can be reprocessed into fuel and provide enough electricity to run the average household for about 24 hours.
  • Wash your car at a car wash and prevent the soaps, polishes, waxes and other chemicals from entering the storm drain system.
  • Think before you flush! Flushing unused or expired medicines can be harmful to our drinking water. Properly disposing of unused or expired medication helps protect you and the environment. The Memphis Police

Department has installed several Prescription Drug Take-Back Locations throughout the city at specific Memphis Police precincts, Shelby County Sheriff precincts and specific Walgreens and CVS locations. The bins are located in the lobby area of a precinct near you that is fully staffed 24/7, 365 days a year. The prescription drug take-back

program is for citizen use only. For an interactive map of the Tennessee locations participating in the program, go to rxtakeback or for a full Tennessee listing of the locations participating search online for Tennessee’s Permanent Household Prescription Drug Take Back locations or click here.

  • Recycle batteries, paints, solvents and chemicals by contacting local recycling companies or by taking them to the “Household Hazardous Waste Collection” site located at 6305 Haley Rd., Memphis, TN 38134. This location is open weekly on Tuesday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For additional information, contact the Water Quality Section of the Shelby County Health Department at 901-222-7770.

RESULTS OF LEAD AND COPPER SAMPLING AT RESIDENTIAL WATER TAPS

Component

Amount

Detected

Maximum

Maximum

Contaminant Level

Contaminant Level

(MCL)

Goal (MCLG)

Sites

Exceeding

Action Level (AL)

Major Sources

in

Drinking Water

LEAD

8.72 parts per billion

Action Level (AL) = 90%

Zero parts per billion

1 site of 50

Corrosion of household

 

(90% of homes tested

of the homes tested

 

exceeded AL

plumbing systems;

 

had lead levels less

must have lead levels

 

 

erosion of natural

 

than 8.72 ppb)

less than 15 parts per

 

 

deposits

 

 

billion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPPER

0.30 parts per million

Action Level (AL) = 90%

1.3 parts per million

0 sites of 50

Corrosion of household

 

(90% of homes tested

of the homes tested

 

exceeded AL

plumbing systems;

 

had copper levels less

must have copper

 

 

erosion of natural

 

than 0.30 ppm)

levels less than 1.3

 

 

deposits; leaching

 

 

parts per million

 

 

from wood preservatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead and Copper

Plumbing materials could contribute to lead and copper levels at the tap. There is no detectable lead in Memphis’ source water. Regarding copper, very low levels of this metal occur naturally. Standing water in pipes for six hours or more along with lead or lead component plumbing may yield low levels of lead at the tap. It’s rare that the lead levels exceed the action level. Depending on the specific circumstances, copper levels at the tap may be high.

The results reported here on lead and copper are from tests performed in 2018 at a targeted group of homes served by MLGW in areas of Memphis and Shelby County.

Fifty homes, most of which had some lead plumbing constituents, were tested. Out of that

number, only one site exceeded the lead action level and none exceeded the copper action level. The samples were collected after six to eight hours of no water usage. The 90th percentile result for lead was 8.72 ppb and the 90th percentile result for copper was 0.30 ppm.

If present, elevated levels can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. MLGW is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791) or at epa.gov/safewater/lead.

MLGW offers a free lead testing kit that allows MLGW water customers in Memphis and Shelby County to have their tap water tested. To request a free lead kit, you can email us at waterlab@mlgw.org or call 901-320-3962. When contacting us, please provide your name, address and a contact number.

For more information about your drinking water, contact MLGW’s Water Quality Lab at 901-320-3962, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday-Friday. To view this report online, visit: mlgw.com/waterquality or you can request a hard copy by calling 901-320-3962. You can email your comments to us at: waterlab@mlgw.org.

En español

Información para personas de habla hispana: Este reporte contiene información muy importante sobre su agua potable. Hágalo traducir o pida que se lo lea alguien que lo entienda bien. O mejor aún, lea la versión en español en nuestro sitio de red, mlgw.com.

RESULTS OF MICROBIOLOGICAL TESTING

Component

Maximum Monthly

Detected

Maximum

Maximum

Contaminant Level

Contaminant Level

(MCL)

Goal (MCLG)

Annual Amount

Detected

Major Sources in Drinking Water

Total Coliform Bacteria**

Highest positive monthly sample detected was 0.42% in Dec. 2020

Presence of coliform

bacteria in 5% of monthly samples

Zero bacteria

detected

Number of positives

out of number of

samples for the year: 1 out of 2,901 or 0.03%

Naturally present in the environment

Results surpass state and federal drinking water regulations.

Component

Highest Quarterly

Running Annual Average

Level Found

Range of Amount

Detected

Maximum Contaminat

Chlorine

0.92

0.97

0.20-2.09

MRDL-4.0 parts per million

Results surpass state and federal drinking water regulations.

The Coliform Group

Water Quality Assurance Laboratory staff analyzed 2,901 bacteriological tests in 2020 using samples of water treated and distributed throughout Memphis and Shelby County. We primarily test for the indicator organisms that are part of the coliform group prevalent in the environment. Whenever these organisms are found in the environment, it may be a possible indication that other types of harmful organisms are present

as well. However, it is possible to obtain a misleading result as these organisms may be coming from the faucet itself, not necessarily from the water, from some other source while sampling or from accidental contamination of the sample during its analysis. Any sample indicating a positive result for coliform is methodically rechecked. All rechecks during the 2020 year proved to be negative.

RESULTS OF DISINFECTION BY-PRODUCTS

Component

Average Amount

Detected

Maximum

Maximum

Contaminant Level

Contaminant Level

(MCL)

Goal (MCLG)

Range of

Amount Detected

Major Sources

in Drinking Water

TOTAL

***7.6

80

 

3.73 - 19.5

By-products of drinking

TRIHALOMETHANES

parts per billion

parts per billion

Not applicable

parts per billion

water disinfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

HALOACETIC ACIDS

***3.7

60

 

BDL - 14.3

By-products of drinking

(HAA5)

parts per billion

parts per billion

Not applicable

parts per billion

water disinfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHLORINE

1.25

MRDL - 4.0

MRDLG – 4.0

1.03 - 1.76

Water additive used to

 

parts per million

parts per million

parts per million

parts per million

control microbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results surpass state and federal drinking water regulations.

Chlorine Residual

Federal and state drinking water regulations require detectable disinfectant (chlorine) residuals throughout our water distribution system. MLGW’s water contains approximately one part per million of chlorine in order to ensure the proper residuals. This is done to prevent the possibility of waterborne disease. Both the maximum residual disinfectant level and maximum residual disinfectant level goal are set at four parts per million.

Disinfection By-Products

Disinfection is an absolutely essential component of drinking water treatment. Disinfection prevents the occurrence and spread of many serious and potentially deadly water-borne diseases. When chlorine is used for disinfection, it can react with naturally-occurring organic matter in the water. Minute amounts of disinfection by-products can be formed as a consequence of these reactions.

As a result, regulations limit the amount of disinfection by-products in your water. Two categories of disinfection by-products are specifically limited by these regulations: Total Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids. These by-products must be reported to the state of Tennessee annually. Averages are calculated quarterly on samples taken at various locations through our distribution system. As the table above shows, our water meets the disinfection by-products standards.

ADDITIONAL WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS OF INTEREST

This table shows levels of additional water quality parameters which are often of interest to our customers. Values shown are averages from our water treatment plants for 2020. There are no health-based limits for these substances in drinking water.

Parameter

(unit of measure)

Average

Level Detected

Average Range

of Levels

Detected

Typical Source

of Contaminants

Alkalinity (ppm)

51

18-118

Erosion of natural deposits

 

 

 

 

Calcium (ppm)

10.44

3.59-25

Erosion of natural deposits

 

 

 

 

Chloride (ppm)

5.3

2.4-34.7

Erosion of natural deposits

 

 

 

 

Hardness (ppm)

47

15-112

Erosion of natural deposits

 

 

 

 

Hardness (grains/gallon)

2.7

0.9-6.54

Erosion of natural deposits

 

 

 

 

Iron (ppm)

0.01

0.01 - 0.02

Naturally occurring

 

 

 

 

pH (Standard)

7.2

6.8-7.6

-------

 

 

 

 

Phosphate (ppm)

0.99

0.7 - 1.3

Water additive for corrosion control

 

 

 

 

Sulfate (ppm)

22.2

4.9-30.1

Naturally present in the environment

 

 

 

 

Temperature (°F)

68

62-74

-------

 

 

 

 

RESULTS OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINANT TESTING

Component

Average Amount

Detected

Maximum

Contaminant Level

(MCL)

Maximum

Contaminant Level

Goal (MCLG)

Range of

Levels Detected

Major Sources in Drinking Water

COMBINED RADIUM

2.0

5

0

1.5 - 2.5

Decay of natural and

(226/228)

 

 

 

 

man-made deposits

(pCi/L)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GROSS ALPHA

0.5

15

0

0.3 - 0.6

Erosion of natural

(excluding radon and

 

 

 

 

deposits

uranium)

 

 

 

 

 

(pCi/L)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results surpass state and federal drinking water regulations.

As water travels over land or through the ground, it can dissolve naturally occurring radioactive minerals or radioactive contaminants from human activities such as oil and gas production, mining activities or nuclear facilities. Certain minerals or contaminants may emit a form of radiation known as gross alpha, radium 226 and radium 228 (combined radium). The values shown in the table are the most recent analysis conducted in 2015 at the water treatment plants. The next testing for radiologicals will be completed in 2021.

RESULTS OF TURBIDITY TESTING

Component

Level

Detected

Range of Amount

Detected

Turbidity

1.32

0.2-0.80

We met the treatment technique for turbidity with 98% of monthly samples below the turbidity limit of 1.0 NTU.

Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. We monitor it because it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of our filtration system.

TERMS USED IN THIS REPORT

To protect public health, state and federal agencies set maximum contaminant levels, maximum contaminant level goals or action levels for contami- nants. Below are definitions of terms used in this report to help you understand the 2020 results.

Action Level (AL)

The concentration of a contaminant that, if exceeded, triggers a treatment or other

 

requirement that a water system must follow.

 

 

Below Detection Limit (BDL)

The concentration of a compound is less than the smallest amount that can be measured by

 

the test method used.

 

 

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)

The highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to

 

MCL goals as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

 

 

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG)

The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk

 

to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

 

 

mg/L or ppm

Milligrams per liter or parts per million (one penny in $10,000)

 

 

µg/L or ppb

Micrograms per Liter or parts per billion (one penny in $10,000,000)

 

 

pCi/L

Picocuries per Liter

 

 

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG)

The level of drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to

 

health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial

 

contaminants.

 

 

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL)

The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence

 

that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for the control of microbial contaminants.

 

 

NTU

Nephelometric Turbidity Units—Turbidity is a measure of the clarity of the water.

 

Turbidity in excess of 5 NTUs is just noticeable to the average person.

Treatment Technique (TT)

A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

WATER QUALITY TABLE FOOTNOTES

    * There is no state or federal MCL for sodium. Monitoring is required to provide information to consumers and health officials who are concerned about sodium intake due to dietary precautions. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you should consult a physician about the level of sodium in the water.

  • For the highest monthly level detected, there was only one positive sample out of 2,901 samples taken. MLGW immediately responded by resa- mpling above, at and below where the positive sample had been collected, and all the results were negative.
  • Data expressed as LRAA – Locational Running Annual Average: The average of four consecutive quarterly results at each monitored sample location.

Contaminants


Memphis Light, Gas, & Water

EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, 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: 781492
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Groundwater
  • Total: 10

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

  • Radium%2C combined (-226 & -228)
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Other Detected Contaminants

  • 1%2C4-Dioxane
  • Bromodichloromethane
  • Chlorate
  • Chromium (hexavalent)
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
  • Nitrate
  • Strontium

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

Just like many parts of the United States, if you do a Google search on tap water in Memphis, you will get over two hundred and fifty million results. There are two reasons for this, probably the biggest is because it’s a pretty big city and therefore it’s more likely to show up higher in the lists. Another reason is that people don’t realize how important water is and how essential it is in our lives and how many different things we use it for. So this article is going to talk about why you should really check into your water in Memphis.

The very first thing that you should know about your water in Memphis is that it’s tap water, plain and simple. If it’s not clean, then it’s not going to do you any good and there are some companies out there that will purify the water for you, but they aren’t cheap and the overall cost can be much more than buying bottled water. There are also many places where you can purchase water and get gallons of it delivered right to your house, which I think is kind of cool too.

One other thing that’s important to mention is that all the bottled water that you see all over the place is not the same quality. In other words, if a bottle says a certain number of ounces, then it is probably tap water. Also, there are a lot of companies out there that get these bottles to market them as being something different than what they actually are. So make sure to do a little research before you buy. It’s important that you get high quality water, especially if you drink it all of the time or if you use it to help cook with. So make sure you go ahead and get some bottled water for yourself and maybe for your friends and family as well.

Memphis Water Quality

Is your water coming from a Memphis water treatment facility that meets the standards set by the American Water Works Association? If not, then there are other measures you can take. The EPA maintains a list of waterborne diseases and conditions. Exposure to such pathogens can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other water-borne illnesses.

In order to protect yourself, it is recommended that you test your tap-water yourself. By law, you are obligated to test samples of your drinking and cooking water if the contaminants have been identified. You can purchase a home testing kit for less than $100. This kit will provide data on both alkalinity and acidity. It will also provide data on the microorganisms in your water. If you have a well, you will need to have your well tested, also.

If you live in areas that are prone to ultraviolet radiation, such as the Gulf Coast, chances are that your water quality will be very poor. Ultraviolet light can cause cancer. Do not expose yourself or loved ones to ultraviolet rays. If exposed, you must wash your hair and hands immediately. Be aware that some prescription medications may also have a reaction to ultraviolet light, so do not take these medications without a doctor’s advice.

Memphis Drinking Water

There are many things wrong with our tap water in the United States and one of those is Memphis drinking water. It is obvious that the city and the state of Tennessee have a long standing issue with their water supply, but what is even more disconcerting is that the quality of the water does not appear to be up to par. Of course, since there is no regulation for this type of thing in the US, the quality control of most companies is simply not up to par and that means you could be subjecting yourself and your family to harmful exposure to various contaminants.

This is especially true whenever you choose to purchase bottled water. Why is this? Simply because bottled water companies do not have to test their products like other municipal treatment facilities do so there is no way for them to ensure the quality of their product. In fact, many times the standards that are used by municipal treatment plants are much higher than the ones that are used by bottled water companies, meaning that their products often contain dangerous substances such as lead, which can prove harmful to young children.

So how should you feel about all of this? Well, you need to find some way to be completely certain that the water that you and your family are drinking is 100% safe. That way you can rest assured that you are making a well informed decision whenever you purchase bottled water or other types of tap water. One way to make sure that you are getting the purest form of water possible is to buy a home water purifier that will be able to provide you with all of the needed clean water for all of your daily activities. You owe it to yourself to look into this so you can feel safe and comfortable knowing that you and your family are receiving the best water possible.

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