Before you folks in Phoenix start screaming, let us say that your water is safe to drink. You don't need to tap a cactus, because what's flowing from the faucet is A-okay. So how come the F?
While your H2O is safe, the water in 99 other cities is cleaner. We examined the most recent data on levels of arsenic, lead, halo-acetic acids and total trihalomethanes (linked to cancer), and total coliform bacteria, plus the number of EPA water-system violations from 1995 to 2005.
All the water supplies came in below the EPA's Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for 2005, although some, like Denver's, are farther below the MCLs than others. As for water-system violations — given for exceeding an MCL or making a monitoring mistake — many cities (uh, Phoenix) racked up thousands. This doesn't mean today's water is tainted, only that there's a history of problems. Still, as glass-half-full types, we'd say that our first-world water supply is generally first rate.
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