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Water Quality in Payson, UT

by | Mar 8, 2024

A young boy drinking water from the tap.

Knowing that you’re drinking safe water is peace of mind. Contaminated water can harbor harmful bacteria, parasites, and chemicals that can cause various illnesses, from mild stomach upset to serious health problems. In this article, Sunset Plumbing will review the latest Drinking Water report from Payson, Utah.

Payson City regularly tests our drinking water.  By ensuring your water is free from harmful contaminants. This helps safeguard you and your loved ones from the potential health risks associated with unsafe drinking water.

Hard Water:  VERY HARD

Payson’s *grain per gallon (GPG) is 11.7 grains. Anything rated over 10.5 GPG is considered very hard water. While not regarded as harmful to our health, it can create challenges in everyday life. Hard water starts to form a limescale. This chalky white buildup can accumulate on fixtures, appliances, and dishes, leaving water marks and making appliances like washing machines less effective. Additionally, hard water can make it more difficult to lather soap and shampoo, requiring more product use and potentially leaving a filmy residue on your skin and hair. A water softener certainly helps make life easier by reducing these complications.

*Grains per gallon (GPG) is a unit used to measure water hardness. It specifically refers to the concentration of dissolved minerals in a gallon of water, primarily calcium and magnesium.   

Payson Drinking Water Report

I’m happy to report that Payson, Utah, passed the Federal and State Requirements. Payson’s water comes from 4 wells and 8 natural springs. We also have a storage facility for 5.6 million gallons of water. Our water sources are tested monthly, and water samples are sent to the lab to be tested for harmful contaminates.  

Microbiological Contaminants: GOOD

There are two main bacteria tests for drinking water: Coliform Bacteria and E. Coli. 

Coliform bacteria are generally harmless. They naturally inhabit the intestines of mammals, including humans. When found in water, however, this indicates potential contamination with fecal matter, which is a huge red flag in water facilities as it might mean other more harmful bacteria are lurking. The allowable amount in a test sample is 5, and Payson passed.

E-Coli is another tested bacteria, but this one is not nearly as harmless. The allowable amount is 0, and Payson passed. Therefore, Payson is free from E-Coli. Drinking water contaminated with E. coli can cause a range of problems, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Kidney failure

Lead & Copper: GOOD

Lead is dangerous, even exposure in low doses, especially to children and pregnant women. Children exposed to lead may have developmental delays. Lead poisoning causes fatigue, high blood pressure, and kidney problems. Payson tested low and passed. However, during transport from the storage facility to your home’s faucet, there is a possibility that lead can be picked up from lead pipes and brass or chrome-plated faucets. For homes built before 1986, having your water independently tested for lead is a good idea.

Copper is an essential nutrient. Fun fact: Natural medicine practitioners say a copper deficiency causes grey hair. However, too much copper may cause gastrointestinal distress, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Long-term exposure to high doses can cause liver and kidney damage. Payson tested low and passed. However, some say adverse health effects may not occur until higher levels are reached. Payson City monitors monthly to ensure copper stays within the safe levels allowed. 

Lead and copper are tested using the 90% percentile calculations for more information.

    Regulated Contaminants: GOOD

    Trihalomethanes (THMs) are the by-product of drinking water disinfectants used during water treatment. Chlorine is used to eliminate bacteria and viruses from our water sources. However, chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic matter, such as decaying vegetation. It then begins to create THMs. These byproducts include:

    • Chloroform
    • Bromodichloromethane
    • Dibromochloromethane
    • Bromoform

    Some studies suggest drinking too much THMs can cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive issues. The amount of THMs allowed is 80 ppb. Payson tested between 3.1- 6.4 ppb.  This is considered safe for most people based on current scientific understanding. 

    Inorganic Contaminants: GOOD

    These substances include minerals, metals, disinfectant byproducts, and agricultural runoff. Some items in this category, such as minerals, are necessary for our well-being. However, in higher quantities, they can be detrimental to our health. Other items on this list are harmful, even in small doses. Let’s delve into the details.  

    Testing terminology:

    • Parts per million (ppm):  An example would be a single penny out of $10,000.
    • Parts per billion (ppb): An example would be a single penny out of $10,000.

    Arsenic: GOOD

    Arsenic is naturally occurring; for example, it can be found in apple seeds. Other sources include rocks, minerals, pesticides, herbicides, and burning coal. Mining, agriculture, and power plants can also release arsenic.

    Arsenic, even in lower doses, can cause illnesses, including:

    • Cancer
    • Skin Problems
    • Cardiovascular Issues
    • Developmental Problems
    • Diabetes
    • Neurological problems
    • Respiratory issues

    The amount of arsenic allowed is 10 ppb. Payson’s samples tested between .08-1.3 ppb 

    Barium: GOOD

    Barium naturally occurs in rocks, soil, and some foods. At lower levels, it’s considered harmless. However, at high levels, it poses a health risk such as:

    • Gastrointestinal Issues
    • Muscle Weakness
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Heart Problems

    The amount of barium allowed is 2 ppm. Payson’s samples tested between 0.116- 0.207 ppm.

    Copper: GOOD

    Our bodies need copper; it’s considered vital for bone health, red blood cell production, and enzyme function. However, in high doses, it can cause issues,  such as:

    • Gastrointestinal Distress
    • Liver or Kidney Damage
    • Interfere with the absorption of other minerals

    The allowed amount of copper is 1.3 ppm. Payson’s samples tested between 0.001 and 0.2 ppm, with 90% of tiles testing at 0.15 ppm.

    Fluoride: GOOD

    Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil, and some water sources. This mineral is added to public water supplies in many countries worldwide as a public health measure to promote dental health.

    Fluoride, however, has drawbacks, such as Dental fluorosis.

    The amount of fluoride allowed is 4 ppm. Payson’s samples tested between 0.135- 0.488 ppm 

    Lead: GOOD

    Lead is a highly toxic metal, especially for children and pregnant women. It used to be used in pipes and many other products, including paint on children’s toys. However, it is now known to be toxic.

    Lead is very dangerous and can cause issues such as:

    • Learning disabilities
    • Nervous System Damage
    • Anemia
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Kidney Damage
    • Pregnancy Complications

    The amount of lead allowed is 15 ppb. Payson’s samples tested between 0.00- 45.8 ppb, 90% of tiles testing at 6.2 ppb. 

    Nitrate (as Nitrogen): GOOD

    Nitrates naturally occur when nitrogen and oxygen are mixed together. Decaying plants and animal waste includes nitrogen. It is vital for plants and is often used in agriculture as a fertilizer. Higher levels of nitrates in drinking water are not good, especially for infants. The main issue is it can create a condition called methemoglobinemia, also known as “blue baby syndrome.”

    The amount of Nitrate allowed is 10 ppm. Payson’s samples tested between 3.46- 2.034 ppm

    Selenium: GOOD

    Our bodies need Selenium, as it helps us create many enzymes. However, in high doses, it can cause problems such as:

    • Hair Loss and Brittle Nails
    • Garlic Breath
    • Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea
    • Neurological Problems

    The amount of selenium allowed is 50 ppb. Payson’s samples tested between 1.7- 1.8 ppb

    Sodium: GOOD

    Sodium is another mineral our bodies need. It affects muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and fluid balance. However, consuming too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily. More than this can cause issues with:

    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney stones

    The amount of sodium allowed is undeclared Payson’s samples tested between 15.795-
    31.2 ppm.

    Sulfate: GOOD

    Sulfates are another naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil, and water. Companies also use sulfates in production. Generally, sulfates aren’t harmful, but at higher levels, they affect the taste of water and have laxative effects.

    The amount of sulfate allowed is 1000 ppm. Payson’s samples tested between 34.395-
    42.191 ppm. 

    Radioactive Contaminants: GOOD

    Radioactive materials are also known as radionuclides. They come from both natural sources and human activities, such as mining. If consumed or absorbed into the body, radionuclides can be a health risk.

    Testing terminology: GOOD

    Picocuries per liter (pCi/L) – used to measure the radioactivity in water.

    Alpha Emitters: GOOD

    Alpha emitters are radioactive particles found in rocks, specifically uranium, and radium. They don’t travel far in the air but can seep into groundwater. Once in our water supply, alpha emitters are a huge issue as they can hurt our cells. When present, alpha emitters may accumulate in the body over time.

    The amount of Alpha Emitters allowed drinking water is 15 pCi/L. Payson’s samples tested between 0.2- 2.6 pCi/L. 

    Radium 228: GOOD

    Radium 228 is an isotope of radium that naturally occurs in rocks and soil. It is extremely harmful if ingested or inhaled. Radium 228 can cause cancer, especially bone cancer.

    The allowed amount of Radium 228 is 5 pCi/L. Payson’s samples tested between 0.4 and 0.67 pCi/L. 

    Turbidity: GOOD

    Turbidity is the cloudiness of water caused by suspended particles. This could be organic matter like decomposing leaves, silt, clay, sand, or even tiny organisms. Turbidity itself isn’t necessarily harmful but indicates other potential problems. High turbidity could indicate a higher level of bacteria, viruses, or parasites in the water. Also, turbid water can interfere with disinfectants’ effectiveness in killing those microbes.

    Testing terminology:

    Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU)—This measures the water’s clarity. 

    The amount of Turbidity allowed is .3 NTU. Payson’s samples tested between 0.12– 0.17 NTU.

    Payson’s Water Quality Conclusion

    Payson, Utah, passed its latest drinking water test. The water is monitored monthly so issues can be addressed quickly. We can rest assured that if necessary, Payson will publish public advisories if there is an issue.

    More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by
    calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

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    Alma Bradshaw

    About The Author

    Hello, My name is Alma Bradshaw. I'm a licensed plumber with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It's important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest plumbing techniques, innovations, codes, and regulations. Learn more about plumbing here and feel free to comment below with any questions.

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