Not Just Flint: American Cities With Poison In The Pipes

While Flint, Michigan made headlines for its water crisis, it’s not the only city in the U.S. with a water problem. Not by a long shot.

The water in Flint was contaminated with lead, which occurred because of the city’s decision to change water supplies to the Flint River. This activated old pipes that soon had lead leeching from them because of the makeup of the water taken from the river.

Residents suffered and bottled water was delivered from all over the U.S. to help. The city of Flint is still dealing with the aftermath of this water problem and is working to correct it.

The water problem in Flint certainly got the media’s attention and although these other cities are flying under the radar, their residents are also suffering from contaminated water supplies. #20 will surprise you, and it’s one of the worst offenders for contaminated water.

Here is our list of 20 major cities with poison in their pipes.

Jacksonville, Florida


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

As one of the largest cities in Florida, you would think Jacksonville would have its act together. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Its water supply is dirty – even carcinogenic. A variety of toxic chemicals can be found in the water, including trihalomethanes – a cancer-causing chemical that is often found in cleaning supplies. Think twice before you drink the water here and maybe go for a bottle of water on your next trip to the city.

San Diego, California

San Diego

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Can you believe that beautiful San Diego is on our list? Well, it is. This city’s water also has trihalomethanes as well as manganese. Manganese is poisonous to people and is typically used in industrial manufacturing. Another six hazardous chemicals have been found in San Diego’s water supply. Gorgeousl city, poor water supply.

North Las Vegas, Nevada

North Las Vegas

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This city has a major problem with its water supply. It has both contaminants and chemicals at high levels in the water. Also found in the water is uranium. This radioactive element can cause kidney toxicity when ingested by humans. Stick to bottled water when visiting this city at all costs, or at least go for a filtered glass of water as a last resort.

Omaha, Nebraska


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You can find atrazine, trihalomethanes, nitrate, nitrite, and manganese in the water in Omaha — some at high levels. Some at illegal levels. Atrazine is of particular concern, as it causes birth defects, while nitrate and nitrite aren’t so great either. They are a fertilizer and meat curing chemical, respectively.

One city on our list hails from the deep south. Read on to see which one it is.

Houston, Texas


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Houston’s water supply comes from a variety of sources such as the Trinity River and Lake Houston. When tested, illegal levels of alpha particles were found. This is also a type of radiation, which we know is extremely harmful. Also found were haloacetic acids, which are used in disinfectant byproducts. Houston may not be the place where you want to have a tall glass of water.

Reno, Nevada


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You’ll find manganese, tetrachloroethylene, and arsenic in Reno’s water. Disturbingly, tetrachloroethylene is a chemical used by dry cleaners and for various industrial processes. It is a carcinogen that suspected to cause cancer. The presence of arsenic is equally disturbing as it is poisonous to people that ingest it in high enough levels.

Riverside County, California

Riverside County

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This desert region also has a poor drinking water situation, drawing its supply from the Bay Delta in the north of the state. That water source has high levels of chemicals in its water along with the contaminant tetrachloroethylene that we already know is a health risk when ingested.

This following big city will leave you floored.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas

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The entertainment capital of the world puts lots of people at risk with poor drinking water. Coming from the Colorado River, Las Vegas’ water has a series of pollutants in it including radium, arsenic, and lead. We already know that lead is dangerous from the Flint situation, but radium is also hazardous to humans. Stick with bottled water when spending a sinful week in this city.

Riverside, California


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With a water supply that comes from groundwater, the city of Riverside uses a different water supply than Riverside County, which is why they are both on the list. Despite this fact, it still has chemicals such as bromoform and uranium in the water supply. Bromoform is a type of trihalomethane that can cause cancer.

Pensacola, Florida


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Pensacola is said to have the worst water quality in the country. You can find radium, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, alpha particles, benzine and lead in its water as well as cyanide and chloroform – both deadly when exposed to humans in high levels. You will definitely not want to drink the water here. Heard of fracking?

Pavillion, Wyoming


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Pavillion, Wyoming has a bit of a different problem with its water supply. It is being polluted by the hydraulic fracking that is going on in the area. The chemicals used in fracking have been found in the city’s water, creating a direct link to the fracking activity. Pollutants in its water have included glycols and alcohols — creating a smell of chemicals when the water was turned on. Not something you want to smell when you’re drinking water.

Norman, Oklahoma


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This little city has two problems with its water – contamination and low supply. While there are concerns about whether the city will be able to sustain its water supply over the next 50 years, a big problem right now is with the carcinogen chromium-6. There have been links between the chemical and stomach cancer, raising grave concern over its presence by residents in Norman.

Concord, New Hampshire


Image Source: Wikipedia

In the city of Concord, New Hampshire you can find arsenic in the drinking water. This deadly contaminant is a known carcinogen and can cause cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney if ingested in high levels. Those high levels are found in Concord’s water supply on a regular basis. This is one city where you will definitely want to stick to bottled water.

Stayed tuned a popular tourist destination with filthy drinking water.

Kunia, Hawaii

Back Camera

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With unsafe drinking water levels for over twenty years, Kunia, Hawaii’s problem stems from a pesticide spill caused by Del Monte. The company has reportedly paid for cleanup efforts but residents were exposed to high levels of chemicals from the pesticide, which could be dangerous for their long-term health.

Honolulu, Hawaii


Image Source: Wikipedia

Even beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii has contaminated drinking water. Present in its water are heptachlor epoxide, bromoform, dieldrin, and trichloropropane. Heptachlor epoxide is highly toxic and a carcinogen, and dieldrin is an insecticide used in agriculture. All four chemicals are hazardous when ingested and are one of the reasons you shouldn’t drink the water in Honolulu.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


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Sitting right next to Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has had its share of water problems, including a cryptosporidium outbreak in 1993. Since then it has had human waste polluting its water on several occasions when there are large storms that produce an excessive amount of water at its local treatment plant. Plan ahead and bring your own water when traveling to this city. Another polluted water system in a beautiful city can be observed next.

Oahu, Hawaii


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A different type of contaminant is found in the water supply in Oahu, Hawaii. Tests have shown that pharmaceuticals are leaching into the area’s groundwater supply. These pharmaceuticals include antibiotics and estrogen compounds – all things that you don’t want in your body unless necessary.

Louisville, Kentucky


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High levels of chromium-6 are found in Louisville, Kentucky’s water supply. This known carcinogen can cause cancer, as mentioned before, and is not something humans should consume. Louisville raised a lot of money to help the people of Flint. Now it looks like they should have concentrated their efforts in their own backyard.

Buffalo, New York


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Also facing a water shortage, Buffalo, New York has chromium-6 in its drinking water, making it unsafe for humans to consume on a daily basis. As an odorless contaminant, residents may only notice it by its metallic taste. Chromium-6 was the same contaminant found in the water in the movie Erin Brockovich.

See the worst water supply contaminate offender next on our list.

St. Joseph, Louisiana

St Joseph

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St. Joseph, La, has had a crisis with its water supply for over a decade. Experts to this very day are still not sure if contaminants or lead erosion from the city’s pipe infrastructure are causing the issue. Residents have been reporting yellow to brown murky water. The city has been on boil alert since 2012, requiring its residents to boil water before drinking it.