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Is Atlanta Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Scott Winfield
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by Scott Winfield

You probably take Atlanta tap water for granted. After all, it’s just water. What could be dangerous about it? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot.

There have been reports of strange tastes and smells coming from the tap water, and some people think they might be getting sick as a result.

What’s the story? Is the water safe or not? We’ll discuss more in this article.

Atlanta Water Quality Report: What is in the Water?

A recent water quality report for the Atlanta area had some residents wondering, “What is in the water?”

The answer, it turns out, is a mixture of natural and artificial minerals & chemicals. From calcium and magnesium to chlorine and fluoride, the water in Atlanta contains various substances.

Some minerals are essential for maintaining healthy water, while others are added to the water for safety reasons. For instance, small amounts of chlorine are added to the water to kill harmful bacteria.

The water may also contain small traces of contaminants like lead, disinfectant products, and Chromium 6.

You may also find Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), which comes from food packaging, Teflon, firefighting foam, and non-stick and stain-resistant surfaces.

Most of these substances pose no threat to human health in small quantities. That’s why the City Of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management and the City of Atlanta Water Department keep a close eye on the levels of these substances in water and ensure they don’t reach harmful levels.

With this in mind, residents can rest assured that the water in Atlanta is safe to drink even though it contains a few surprising chemicals/substances.

Is The Water Hard or Soft?

Georgia water is thought to be soft. Georgia residents’ average water hardness is around 60 PPM. Atlanta has a water hardness level of 21 PPM, which is considered very soft by USGS water hardness measurements.

Where Atlanta Gets its Water From?

Georgia relies on aquifer-derived groundwater, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Most groundwater is pulled from the Floridan Aquifer and is distributed to cities in southern Georgia, such as Albany and Brunswick.

Atlanta, Georgia’s most populous metro area, gets its water from the Chattahoochee River, the city’s only local surface water supply.

Chattahoochee River
Chattahoochee River

How is Tap Water Treated in Atlanta?

Atlanta’s tap water undergoes a rigorous treatment process before reaching your faucet. First, the water is drawn from the Chattahoochee River and pumped to one of two water treatment plants.

The water is passed through a time-consuming process involving various chemicals and filters to remove toxins and other harmful substances.

Atlanta Water is Treated By Coagulation and Flocculation

These are steps through which sand, bacteria, dirt, and wood are separated from the rest of the water.  Coagulation and flocculation denote a chemical water treatment that helps improve a treatment process’s ability to remove particles.

Coagulation is a process that uses gelatinous mass to trap (or bridge) particles, resulting in a group large enough to settle or be trapped in the filter.

During flocculation, the water is gently churned or agitated to stimulate the formation of particles large enough to settle or be filtered from the solution.

Sedimentation Process is Used in Treating Atlanta Water

The water will then be moved to a sedimentation basin. Sedimentation is the process of separating small particles and sediments in the water. This method utilizes gravity, pulling the heavier deposits to the bottom of the water to form a sludge layer.

The process should occur naturally but can be artificially stimulated through mechanical assistance during the water treatment. This additional process is referred to as thickening. The sludge is consequently hauled away to a landfill site.

Atlanta Water is Filtered

Finally, water is filtered using rapid gravity filters. Sand is commonly used in this filter to remove any additional sediment or particles from the water.

During the final stage, water is filtered in a controlled manner. Any particles that cling to the filter are removed when the water is piped to the next step.

The Water is Disinfected

Water treatment plants in Atlanta may add one or more chemical disinfectants like chlorine after the water has been filtered to kill any remaining pathogens.

As a result, the process eliminates pathogens that cause waterborne diseases. These may include typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, cholera, and salmonellosis. This disinfection process also helps control shigellosis.

Quality Assessment

At this point, the water is ready to circulate through the city’s pipe network. However, Water departments in Atlanta tests the water for various chemicals and contaminants before making it available to the public.

These departments employ specific parameters to aid in the detection of potentially harmful contaminants. Each indicator has an acceptable limit; if it exceeds that limit, there may be issues. Some of the most common tap water parameters are as follows:

  • pH: A normal pH range is 6.5 to 8.5. This metric measures acidity.
  • Turbidity: Cloudy water could indicate contamination.
  • TDS: An ideal Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) level is 50 to 150 PPM for tap water.
  • Water Hardness: Soft water is thought to be better for cleaning because it does not leave a mineral residue like hard water. However, there is no scientific evidence that water hardness harms human health.

With these parameters, Atlanta guarantees safe drinking water.

Do They Have the Cleanest Tap Water?

With such a rigorous treatment process, it’s clear that Atlanta has some of the cleanest tap water in the US. Besides, the water treatment plants meets standards mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act and EPA guidelines.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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