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Is San Jose Tap Water Safe To Drink In 2023?

Scott Winfield
Written by Scott Winfield
Last Updated on

San Jose natives might be wondering if it’s safe to drink water right from their faucets, and the answer is yes, San Jose’s tap water is safe to drink in 2023.

San Jose Water Quality Report: What’s in The Water?

ContaminantSan Jose LevelsEPA action limitEPA’s public health goal
Total coliform bacteria0 to 0.97%5%Zero
Copper0 to 150 ppb1,300 pbb300 ppb
Fluoride0 to 0.9 ppm2 ppm1 ppm
Chloramines0 to 3.9 ppm4 ppm4 ppm
TTHMs0 to 72 ppb80 ppbZero
Arsenic0 to 3 ppb10 ppb0.004 ppb

Several different contaminants and minerals are present in San Jose’s drinking water, including the following substances:

  • Total coliform bacteria
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Chloramine
  • Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
  • Arsenic

Coliform bacteria occur naturally in soil, rocks, and inevitably water, and the San Jose water supplies aren’t bereft from its presence in levels ranging between zero to 0.97%. As the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 5%, it’s no cause for worry.

Some tap water samples taken from San Jose residences show copper levels up to 150 ppb. Along with lead, copper was widely used in piping and plumbing systems before the EPA implemented a lead and copper rule for plumbing in 1991, and it still dissolves into the San Jose water from such water lines.

Don’t worry, though; the copper presence in San Jose’s water is well below the EPA threshold, which is 1,300 ppb.

Other substances are intentionally added to the water. For example, fluoride is present in drinking water at varying levels (0 to 0.9 parts per million) because municipal authorities pump it into the water source to promote teeth health.

Chloramines and total trihalomethanes are due to water disinfection conducted by the water supplier. While chloramine is a secondary disinfection tool, TTHMs are byproducts of chlorine’s reaction with organic elements within the water.

Lastly, although treated municipal water doesn’t have any arsenic presence, this dangerous heavy metal contaminates the untreated groundwater in San Jose. Its presence (2 – 3 ppb) is below the EPA limit (10 ppb).

Is The Tap Water Hard or Soft?

San Jose tap water is usually hard water. This means the water contains high amounts of both calcium and magnesium (respectively, 25 to 95 ppm and 12 to 71 ppm).

In most places, both minerals reach levels higher than the hard water threshold set by the United States Geological Survey: 60 ppm. In some rural areas that rely on groundwater (i.e., well water) for their water supply, the calcium and magnesium levels might even reach 438 ppm.

Where Does San Jose Get Its Water From?

Valley Water is the main source of treated tap water for the San Jose Municipal Water System, though the source can sometimes vary depending on a home’s location in the city.

There are a few natural sources where Valley Water gets its surface water. The South Bay Aqueduct, Lake Del Valle, the San Luis ResKind Water Systemsir, the Dyer ResKind Water Systemsir, and Anderson and Calero reservoirs.

After sourcing water from these various locations, Valley Water treats the water. When it is free from infections, it moves through the lead pipes and into the city’s homes and businesses.

Those in North San Jose might be getting their water from the Alameda Watershed. The water from this massive watershed then makes its way to the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant.

How Tap Water is Treated in San Jose

In San Jose, chloramine is the primary method of treating tap water. This removes bacteria and microbes from the water that may otherwise cause harm to people, pets, and the environment.

Rather than just using chlorine by itself, San Jose water treatment plants use a mix between chlorine and ammonia. This combination of chemicals, called Chloramine, disinfects water more effectively than plain chlorine or ammonia.

Some residents who are particularly attuned to the taste and smell of chlorine might take notice of the presence of the chemical when they drink it, but the taste is not overwhelming.

Chloramine is generally harmless to human beings, but it is important to be cautious with various uses of the tap water that contains it. For example, kidney dialysis machines and aquariums cannot legally use tap water with Chloramine for health and environmental purposes.

Do They Have The Cleanest Tap Water?

San Jose may not be known for having the cleanest tap water in the United States, but it is still clean and safe to drink. Harmful bacteria and microbes are long gone from the water’s initial treatment with Chloramine.

There should be no issues with water contamination, and as long as San Jose residents take care to use a water filter before consuming their tap water in 2022, heavy metals should not be an outstanding issue, either.

Water filtration will remove heavy metals and other harmful substances that the water picks while traveling through the pipes. Water softeners will remove excessive amounts of calcium and magnesium salts in water.

Do People Drink Tap Water in San Jose?

San Jose residents regularly drink the city’s tap water and they see no adverse side effects from doing so. However, most people use a water filtration system to remove contaminants and ensure that their water is of the highest possible quality.

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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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