The 25 U.S. Cities with the Worst Drinking Water

Where the contaminants are flowing straight from the tap.

The 25 U.S. Cities with the Worst Drinking Water

Where the contaminants are flowing straight from the tap.

In 2017, it’s not unusual to have a personal preference for water. Maybe you like a light mineral flavor or a mild earthiness. Or maybe you prefer sparkling. Whatever the case, chances are you don’t want anything that includes chemicals or carcinogens—the types of contaminants included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule.”

While most municipal water sources in America have sterling track records of filtering out such nasty stuff, not all cities are great in this regard. Herewith, we’ve compiled the worst of the worst of the 200 largest cities in America. (Note the “largest;” hence no Flint, Michigan.) So read on to learn about the places where you may want to buy your own filter. And for the best of the best when it comes to tap water, check out the 25 Cities in America with the Best Drinking Water. 

Our Methodology: Our data includes areas with “pollution potential,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the number of contaminants (such as chloroform, bromate, or trichloroacetic acid—all found to cause cancer) found in the local water, according to the Environmental Working Group. The “Dirty Water Score” was determined by calculating the number of contaminants found in the water of the city’s largest water utility, with greater weight given to those that exceeded the EWG’s health guidelines (established by a federal or state public health authority).

Reno, happiest cities, drunkest cities, fittest cities, best singles scenes, worst drinking water

25
Reno, NV

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 14
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 46
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 46
Dirty Water Score: 57.42

Pomona, CA, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute, worst drinking water

24
Pomona, CA

Number of Contaminants: 10
Other Detected Contaminants: 18
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 56.73

Corona, CA, beach, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute, worst drinking water

23
Corona, CA

Number of Contaminants: 12
Other Detected Contaminants: 13
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 56.70

Arlington, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, rent, property, worst drinking water

22
Arlington, TX

Number of Contaminants: 9
Other Detected Contaminants: 21
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 56.01

Bakersfield, drunkest cities, worst singles scenes, flip, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

21
Bakersfield, CA

Number of Contaminants: 6
Other Detected Contaminants: 29
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 55.79

fresno california sleepless cities, worst drinking water

20
Fresno, CA

Number of Contaminants: 9
Other Detected Contaminants: 22
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 55.25

Irvine, happiest cities, longest-living cities, fittest cities, healthiest cities, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute, worst drinking water

19
Irvine, CA

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 17
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 55.22

Grand Prairie, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

18
Grand Prairie, TX

Number of Contaminants: 9
Other Detected Contaminants: 22
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 55.01

Corpus Christi, drunkest cities, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

17
Corpus Christi, TX

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 17
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 54.98

Fort Worth, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, flip a house, longest commutes, commute, rent, property, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

16
Fort Worth, TX

Number of Contaminants: 10
Other Detected Contaminants: 20
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 54.49

Amarillo, cowboy horse statue, drunkest cities, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

15
Amarillo, TX

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 18
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 53.98

Worst drinking water

14
Rockford, IL

Number of Contaminants: 12
Other Detected Contaminants: 17
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 10
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 2
Dirty Water Score: 52.70

Brownsville, TX, worst singles scenes, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

13
Brownsville, TX

Number of Contaminants: 12
Other Detected Contaminants: 17
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 52.46

McKinney, suburban homes, longest-living cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, longest commutes, commute, worst drinking water

12
McKinney, TX

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 20
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 51.98

El Paso, happiest cities, drunkest cities, fattest cities, rent, property, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

11
El Paso, TX

Number of Contaminants: 10
Other Detected Contaminants: 23
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 51.49

Dallas, happiest cities, drunkest cities, fattest cities, best cities to buy a mansion, flip a house, rent, property, best job opportunities, sleepless cities, worst drinking water

10
Dallas, TX

Number of Contaminants: 10
Other Detected Contaminants: 23
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 51.49

mcallen texas drunkest cities fattest cities, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

9
McAllen, TX

Number of Contaminants: 12
Other Detected Contaminants: 18
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 51.46

Lubbock, happiest cities, drunkest cities, best cities to buy a mansion, worst drinking water

8
Lubbock, TX

Number of Contaminants: 12
Other Detected Contaminants: 18
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 51.46

Frisco, circus, longest-living cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, longest commutes, commute, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

7
Frisco, TX

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 21
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 50.98

Plano, happiest cities, longest-living cities, healthiest cities, best cities to buy a mansion, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

6
Plano, TX

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 21
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 50.98

Pasadena, TX, worst singles scenes, kayak, worst drinking water

5
Pasadena, CA

Number of Contaminants: 14
Other Detected Contaminants: 14
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 50.67

Irving, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, worst drinking water

4
Irving, TX

Number of Contaminants: 10
Other Detected Contaminants: 24
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 50.49

Garland, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, worst drinking water

3
Garland, TX

Number of Contaminants: 11
Other Detected Contaminants: 22
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 49.98

Midland, drunkest cities, best cities to buy a mansion, best job opportunities, worst drinking water

2
Midland, TX

Number of Contaminants: 13
Other Detected Contaminants: 17
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 30
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 6
Dirty Water Score: 49.95

modesto california, sleepless cities, worst drinking water

1
Modesto, CA

Number of Contaminants: 13
Other Detected Contaminants: 20
Rank of Number of Manufacturing Establishments/Sq. Mile: 11
Rank of the total Farm Ag. Chemical Expenses: 1
Dirty Water Score: 47.19

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