Truckee Meadows Stands by Its Tap Water Quality Despite EWG Report

The Environmental Working Group's report has called the safety of tap water into question and now some of the targets are pushing back.

The non-profit group ranked utilities by its standards of water quality, placing the Truckee Meadows Water Authority ( TMWA) of Reno, Nev., and Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Veges very low.

Various agencies are responding to the research from the Environmental Working Group, including American Water Works Association, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are all issuing statements refuting the report, according to Truckee Meadows Water Authority.

“The fact is that Reno and Las Vegas drinking water meets and is significantly better than federal Environmental Protection Agency’s water standards,” said Allen Biaggi, director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which oversees the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, the agency responsible for Nevada’s safe drinking water program.

“EWG’s criticism amounts to saying federal water quality requirements are not adequate. It’s like saying driving 25 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone is too fast.”

Points in the EWG press reports that were not emphasized include:

  • Ten states were not included in the EWG’s ranking of cities by water quality, which means ranking of any kind is meaningless;
  • Cities ranked by EWG as some of the “best” water purveyors have had EPA water quality violations in recent years;
  • EWG receives financial compensation for the sale of water filters (NDEP provided a link to the EWG Web site for this statement but the information apparently was moved);
  • TMWA and the Southern Nevada Water Authority are both in compliance with EPA and Nevada Safe Drinking Water requirements;
  • EWG’s information does not appear to have been subjected to scientific review and not been verified by the Division of Environmental Protection.

In its press release, TMWA authorities stated: "It is important that you know we are working to present factual information in response to this and have communicated proof of our high-quality water to all that ask. TMWA is and always has been in compliance with all EPA and Nevada state drinking water standards. EPA has no record of any health-based violations at any time reported by the state for TMWA.

"We are proud of the high-quality water we deliver and we are ready to present as much data as possible to ensure that customers understand we deliver some of the highest quality water in the nation. The EPA’s standards are among the most stringent standards in the world and we have always been in compliance with those high standards."

TMWA is a not-for-profit water utility, overseen by elected officials from Reno, Sparks and Washoe County. It employs a highly skilled team that ensures the treatment, delivery and availability of high-quality drinking water around the clock for more than 330,000 residents of the Truckee Meadows.

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