Water Quality Test Results
Download a copy of the 2012 water quality test results. Please note that test results are for calendar year 2012 and reported in the 2013 Water Quality and Efficiency Report. These test results are provided as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Download the Grow Smart, Grow Safe handbook
- Get answers to frequently asked questions about water quality
- Learn where Olympia's water comes from
Glossary of Terms
Below is a glossary of terms utilized on the results fact sheet. Terms are listed in ABC order:
- Action Level (AL): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow.
- Cryptosporidium: A one-celled parasite that can cause a gastrointestinal illness called cryptosporidiosis.
- Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
- Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLG allows for a margin of safety.
- Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU): Unit by which turbidity is measured.
- Parts Per Million (PPM): Parts per million is a unit of measurement. One part per million is equivalent to about half of a dissolved aspirin tablet (or 162 mg) in a full bathtub of water (about 50 gallons), one minute in two years or a single penny in $10,000. This unit is interchangeable with milligrams per liter (mg/l).
- Parts Per Billion (PPB): Parts per billion is a unit of measurement. It is equivalent to about one dissolved aspirin tablet (or 326 mg) in a 25-meter swimming pool (about 100,000 gallons), one minute in 2,000 years or a single penny in $10,000,000.
- Turbidity: Measures the cloudiness of water and is a good indicator of water quality.
- Treatment Technique: A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.
- Picocuries Per Liter (pCi/L): A picocurie is one trillionth of a curie, and represents about 2.2 radioactive particle disintegrations per minute.
Required Statement Regarding Lead
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The City of Olympia is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components.
When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you may wish to have your water tested.
Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at: www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
Information About Contaminants and Health Concerns
As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material. It will also pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include microbial contaminants, inorganic contaminants, organic chemical contaminants, pesticides and herbicides and radioactive contaminants.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has a summary of the City’s susceptibility to contamination, including maps of our Drinking Water Protection Areas at: www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/swaphome.htm.
To ensure the tap water you drink is safe, the DOH and the EPA set regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in drinking water. The Food and Drug Administration and the Washington Department of Agriculture set limits for contaminants in bottled water and both must provide the same protection for public health.
DOH grants the City of Olympia waivers for certain monitoring requirements if previous monitoring results conclude that the risk of contamination by a specific substance is very low.
Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1.800.426.4791).
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk for infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1.800.426.4791).