1. What is a Cross-Connection?
  2. How can I learn more about Cross-Connections?
  3. Does our water meet EPA standards?
  4. What substances do we test for?
  5. Who analyzes these samples?
  6. What if a contaminant is found in the water?
  7. What is the pH of Albuquerque’s water?
  8. How hard is my water?
  9. How do I convert hardness in parts per million to grains per gallon?
  10. What is TDS?
  11. What about lead in my water?
  12. Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
  13. Why is my water cloudy?
  14. Do I need to flush out my hot water heater?
  15. How can I get Water Quality information for a school project?
  16. What about home water treatment devices?
  17. How do I get a private well tested?

 


What is a Cross-Connection?

Contaminants from cross-connected plumbing can backflow into drinking water supplies. A backflow is just what it sounds like: water is flowing in the opposite direction from its normal flow. Without proper protection, something as useful as a garden hose can contaminate the water supply inside your home. When you use a sprayer on the end of a hose, a change in water pressure could cause the water, and the chemicals, to flow in the opposite direction into your home. You can install simple, inexpensive devices on water taps to prevent backflow. To protect the water system from contamination, businesses and institutions that use hazardous materials are required to install backflow prevention devices. All irrigation systems must have backflow prevention devices. For more information, visit Cross Connections, call the Cross Connections Office at 289-3417, or e-mail backflow@abcwua.org.

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How can I learn more about Cross-Connections?

To learn more, visit USEPA’s website to review the Cross-Connection Control Manual or the Water Authority’s Cross Connections web page.

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Does our water meet EPA standards?

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, USEPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The water supplied to our customers meets or is better than all federal and state drinking water standards. The Water Authority water quality monitoring program not only meets all requirements, but performs additional monitoring to assure our customers that our water is of the highest quality.

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What substances do we test for?

USEPA requires routine monitoring for more than 80 regulated substances and 25 unregulated substances. Our monitoring program tests for more than 180 substances in wells, treated surface water and water tanks and at customer water taps at representative sampling points throughout the water distribution system.

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Who analyzes these samples?

Most samples are analyzed by either the New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division or the Water Authority’s Water Quality Laboratory. SLD is the only USEPA certified laboratory in the state. The WQL is certified by the New Mexico Environment Department to perform drinking water analysis. For a list of certified laboratories contact the NMED Drinking Water Bureau.

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What if a contaminant is found in the water?

If a sample failed to meet one of these standards, the Water Authority would take immediate action to confirm the finding, correct the problem and would issue an alert with guidance on how to protect yourself and your family until the problem was corrected.

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What is the pH of Albuquerque’s water?

The pH level ranges from 7.1 to 8.4 in distribution. The average pH is 7.6. (Note: pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH level above 7 indicates alkalinity, and pH levels of less than 7 indicate acidity.) You can find the pH of water in your distribution zone on this web site.

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How hard is my water?

“Hardness” refers to the calcium and magnesium content of water. Since December 2008, treated surface water and groundwater from both sides of the river have been blended and served throughout the system. Depending on the sources and blend, the hardness will range from moderately hard to hard. This site contains information regarding the hardness in your water distribution zone.

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How do I convert hardness in parts per million to grains per gallon?

Hardness levels are usually expressed in one of two different units, parts per million (PPM) or grains per gallon as calcium carbonate. Divide hardness levels expressed as PPM by 17.1 to obtain levels expressed as grains per gallon.

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What is TDS?

In contrast to water hardness, the total amount of all dissolved matter in the water is known as Total Dissolved Solids or TDS. When water evaporates or is heated, dissolved minerals are left behind. These dissolved minerals are the residue that collects on evaporative coolers during the summer months. Check the water quality results for information on the TDS in your distribution zone.

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What about lead in my water?

Lead and copper typically get into drinking water as a result of corrosion of plumbing systems (pipes, faucets, and lead solder) in customer’s homes. Over the past 20 years, select customers have collected samples for lead and copper testing from taps in their homes. Even in “worst case” scenario homes (homes built between 1982 and 1987) tap water was well below USEPA’s Action Levels for lead and copper. The Water Authority will test your water for lead at no expense. Please complete a Sample Collection Request or call 289-3653 to schedule a sample collection.

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Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

Bacteria growing in sink drains can make hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas causes rotten egg smells that appear to be coming from the water. The smell is really coming from the drain. When water runs down the drain, the gas is forced out where you can smell it. A cup of household bleach poured down the drain will help kill the bacteria and take care of the smell. Hot water heaters can also harbor bacteria that cause rotten egg smells. If your sink drain is not the source, check your hot water heater for rotten egg smells.

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Why is my water cloudy?

Water in the distribution system is under pressure. Air sometimes dissolves in the water in the pressurized lines. At the faucet, the air gives water a “cloudy” or “milky” appearance. The quality of the water is not affected. Let the water stand in an open container for a few minutes. The air in the water will disperse to the atmosphere.

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Do I need to flush out my hot water heater?

Customers sometimes report white particles that clog plumbing fixtures. They may be bits of calcium carbonate scale coming from your water heater. The scaling may be worsened because the water heater thermostat is set too high. If the particles are calcium carbonate, you probably need to flush your water heater. Many manufacturers recommend periodic flushing of water heaters to remove sediment that can build up. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean your hot water heater.

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How can I get Water Quality information?

Information about drinking water quality is available from this web site, by calling the Water Authority’s Water Quality Information line at 289-3653, or sending e-mail to waterquality@abcwua.org. Also check out the Water Authority’s educational materials.

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What about home water treatment devices?

No one unit takes out every kind of drinking water contaminant: you must decide which type best meets your needs. For information, read USEPA’s pamphlet Home Water Treatment Units: Filtering Fact From Fiction. The pamphlet can be requested by contacting the USEPA Safe Drinking Water Act Hotline, 800-426-4791.

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How do I get a private well tested?

For tips on testing private wells contact the New Mexico Environment Department at 222-9500. A pamphlet, Drinking Water From Household Wells, is also available by contacting the USEPA Safe Drinking Water Act Hotline at 800-426-4791. For a fee, a private laboratory will test your well. Make sure that the laboratory is certified to test drinking water. For a list of certified laboratories contact New Mexico Environment Department.

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