362 systems serving 4,883,170 people
  This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in Alabama, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. It is part of EWG's national database that includes 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results from 45 states and the District of Columbia. Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount. Despite this widespread contamination, the federal government invests few resources in protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place. The information below summarizes drinking water quality for this state.

Water Utilities
Population Served
Detected Chemicals
Exceed health guidelines*
Exceed Legal Limits*
Unregulated chemicals detected
* Water utilities are noted as exceeding the legal limit if any test is above the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Most MCLs are based on annual averages so exceeding the MCL for one test does not necessarily indicate that the system is out of compliance.
  36 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

Contaminants detected in Alabama drinking water above health guidelines, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data obtained from state water authorities

Number of Systems
At Any Level Above Health Limits At Any Level Above Health Limits
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs) 4,001,566 3,785,786 243 215
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 4,031,652 3,216,596 252 148
Bromodichloromethane 3,189,985 3,189,985 132 132
Dibromochloromethane 3,075,888 2,982,561 120 115
Chloroform 3,272,623 2,679,209 149 70
Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium) 1,511,363 1,511,363 74 74
Radium-228 1,496,520 1,496,520 30 30
Aluminum 2,592,055 1,151,562 162 32
Radium-226 1,026,189 1,026,189 14 14
Combined Radium (-226 & -228) 985,374 985,374 12 12

  Sources of Alabama Drinking Water Contaminants

The contaminants identified in Alabama drinking water come from a wide variety of sources, including agriculture, industry, water treatment plants, and polluted storm runoff from urban areas.

72 Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2008)
19 Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Arsenic (total), Chlorate, Cyanide, Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Dalapon, Diquat, Simazine, Metolachlor, Atrazine, Heptachlor epoxide, Bromomethane, Foaming agents (surfactants), Chlordane, p-Dichlorobenzene, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Ethylbenzene

21 Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Tetrachloroethylene, MTBE, Nitrite, Xylenes (total), Dalapon, Cadmium (total), Antimony (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Cyanide, Foaming agents (surfactants), Benzene, Silver (total), p-Dichlorobenzene, Naphthalene, Chlordane

56 Industrial Pollutants

Aluminum, Arsenic (total), Chlorate, Chlorine dioxide, Chlorite, Barium (total), Cadmium (total), Chromium (total), Cyanide, Lead (total), Manganese, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Silver (total), Antimony (total), Beryllium (total), Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Pentachlorophenol, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Dibromomethane, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, Foaming agents (surfactants), Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), p-Dichlorobenzene, Vinyl chloride, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, Carbon tetrachloride, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228, Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L)

15 Water Treatment and Distribution Byproducts
(pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Bromoform, Chlorite, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Cadmium (total), Chloromethane, Chlorine dioxide, Chlorate, Vinyl chloride, Dibromomethane, Bromochloromethane

21 Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Barium (total), Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Manganese, Radium-228, Radium-226, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L), Chromium (total), Aluminum, Selenium (total), Nitrite, Radon, Mercury (total inorganic), Chloromethane, Cyanide, Silver (total)

18 Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Chlorate, Chlorine dioxide, Lead (total), Metolachlor, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Bromomethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Dibromomethane, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Radon

  Testing Summary for Alabama

The federal government has set standards for some of the pollutants found in tap water supplies.

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in Alabama 162
  Contaminants tested due to federal law: 110
  Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 52
  Violation Summary for Alabama

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Alabama since 2004

Violation Type Number of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly 2,079
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule 140
Over maximum contaminant level, Average 128
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria) 85
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria) 74
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria) 56
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling 28
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report 8
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria) 7
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria) 7
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal 6
Public Notification Violation for National Primary Drinking Water Regulations 5
Operations Report 1
Filter Turbidity Reporting 1
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria) 1
Improper Treatment Techniques 1
Over maximum contaminant level, Single Sample 1

Sources : EWG (Environmental Working Group)