386 systems serving 4,908,697 people
  This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in Kentucky, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection. 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.

  35 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

Contaminants detected in Kentucky 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
Lead (total) 3,711,138 3,711,138 228 228
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs) 3,616,711 3,616,711 211 211
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 3,639,078 3,502,086 213 172
Copper 4,734,450 501,733 375 52
Aluminum 3,167,468 463,402 143 41
Arsenic (total) 451,359 451,359 12 12
Atrazine 348,769 314,119 24 23
Radium-228 287,549 287,549 19 19
Pentachlorophenol 248,064 248,064 1 1
Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium) 190,995 190,995 17 17

  Sources of Kentucky Drinking Water Contaminants

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

63 Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2009)
29 Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Arsenic (total), Cyanide, Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Endrin, Lindane, Methoxychlor, Toxaphene, Dalapon, Diquat, Endothall, Glyphosate, Oxamyl (Vydate), Simazine, Aldicarb sulfoxide, Aldicarb sulfone, Carbofuran, Aldicarb, Atrazine, Heptachlor, Heptachlor epoxide, 2,4-D, Foaming agents (surfactants), 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Chlordane, Ethylbenzene

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

Arsenic (total), Cadmium (total), Copper, Cyanide, Lead (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Silver (total), Antimony (total), Lindane, Dalapon, Glyphosate, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, 2,4-D, Benzo[a]pyrene, Foaming agents (surfactants), Xylenes (total), Chlordane, Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Tetrachloroethylene

40 Industrial Pollutants

Aluminum, Arsenic (total), 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), Thallium (total), Asbestos, Lindane, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Pentachlorophenol, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, Total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Foaming agents (surfactants), Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228, Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L)

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

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chlorite, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Cadmium (total), Asbestos, Benzo[a]pyrene

19 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, Mercury (total inorganic), Cyanide, Silver (total)

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

Lead (total), Aldicarb sulfoxide, Aldicarb sulfone, Aldicarb

  Testing Summary for Kentucky

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

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in Kentucky 85
  Contaminants tested due to federal law: 78
  Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 7
  Violation Summary for Kentucky

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

Violation Type Number of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly 1,124
Over maximum contaminant level, Average 370
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule 318
Inadequate reporting of information to the public 256
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report 197
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria) 196
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal 101
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling 96
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria) 93
Public Notification Violation for National Primary Drinking Water Regulations 88
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria) 76
Filter Turbidity Reporting 43
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria) 30
Excess Turbidity at 0.3 NTU 26
Failure to monitor or report, Routine/Repeat (Indicators of microbial or virus contamination) 25
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria) 13
Failure to monitor or report, Routine/Repeat (Indicators of microbial or virus contamination) 12
Excess Turbidity at 1 NTU 9
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria) 7
Other Non-National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Potential Health Risks 6
Initial Tap Sampling for Lead and Copper 3
Over maximum contaminant level, Single Sample 2
Treatment Technique (Surface Water Treatment Rule) 2

Sources : EWG (Environmental Working Group)