Drinking water quality*

Updated 7/12/19 – *Note that this measure is also an environmental determinant of health

The majority of Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) water comes from the Truckee River, with additional demand from groundwater from deep-water aquifers (less than 10% of water consumed in 2013; 15% in 2012). This is approximately 8% of the total flow of the Truckee River in a drought year and less in non-drought years. During a typical year, TMWA only uses 3-9% of the total flow of the Truckee River to meet customers’ needs.

Water treatment is more expensive than preventing pollution, especially important in a region with less than 7.5″ of annual rainfall, but also supporting fish and wildlife habitat and year-round recreation.  Consequently, TMWA is a member of the Partnership for Safe Water, implementing prevention programs where legislation and regulation does not exist, to increase drinking water protection against microbial contamination.  TMWA’s drinking water has been in complete compliance with all EPA and State of Nevada standards and regulations since 2000. TMWA’s Truckee Meadows watershed map/video.

Typical sources:

  1. Chlorine—additive used to control microbes
  2. Haloacetic Acids—by-product of chlorination
  3. Trihalomethanes—by-product of disinfection
  4. Antimony—discharge from petroleum refiners, fire retardants, ceramics, electronics, solder, test addition
  5. Arsenic—runoff from orchards, glass & electronics production wastes
  6. Arsenic, Barium, Chromium, Fluoride, Nitrate, Mercury, Alpha emitters, Radium, Uranium, Copper, Lead—erosion of natural deposits
  7. Barium—discharge from drilling wastes and metal refineries
  8. Chromium—discharge from steel & pulp mills
  9. Fluoride—additive which promotes strong teeth, discharge from fertilizer & aluminum factories
  10. Nitrate—runoff from fertilizer uses, leaching from septic tanks & sewage
  11. Beta/photon emitters—decay of natural & man-made deposits
  12. Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethylene—discharge from factories & dry cleaners (from metal degreasing sites for Trichloroethylene)
  13. Copper, Lead—corrosion of household plumbing systems
  14. Coliform—naturally present in the environment
  15. Turbidity—soil runoff
  16. Cyanide—discharge from plastic/fertilizer/steel/metal factories
  17. Mercury—runoff from croplands, discharge from refineries & factories


  • 100% Turbidity (NTU) surface water samples <0.2 NTU in 2016 & <0.3 NTU in 2018

  • Lead samples for 2016-18 were <1.0

  • Visit TMWA water quality reports online for additional detail


Truckee Meadows Water Authority

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