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Water quality parameters

Calgary's water meets or is better than all federal and provincial health-related guidelines.

Calgary's water quality is tested at every step of the process, from the raw water that enters our treatment plants, through production and distribution, right back to the taps in your home. The parameters we test for are outlined in the table below.

Key Drinking Water Quality Parameters 2014

TREATED WATER AT PLANT

 

Water Quality Parameter Units Drinking Water Limit a Major Source
Basic Water Chemistry (< or < means not detected)
Colour TCU b <2 <15 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Hardness as CaCO3 mg/L 141-240 No limit  Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
pH pH 7.1-8.1 6.5-8.5 Influenced by the dissolved minerals in the water and water treatment
Temperature °C 1.2-21.5 <15 e Surface water temperature
Total dissolved solids mg/L 161.6-296.8 <500 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Turbidity NTU c <0.05-0.09 <0.15 Suspended particles in solution
Inorganic Substances
Aluminum mg/L 0.0681-0.109 0.1 f Plant treatment
Arsenic mg/L <0.0005 0.010 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Barium mg/L 0.0329-0.0757 1.0 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Cadmium mg/L <0.0005 0.005 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Calcium mg/L 32-65 No limit Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Free Chlorine residual mg/L 0.08-1.53 >0.2 Plant treatment
Chromium mg/L <0.0005-0.0007 0.05 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Copper mg/L <0.0005-0.004 <1.0 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Fluoride mg/L 0.08-0.26 1.5 Naturally occurring j
Iron mg/L <0.050 <0.3 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Lead mg/L <0.0005   0.010 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Magnesium mg/L 10-22 No limit Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Manganese mg/L <0.0005-0.0035 <0.05 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Mercury mg/L <0.00005 0.001 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Nickel mg/L <0.0005-0.0014 No limit Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Nitrate as Nitrogen mg/L 0.040-0.224 10 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Nitrite as Nitrogen mg/L <0.003 1 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Potassium mg/L 0.48-3.11 No limit Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Sodium mg/L 2.2-15.8 <200 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Sulfate mg/L 32-89 <500 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Zinc mg/L <0.003-0.008 <5.0 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Microbiological Organisms (<1 means not detected)
E. coli MPN/100 mL d <1 0 Domestic animals, wildlife and human waste
Total Coliform MPN/100 mL d <1 0 Soil, domestic animals, and wildlife
TREATED WATER IN DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

 

Water Quality Parameter Units Drinking Water Limit a Major Source
Volatile Organic Substances
Total Trihalomethanes h mg/L 0.0142-0.0348 0.1 By-product of chlorination
Microbiological Organisms i
E. coli Present or Absent/100mL Absent 0 Domestic animals, wildlife, and human waste
Total coliforms Present or Absent/100mL Absent 0 Soil, domestic animals, and wildlife

Appendice

a Limit stipulated by Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (Health Canada October 2014) or Alberta Government operating approval for aesthetic, health, and operational reasons.
b TCU = True Colour Units.
c NTU = Nephelometric Turbidity Units, a measure of water clarity.
d MPN = Most Probable Number
e Aesthetic objective, which is not a health-related limit
f Federal operational guidance value, which is not a health-related limit.
g Lower limits are stipulated for some operating conditions.
h Annual average values.
i Samples collected from the distribution system are analyzed at the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health as required by Alberta Environment operating approval.
j The City of Calgary ceased fluoridation of its drinking water on May 19, 2011.

NOTE: mg/L = milligrams per litre, or parts per million (ppm)