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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 2013

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

140-245

500 mg/L e

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

pH

pH

6.8-8.2

6.5-8.5 e

Influenced by the dissolved minerals in the water and water treatment

Temperature

°C

1.3-19.4

<15 °C e

Surface-water temperature

Total dissolved solids

mg/L

177-294

<500 e

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Turbidity

NTU c

<0.05-0.16

1.0 g

Suspended particles in solution

Inorganic Substances

Aluminum

mg/L

0.0189-0.2889

0.1 f

Plant treatment

Arsenic

mg/L

<0.0005-0.0005

0.01

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Barium mg/L 0.0306-0.0833 1.0 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Cadmium

mg/L

<0.0005

0.005

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Calcium

mg/L

35-69

No limit

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Free Chlorine residual

mg/L

0.75-1.36

>0.2

Plant treatment

Chromium

mg/L

<0.0005-0.0021

0.05

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Copper

mg/L

<0.0005-0.0017

<1.0 e

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Fluoridek

mg/L

<0.06-0.28

1.5

Naturally occurring plus plant treatment

Iron

mg/L

<0.050

<0.3 e

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Lead

mg/L

<0.0005

 

0.01

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Magnesium

mg/L

10-19

No limit

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Manganese mg/L <0.0005-0.0143 <0.05 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Mercury

mg/L

<0.00005

0.001

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Nickel

mg/L

<0.0005-0.0017

No limit

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Nitrate as Nitrogen mg/L 0.042-0.183 10 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed
Nitrite as Nitrogen mg/L <0.0044-0.0080 1.0 Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Potassium

mg/L

0.35-1.54

No limit

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Sodium

mg/L

1.4-14.4

<200 e

Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Sulfate mg/L 36-124 <500 e Erosion of natural deposits in watershed

Zinc

mg/L

<0.0030-0.0123

<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

0.0262

0.1

By-product of chlorination

Microbiological Organisms

E. coli i

MPN/100 ml d

Absent

0

Domestic animals, wildlife, and human waste

Total coliforms i

MPN/100 ml d

Absent

0

Soil, domestic animals, and wildlife

Appendice

a Limit stipulated by Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (Health Canada Aug.2012) 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.

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