Table of Contents
Can You Drink Tap Water in Tuscaloosa?
Yes, Tuscaloosa's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Tuscaloosa has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. To find more recent info we might have, you can check out our boil water notice page or the city's water provider website.
According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, Tuscaloosa's water utility, Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer, had 0 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. The last violation for Tuscaloosa was resolved on July 31, 2018. This assessment is based on the Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.
While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.
The EPA is reviewing if it’s current regulations around pollutant levels in tap water are strict enough, and the health dangers posed by unregulated pollutants, like PFAS.
Water Quality Report for Tuscaloosa Tap Water
The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Tuscaloosa tap water are in its 2020 Water Quality Report. As you can see, there are levels which the EPA considers to be acceptable, but being below the maximum allowable level doesn’t necessarily mean the water is healthy.
Lead in tap water, for example, is currently allowed at up to 15ppb by the EPA, but it has set the ideal goal for lead at zero. This highlights how meeting EPA standards doesn’t necessarily mean local tap water is healthy.
EPA regulations continue to change as it evaluates the long term impacts of chemicals and updates drinking water acceptable levels. The rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.
There are also a number of "emerging" contaminants that are not currently. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are called "forever chemicals" since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time.
We recommend looking at the contaminants present in Tuscaloosa's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.
Tuscaloosa Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years
Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer for Tuscaloosa in Alabama. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.
From July 1, 2018 to July 31, 2018, Tuscaloosa had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) which falls into the Microbials rule code group, and the Surface Water Treatment Rules rule code family for the following contaminant code: Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.
From April 1, 2015 to April 30, 2015, Tuscaloosa had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) which falls into the Microbials rule code group, and the Surface Water Treatment Rules rule code family for the following contaminant code: Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.
From Feb. 1, 2015 to Feb. 28, 2015, Tuscaloosa had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) which falls into the Microbials rule code group, and the Surface Water Treatment Rules rule code family for the following contaminant code: Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.
From Sept. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2014, Tuscaloosa had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Chlorite.
From Jan. 1, 2012 to Jan. 31, 2012, Tuscaloosa had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Chlorite.
From Oct. 1, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2011, Tuscaloosa had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Chlorite.
Is there Lead in Tuscaloosa Water?
Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the Tuscaloosa water system, Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer, between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, 0.0 mg/L of lead in Tuscaloosa water. This is 0% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from Tuscaloosa contained more lead.
While Tuscaloosa water testing may have found 0.0 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.
No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.
Are there PFAS in Tuscaloosa Tap Water?
Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be no military bases near Tuscaloosa with suspected leaks.
With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if Tuscaloosa has been evaluated for yet.
Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.
Tuscaloosa SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years
|Compliance Period||Status||Health-Based?||Category Code||Code||Rule Code||Contaminant Code||Rule Group Code||Rule Family Code|
|07/01/2018 - 07/31/2018||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) (38)||Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (122)||Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (0300)||Microbials (100)||Surface Water Treatment Rules (120)|
|04/01/2015 - 04/30/2015||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) (38)||Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (122)||Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (0300)||Microbials (100)||Surface Water Treatment Rules (120)|
|02/01/2015 - 02/28/2015||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) (38)||Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (122)||Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (0300)||Microbials (100)||Surface Water Treatment Rules (120)|
|09/01/2014 - 09/30/2014||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27)||Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)||Chlorite (1009)||Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200)||Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)|
|01/01/2012 - 01/31/2012||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27)||Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)||Chlorite (1009)||Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200)||Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)|
|10/01/2011 - 10/31/2011||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27)||Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)||Chlorite (1009)||Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200)||Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)|
What do these Violations Mean?
Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.
Health Based Violations
- Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
- Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
- Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.
Non-Health Based Violations
- Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
- Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
- Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.
SDWA Table Key
|Compliance Period||Dates of the compliance period.|
Current status of the violation.
|Health-Based?||Whether the violation is health based.|
The category of violation that is reported.
|Code||A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.|
|Contaminant Code||A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.|
Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
|Rule Group Code||
Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
|Rule Family Code||
Code for rule family.
For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.
Tuscaloosa Water - Frequently Asked Questions
|By Mail:||2201 UNIVERSITY BLVD
TUSCALOOSA, AL, 35401
Existing customers can login to their Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer account to pay their Tuscaloosa water bill by clicking here.
If you want to pay your Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your Tuscaloosa water bill.
If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your Tuscaloosa water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.
Moving to a new house or apartment in Tuscaloosa means you will often need to put the water in your name with Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer. In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.
Leaving your house or apartment in Tuscaloosa means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer. In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.
The estimated price of bottled water
$1.59 in USD (1.5-liter)
USER SUBMITTED RATINGS
- Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 35% Low
- Water Pollution 40% Moderate
- Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 65% High
- Water Quality 60% High
The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Tuscaloosa, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).
Tuscaloosa Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report)
The EPA mandates that towns and cities consistently monitor and test their tap water. They must report their findings in an annual Consumer Confidence Report. Below is the most recent water quality report from Tuscaloosa's Water. If you would like to see the original version of the report, please click here.
The City of Tuscaloosa is pleased to provide this Annual Water Quality Report to you. This report provides information on the sources of our water, the results of our tests, and important information about water and health.
The sources of drinking water (tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and radioactive material, and it can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.
Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
- Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water
run-off,industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
- Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, storm water run- off, and residential uses.
Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are
by-productsof industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
- Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and
All drinking water, including bottled drinking water, may be reasonably expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water.
Based on a study conducted by ADEM with the approval of the EPA a statewide waiver for the monitoring of asbestos and dioxin was issued. Thus, monitoring for these contaminants was not required.
THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was signed into law on December 16, 1974. Amended in 1996, the SDWA added provisions for consumer involvement and
The amendments recognized that some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. People who are
EPA/CDC guidelines on means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline
STATEMENTS ON LEAD IN WATER
The City of Tuscaloosa is responsible for providing high quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. Lead is rarely found in source water. It is primarily from corrosion of materials that were used in older plumbing, solder that connects pipes, or from pipes connecting a house to the main water pipe in the street. Lead is no longer used in manufacturing these products, but older plumbing components still remain in some older homes. When water sits for several hours in these older pipes lead can leach into the water.
Elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women, infants, and young children. The EPA and the CDC make the following recommendations:
- Never use warm tap water to mix baby formula. Use only water from the cold tap for drinking and cooking.
Before using any tap water for drinking or cooking, flush your water system by running the tap on COLD for
1–2minutes. Flushing can minimize the potential for lead exposure.
- Periodically remove the aerator on the tip of the faucet and wash out any debris such as metal particles.
- Boiling water will NOT reduce lead in water.
If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize your family’s exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline
PLAIN LANGUAGE DEFINITIONS
To help you better understand the terms use in this report, please note the following abbreviations and definitions: AL - Action Level; the level of a contaminant that, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements.
ca – coliform absent cfu - colony forming units
DBP - disinfection byproducts MCL- maximum contaminant level MCLG - maximum contaminant level goal
mg/l - milligrams per liter; equivalent to parts per million mrem/yr - millirems per year; a measure of radiation NTU - nephelometric turbidity unit; turbidity units
NA - not applicable ND - not detected
ppb - parts per billion; equal to micrograms per liter ppm - parts per million; equal to mg/L (milligrams per liter) ppq - parts per quadrillion
picograms/l - picograms per liter
pCi/L- picocuries per liter; a measure of radiation
ppt – parts per trillion; equal to ng/L or nanograms per liter S.U. - standard units; a measure the water’s pH
- - treatment technique; process to reduce contaminant µg/L - micrograms per liter; equal to parts per billion V&E - variances & exemptions
The City of Tuscaloosa’s
Mayor and Council
Walt Maddox, Mayor
Phyllis W. Odom, District 1
Raevan Howard, District 2
Cynthia Lee Almond, District 3
Lee Busby, District 4
Kip Tyner, District 5
Eddie Pugh, District 6
Sonya McKinstry, District 7
The Tuscaloosa City Council meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of Tuscaloosa City Hall, 2201 University Boulevard. The Tuscaloosa News publishes the agenda for each meeting, and The City of Tuscaloosa posts the agenda on the website www.tuscaloosa.com. You may contact the City Clerk for more information at (205)
ED LOVE WATER PLANT RECEIVES THE
In 2020, the City of Tuscaloosa was awarded the Water Fluoridation Quality Award by the CDC. This is awarded to water treatment plans that achieved optimal fluoridation levels for all 12 months of the year.
In 2019, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, (ADEM), recognized the Ed Love Water Filtration Plant for achieving optimized performance goals. To win this award, plants must exceed the US EPA requirements by a factor of three or more for the entire year.
Please join us in thanking the staff of the City of Tuscaloosa Water Treatment Plants for their dedication to ensure that customers receive the best possible water quality.
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION
Water Billing Office Turn On/Turn Off
Office Hours: Mon. – Fri. 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Drive Thru: Mon. – Fri. 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Office Hours: Mon. – Fri. 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Distribution Division Line Breaks/Leaks Office Hours: Mon. – Fri. 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 205-
Tuscaloosa 311 Call Center Operational Hours: Mon. – Fri. 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Calling 311 connects you to all
More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline
ANNUAL WATER QUALITY REPORT
Testing Performed January - December 2020
Ed Love Water Filtration Plant
1125 Jack Warner Parkway North East
Jerry Plott Water Filtration Plant
2101 New Watermelon Road
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35406
For Additional Information Contact:
THE SOURCE OF OUR DRINKING WATER
Lake Tuscaloosa is our primary source for drinking water. It is a
Our Great Lake!
Celebrating 50 Years as Tuscaloosa’s
Premier Water Source!
The City of Tuscaloosa developed a Source Water Assessment that assists in protecting our water sources. This plan provides information such as potential sources of contamination. It classifies potential contaminants as high, moderate, or
OUR WATER TREATMENT PROCESSES
The Ed Love Water Filtration Plant and the Jerry Plott Water Filtration Plant supply water to nearly 200,000 customers in the metropolitan Tuscaloosa area. These facilities operate
The Jerry Plott Water Filtration Plant can treat 14 million gallons/day. Each plant utilizes the basic five steps of treatment: coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and chlorination. The speed of treatment and the chemicals used to accomplish the five steps differ somewhat for each plant. The biggest difference in the two plants is in the filtration step.
The Ed Love Water Treatment Plant utilizes conventional filtration consisting of two layers of filter media. An
The Jerry Plott facility utilizes pressure to squeeze water through membranes made of Polyvinylidene Fluoride, PVDF. This lightweight plastic polymer is formed into long hollow tubes. The hollow tubes have an appearance reminiscent of spaghetti. The water molecules pass though the filter and collect in the hollow center of the fibers. Dirt, pathogens, organic material, and bacteria are left on the outside of the fibers. After filtration, the water receives a dose of chlorine in the form of sodium hypochlorite. This chemical is commonly known as bleach. The water goes to a storage tank called a clear well. This tank gives the chlorine time to disinfect the water before it is pumped to the distribution system, and our customers. Facilities in our distribution include:
Water Mains in service, 4” and larger
Water storage tanks
Water storage capacity
Water booster pump stations
Public fire hydrants
MONITORING RULE NUMBER 4
The Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR4) required water systems serving more than 10,000 people to monitor for 30 unregulated contaminants over a
UCMR 4 CHEMICALS
DETECTED DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS
We routinely monitor for constituents in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws, and we are pleased that we have met or surpassed water quality standards set by the EPA and the ADEM.
The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. MCL’s, defined in a List of Definitions in this report, are set at very stringent levels. To understand the possible health effects described for many regulated constituents, a person would have to drink 2 liters of water every day at the MCL level for a lifetime to have a
PRIMARY DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS
Below is a list of Primary Drinking Water Contaminants for which our water system routinely monitors. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) allows us to monitor for some contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently. This report contains results from the most recent monitoring which was in accordance with the regulatory schedule.
Tuscaloosa Water & Sewer
EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.
- Serves: 132936
- Data available: 2012-2017
- Data Source: Surface water
- Total: 16
Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines
- Radium%2C combined (-226 & -228)
- Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
Other Detected Contaminants
- Chromium (hexavalent)
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
- Nitrate and nitrite
Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.
Sources and Resources
Have you ever heard of the Tuscaloosa United States of America? This is a city located in Alabama and it is known to be the home of several famous figures such as Jesse James, Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, and many others. However, most people do not know that this is a city where one can find water treatment systems which are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation.
There are actually two types of tap water. The first is what is known as "distilled" water which is basically the water that comes out of the tap when you turn it on. This water may have minerals in it that can damage your health especially if you drink and bathe with it too frequently. You should check the labels on the bottles that your tap water comes from to make sure that it is safe for you to use.
The second type of tap water is known as "treated" water, which is the water that is sold by water companies. They then put chemicals in it so that it is easier t