We all want to trust that our tap water is safe. And by most standards, the water quality in Indianapolis is a-okay. The real question, though, is whether your family’s drinking water is living up to your own high standards. The water coming out of your faucet might be clear and seem clean, but there’s definitely more going on than meets the eye.
About Our Local Water
The primary municipal water sources for Indianapolis include the White River and our major reservoirs: Geist, Morse, and Eagle Creek. This is great because they provide a reliable supply, and we have multiple treatment plants around the city and beyond that can pull from those sources year-round. The water arrives at the facility. Then it’s run through a rigorous process to improve the quality and ensure it meets the federal regulations laid out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
By and large, it’s reasonable to expect every municipal water system to adhere to the EPA standards. Yet this isn’t always the case. What’s more, even when a treatment plant does meet those standards, the water could still have certain contaminants present at levels that others would view as excessive.
Drinking Water Quality Concerns
The initial EPA’s national standards for public drinking water were established back in 1974. The latest amendments happened in 1996. A lot of scientific research has come out since then about drinking water quality and the specific safety limits of contaminants such as arsenic, nitrates, and PFAS forever chemicals, which the EPA has only just started to recognize. (They finally proposed a new federal standard for them in March 2023.)
Unfortunately, there’s also the very real risk of having water come out of your tap that’s contaminated with heavy metals. The local Indianapolis water treatment plant definitely works hard to eliminate any lead and copper found in our source water, but the fact that our municipal water has to travel through the pipelines means that even their best efforts can’t remove the risks entirely.
The state of Indiana requires Citizens Energy Group to periodically take water samples from a few customer taps. They use that data to verify that the lead and copper levels are below the EPA’s current maximum contaminant goals. The most recent report shows that everything is on track. But consider this: The regulation only calls for 50 Indianapolis homes and 30 homes in the Westfield system to be tested. Not only that, the tests only happen once every three years. Are the results from those samples really that accurate for the rest of the area?
Any older home can have either lead service lines or lead solder on the copper piping that can leach into our drinking water. In fact, it’s estimated that between 55,000 and 75,000 Indianapolis homes and businesses built before 1950 could have issues with lead plumbing. The only way to truly know that your own tap water is safe is to get it tested on-site. Then you’ll have the information you need to start exploring the different point-of-use filtration options for your home!
Do I Need a Water Softener in Indianapolis?
Our drinking water quality is only part of the equation. We also have to think about all of the other ways we use water on a day to day basis. From doing the laundry and washing the dishes, to taking showers and trying to keep our hair and skin healthy, water is a major player in all of our lives. We’re obviously lucky to have running water on-demand. But again, there are some contaminants we’d rather do without.
For example, having hard minerals in our tap water can be a real nuisance around the house. The dissolved minerals can leave water spots on our dishes and fixtures. They also reduce the efficiency of our water-using appliances and mess with our hair and skin. Cities all across the country have issues with hard water, but for Indianapolis, the levels tend to be especially bad.
According to the latest Water Quality Data Report, the average water hardness level for Indianapolis registers at more than 300 ppm (parts per million). This then converts to 17.5 gpg (grains per gallon). A typical water hardness range is between 3 and 7 gpg, whereas anything over 12 gpg is very hard. So in that sense, we’re basically off the charts!
But since water hardness is an “unregulated contaminant,” the water treatment facilities aren’t required to remove those minerals. The dissolved calcium and magnesium in our water is naturally-occurring, and the EPA doesn’t consider them a risk to human health. Nevertheless, it’s still nice to be able to get rid of them with a home water softener.
No matter where you live or work, installing a water filtration solution at your property can make a huge difference. It all starts with a water quality assessment. Then you can find the right fit for your property—at every tap!