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Complete Health Indicator Report of Community Water Systems: Arsenic Concentration

Definition

Arsenic concentrations (micrograms of arsenic per liter of water or mcg/L) in community drinking water systems (CWS) are used in conjunction with information about each CWS (such as service population) to generate the following measures shown in this report: 1) statewide arsenic concentration distribution in CWSs by mean and maximum over time, 2) annual distribution of mean and maximum arsenic concentration for persons served by CWS and 3) annual distribution of mean and maximum arsenic concentration by CWS. EPHT data queries -- https://nmtracking.org/dataportal/query/selection/water/WaterSelection.html -- provide detailed results by year for 1) mean arsenic concentration by CWS for a select year, 2) maximum arsenic concentration by CWS for a select year, 3) mean arsenic concentration and the number of CWS by year, 4) maximum arsenic concentration and the number of CWS by year, 5) mean arsenic concentration and the number of persons served by year or 6) maximum arsenic concentration and the number of persons served by year. Additionally, users may query the number of persons served and the number of CWS in the state for a select year. A CWS is a public water system (PWS) that serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or mobile home park that has at least 15 service connections or an average of at least 25 residents. These CWSs are a subset of all New Mexico PWSs. To measure arsenic concentration in CWS, drinking water samples are usually taken at entry points to the distribution system or representative sampling points after water treatment has occurred.

Numerator

Concentration of arsenic.

Denominator

Not applicable.

Data Interpretation Issues

Measures do not account for the variability in sampling, number of sampling repeats, etc. Furthermore, concentrations in drinking water cannot be directly converted to exposure because water consumption varies by climate, level of physical activity, and between people. Due to potential errors in estimating service population, the measures may overestimate or underestimate the number of potentially affected people. In addition, the older data (i.e., 1999 through 2004) may be of poor quality that could result in over- or underestimated arsenic concentration in CWS drinking water during 1999-2004.

Why Is This Important?

Arsenic is a toxic chemical element that is naturally found in the Earth's crust, in soil, rocks, and minerals. It can also be released into the environment from agriculture and industrial activities. Arsenic can enter drinking water through the ground or as run-off into surface water sources. There is a wide variation in the levels of arsenic found in community drinking water systems' (CWS) supplies across New Mexico. In 2001 (effective January 23, 2006 for surface water- and 2007 or 2008 for ground water-supplied CWS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduced the regulatory drinking water standard or Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) from 50 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) to 10 mcg/L on the basis of bladder and lung cancer risks. People who drink water containing arsenic in excess of EPA's standard and over many years could experience skin, cardiovascular, neurological , liver, and kidney problems; they also may have an increased risk of diabetes and of developing certain cancers (such as bladder and lung cancers). Community systems' drinking water is routinely monitored and tested for arsenic by CWS to comply with the 10 mcg/L EPA standard for arsenic. (A CWS is a system that serves at least 15 locations or 25 people year-round, including most cities and towns, apartment buildings, and mobile parks with their own water supplies.) Every year, CWS send to their customers a consumer confidence report (also called a water quality report) that lists any levels of arsenic detected. EPA also requires all CWS to give their customers public notice when their water supply violates the arsenic standard. This would include information about what is being done to correct the situation. However, people who use their private wells water for drinking are solely responsible for testing the water for arsenic (for information about laboratories certified to test drinking water and certified home treatment units visit https://nmtracking.org/environment/water/PrivateWells.html).

Other Objectives

CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking, Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (EPHT NCDM)

Health Program Information

Arsenic measures are developed from CWS water quality data stored in the New Mexico Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) database, which is managed by the New Mexico Environment Department's Drinking Water Bureau. All CWS are required to monitor for arsenic; however the frequency of monitoring varies depending on source water type and the level of arsenic observed in past samples. Routine, required monitoring is annual for surface water sources and once every three years for ground water sources of drinking water, with a quarterly monitoring if a sample exceeds 10 mcg/L. With a state-granted monitoring waiver, the sampling frequency can be reduced to once every nine years.


Related Indicators

Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicators:




Graphical Data Views

Arsenic Concentration in New Mexico CWS, Mean and Maximum by Year, New Mexico, 1999-2018

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

Mean vs. Max ConcentrationsYearArsenic concentration (mcg/L)Lower LimitUpper LimitNote
Record Count: 40
NM Mean Concentration19993.271.754.79
NM Mean Concentration20003.512.494.52
NM Mean Concentration20013.483.033.94
NM Mean Concentration20023.583.114.06
NM Mean Concentration200314.280.2528.31
NM Mean Concentration200413.680.1327.23
NM Mean Concentration200511.52-1.2324.27
NM Mean Concentration20063.63.144.06
NM Mean Concentration20073.623.114.13
NM Mean Concentration20083.493.033.95
NM Mean Concentration20093.332.893.77
NM Mean Concentration20103.222.763.67
NM Mean Concentration201132.623.37
NM Mean Concentration20122.892.543.25
NM Mean Concentration20133.042.583.51
NM Mean Concentration20142.862.553.17
NM Mean Concentration20152.912.583.23
NM Mean Concentration20162.812.483.14
NM Mean Concentration20172.712.413
NM Mean Concentration20182.622.332.91
NM Max Concentration1999127.85
NM Max Concentration2000127.85
NM Max Concentration200139.1
NM Max Concentration200240.4
NM Max Concentration2003**Value not reliable.
NM Max Concentration200445
NM Max Concentration2005185
NM Max Concentration200646.89
NM Max Concentration200759.3
NM Max Concentration200846.92
NM Max Concentration200946.2
NM Max Concentration201069.5
NM Max Concentration201145.57
NM Max Concentration201249.75
NM Max Concentration2013100
NM Max Concentration201447.75
NM Max Concentration201545.5
NM Max Concentration201647.5
NM Max Concentration201746.25
NM Max Concentration201848.25

Data Notes

Data Source: New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau, New Mexcio Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Measured arsenic concentrations in finished drinking water can be used to understand the distribution of potential arsenic exposure levels for populations served by community water supplies. Due to potential errors in estimating service population, the measures may overestimate or underestimate the number of potentially affected people. In addition, the older data (i.e., 1999 through 2004) may be of poor quality that could result in over- or underestimated arsenic concentration in CWS drinking water during 1999-2004. These measures allow for comparison of potential arsenic exposures between the populations served by different water systems over time.

Data Source

New Mexico Environment Department, Drinking Water Bureau


Distribution of Number of People Served by Community Water Systems (CWS) by Mean and Maximum Arsenic Concentration (Micrograms per Liter) by Year, New Mexico 2018

::chart - missing::

Mean vs. Max ConcentrationsArsenic Concentration Range (mcg/L)Number of People Served
Record Count: 12
NM Mean Concentration0-5.001,569,380
NM Mean Concentration>5-10.00320,606
NM Mean Concentration>10-20.0024,238
NM Mean Concentration>20-30.000
NM Mean Concentration>30.00126
NM Mean ConcentrationUnknown222
NM Max Concentration0-5.00803,294
NM Max Concentration>5-10.001,058,660
NM Max Concentration>10-20.0051,661
NM Max Concentration>20-30.00411
NM Max Concentration>30.00324
NM Max ConcentrationUnknown222

Data Notes

Data Source: New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau, New Mexcio Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Measured arsenic concentrations in finished drinking water can be used to understand the distribution of potential arsenic exposure levels for populations served by community water supplies. Due to potential errors in estimating service population, the measures may overestimate or underestimate the number of potentially affected people. In addition, the older data (i.e., 1999 through 2004) may be of poor quality that could result in over- or underestimated arsenic concentration in CWS drinking water during 1999-2004. These measures allow for comparison of potential arsenic exposures between the populations served by different water systems over time.

Data Source

New Mexico Environment Department, Drinking Water Bureau


Distribution of Number of Community Water Systems (CWS) by Maximum and Mean Arsenic Concentration (Micrograms per Liter) by Year, New Mexico 2018

::chart - missing::

Mean vs. Max ConcentrationsArsenic Concentration Range (mcg/L)Number of Community Water Systems
Record Count: 12
NM Mean Concentration0-5.00485
NM Mean Concentration>5-10.0072
NM Mean Concentration>10-20.006
NM Mean Concentration>20-30.000
NM Mean Concentration>30.001
NM Mean ConcentrationUnknown1
NM Max Concentration0-5.00472
NM Max Concentration>5-10.0080
NM Max Concentration>10-20.009
NM Max Concentration>20-30.001
NM Max Concentration>30.002
NM Max ConcentrationUnknown1

Data Notes

Data Source: New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau, New Mexcio Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Measured arsenic concentrations in finished drinking water can be used to understand the distribution of potential arsenic exposure levels for populations served by community water supplies. Due to potential errors in estimating service population, the measures may overestimate or underestimate the number of potentially affected people. In addition, the older data (i.e., 1999 through 2004) may be of poor quality that could result in over- or underestimated arsenic concentration in CWS drinking water during 1999-2004. These measures allow for comparison of potential arsenic exposures between the populations served by different water systems over time.

Data Source

New Mexico Environment Department, Drinking Water Bureau

More Resources and Links

Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:

Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:

Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.

Page Content Updated On 04/15/2019, Published on 04/17/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site (http://ibis.health.state.nm.us). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 15 December 2019 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.health.state.nm.us".

Content updated: Wed, 17 Apr 2019 11:28:23 MDT