Have you ever filled up a glass of H20 from your tap and found tiny particles floating in it? Have you ever wondered if your water is actually clean? Are there particles floating in there that you can’t see? 

Having clean and clear H20 isn’t usually the first thing we think about when we fill up a glass, but the surprising truth is that some states in the U.S. have less than quality water than others. The CDC says that America has one of the safest drinking water supplies globally. However, studies show that many health problems in America might be attributed to unsafe drinking water. 

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) works hard to keep our supply maintained, and it issues standard regulations for states to follow. However, even with these in place, millions of people drink water that is under the EPA’s regulations. 

Don’t panic if your state is on our list of the poorest quality tap water in the U.S.! We will tell you what you can do to make sure you and your family have cleaner H20 at home below.

What Exactly Causes Contaminated Tap Water? 

There are many reasons why water is low-quality. Overall, H20 quality depends on how much the supply is contaminated. After all, isn’t water supposed to be filtered before it reaches homes and businesses? 

Yes, water does get filtered before it comes into our homes, but the trip it takes to the tap is a long one; various things can go wrong. 

Here are the biggest concerns you should know:

— Leaking Pipes 

When pipes leak, a vacuum is created, and untreated water gets sucked into the pipes, mixing with the treated supply. By the time it gets to our homes, we get water that has been recontaminated by unfiltered water. 

Pipes also have residues such as copper, lead, metal, chemical coatings, and ingredients that break off and leak into our water. No one can really stop these problems from occurring sometimes, and they are by no means easy fixes. 

— Water Runoff and Leaking Industries 

Water runoff caused by setting water or melting ice and snow is also a common problem that is difficult to manage. Some power and manufacturing plants leak toxins into lakes, rivers, and streams, causing this toxic runoff to infiltrate our systems. Paired with leaky pipes, this is not a great combination.  

What States Have the Poorest Water Quality in the U.S.? 

Curious if your state has some of the worst tap H20? Check out our list of the worst tap water in the U.S. below!

1. California


California is a huge state with various land types — anywhere from rural farmland to mountain ranges to coastal shores. While it is a gorgeous state, California’s H20 supply is one of the most contaminated in the U.S. 

Traces of uranium and arsenic are often found in California’s supply. Because of this pollution, residents are more likely to acquire cancer and other medical conditions. The rural areas are the most affected by these pollution levels; however, urban areas are not immune. 

2. Florida 


Florida is a fun time waiting to happen, but the H20 quality? Not so much. The main problem with Florida’s water supply is due to harmful microorganisms and blue-green algae polluting the Gulf of Mexico. These pollutants have traveled into the oceans, lakes, and rivers.

Hurricanes and floods have also played a role in contaminating Florida’s water, but humans are the main culprits. While we love our states, we often do more harm than good. Human waste, litter, and debris have resulted in toxic water sources across many regions of Florida. However, efforts are being made to clean up Florida’s waters and secure better protection plans for future cleanliness.

3. Arizona 


Ranked as one of the most dangerous drinking sources across the nation, Arizona is probably not the ideal place to fill your cup up. Phoenix has the highest levels of chromium-6, which is a carcinogen that promotes cancer). 

Most people know that Arizona is prone to droughts, but be fair warned that the H20 available is probably not the best for you. 

4. Washington

Washington state

This one might be a bit of a shock, given that some people assume southern states tend to have worse water pollution. However, Washington has one of the worst supplies in the U.S. 

The main reason Washington has terrible pollution is because of storm runoff. This is what happens when rain and snow melt off rooftops, highways, and other places, picking up traces of harmful contaminants as it goes. These contaminants include: 

-Animal waste
-Litter contaminates

There are numerous possibilities for what types of contamination are found in Washington’s water supply because of runoff. Other problems include low pH and dissolved oxygen levels. 

5. Texas 


If everything is bigger in Texas, we sure do wish that wasn’t true for the pollution. Texas has contaminated water mostly in the rural areas where you’ll find pollutants such as lead, arsenic, and radiation. There have been many studies that point to high levels of radiation in Texas water.

If you live in Texas, you’ve got some great BBQ, but don’t trust what comes out of the tap! 

6. Puerto Rico 

puerto rico

In the vibrant state of Puerto Rico, the culture is beautiful, but the water is another story. Recent hurricanes have caused various problems for the island, including electric shortages and outages, broken generators, and a lack of running water. Sediment often finds its way into the water sources. 

Puerto Rico has not had the best track record for clean drinking, even before the storms. However, it is now so bad that the government encourages citizens to boil their water for three minutes before using it. 

7. Ohio 


Known for its booming industries, Ohio is a successful industrial state that contributes much to the United States’ economy. Due to its booming industries, lead is commonly found in Ohio’s drinking sources. It is difficult to resolve this issue since the state thrives on hard-working factories, so, unfortunately, this means trace levels of sulfate, lead, iron, and other minerals are commonly found in Ohio’s supply. 

Politicians are working hard to get this state’s water in better shape, but it could take years to find an effective solution. 

8. New Jersey 

New Jersey Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Another leading state in industry, New Jersey has plenty to offer residents, but finding clean drinking water is a challenge. Toxic chemicals from the state’s facilities contaminate New Jersey’s supply, some of which are linked to cancer, birth defects, and liver damage. These might include lead, chlorine, and compounds found in grease. 

9. Georgia 

Georgians love their pecan pie and peach cobbler, but their sweet tea might lose its shine because of the tap. Said to be some of the worst drinking water in America, Georgia’s water supply is tainted with chloroform, arsenic, chromium, radium, and other contaminates. 

Georgia has beautiful land, but all those lakes, rivers, and streams harbor trace amounts of bacteria and pollution. Some people say it’s so bad that the tap H20 tastes like dirt. 

These pollutants might cause serious health issues such as cancer, birth defects, and developmental problems.  

10. Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania is a United States gem, with its rich history and lovely green hills. However, all the coal mining from years passed has really taken its toll on the H20. 

The 20,000 miles of rivers and streams are not fit for swimming or fishing because they do not pass federal standards. Pennsylvania also has hundreds of abandoned oil and gas wells that overflow and leak contaminants into the underground systems. 

New policies are turning these issues around, but it will take time, money, and a lot of effort from authorities, politicians, and residents. 

11. Nevada 

Parts of Nevada are said to have some of the worst drinking water in the U.S, particularly in the bustling cities of Reno and Las Vegas. Contaminants such as arsenic, tetrafluoroethylene, manganese, uranium, and lead are commonly found in the drinking water.

Nevada’s H20 is not considered “highly toxic” as some other states we’ve mentioned, so don’t think you should cancel that trip to Vegas just yet. 

What Can We Do About Bad Water in These States? 

All states have some form of toxins in the water, even if they are the most minor traces imaginable. The truth is that no matter what we do, there will always be some type of contamination in our waters. It cannot be totally resolved. 

However, there are precautions and measures we can take to help our states’ water sources stay cleaner and provide us with better drinking water. Here’s what you can do to clean up your H20 at home. 

Filter Water 

The best thing you can do if you live in one of these states, or if you simply want to have the best quality water you can get, is to purchase a filtration system. While filtering your tap water takes time and can be somewhat of an inconvenience, you will be rewarded with cleaner, clearer water that has little to no contaminates. 

You can also filter from every faucet in your home by investing in a house water system that decontaminates your home’s entire water supply.

These are both smart and healthy options if you want to ensure you and your family receive water that is safer and tastes better. 

Have Water Tested 

The easiest and fastest way to get an idea about your home’s water condition is to contact your local utilities provider. They can send you a copy of the latest tests conducted on the H20 in your area. You can also have samples tested to see how much pollution it has. 

Here’s what you can do:

— Send samples to a lab that can conduct water-testing. With the professional equipment readily available, they should be able to tell you what kind of pollutants are present in the sample and give you a detailed report.

— Try an at-home test if you don’t want to worry about sending samples off. You can buy a kit, but keep in mind these will not be as accurate as professional lab results. 

Most of these kits will be similar, where you will take a test strip, dip it in H20, and observe the color of the strip after it is dipped. The color your test strip turns will correspond with a chemical on a chart provided in your kit. Each chemical matches up with a different color. 

We suggest testing your water at least twice to get accurate results. 

Call Our Representatives

Don’t assume that your state officials do not care about the quality of your water. Most of them understand and are aware of the issue, but to address these problems, they must have time and support from residents. Violations are taken seriously, and politicians are eager to hold the government accountable for mismanaged water filtration.

Consider writing to your representative and see what they’re doing to work on this issue!

Final Thoughts 

We hope that this list has been informative about which states have the worst tap water in the United States so that you can take proper precautions in keeping you and your family safe. 

Don’t think that your next glass of water will kill you — after all, we need water to stay healthy and hydrated. You just need to find a way to filter your water, so you’re never worried about the consequences of drinking from your tap.

If you live in any of these states, we encourage you to consider different filters and testing options to ensure safer water. Even if you don’t live in any of these high-contaminated areas, think about what you can do to keep your waterways clean. 

Although some problems cannot currently be helped, we can all do a little to keep our planet clean. Everyone needs refreshing water, so let’s do what we can to keep it pure!