American tap water is known to contain a wide range of toxins, and in some areas surprisingly uranium is an even bigger concern than common contaminants.

This website is a handy tool for researching the chemicals in your tap water: just type in your zip code, and it will produce a report about your water.

Usually chromium-6, fluoride, PCB’s, lead, and other toxins are the culprit for poisoned water, but in some areas uranium is actually becoming recognized as a serious problem.

In Modesto, California, Westport Elementary School uses a water filtration device to ensure the water is safe for children to drink. They say up to a pound of uranium is filtered through the device each year, which is retrieved by workers in masks, gloves, and other protective gear. Then, the volatile material is sent to a nuclear power plant.

According to a 2015 article from Sacramento CBS:

“The school, which draws on its own wells for its drinking fountains, sinks and cafeteria, is one of about 10 water systems in the farm region that have installed uranium removal facilities in recent years. Prices range from $65,000 for the smallest system to the millions of dollars.

Just off Westport’s playground, a school maintenance chief jangles the keys to the school’s treatment operation, locked in a shed the size of a garage. Inside, a system of tubes, dials and canisters resembling large scuba tanks removes up to a pound a year of uranium from the school’s wells.”

The San Joaquin Valley’s rural communities around Modesto are finding themselves with a uranium contamination problem. For once, it seems as if this might be naturally occurring uranium, rather than a result of some military activity as chromium-6 is.

Just north of Modesto in Sacramento County, the North Highlands McClellan Airforce Base which closed down in 2001 is thought to be responsible for poisoning North Highlands and Rio Linda water with highly carcinogenic chromium 6, which is the chemical that was made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” A Rio Linda resident noted that she witnessed nearly “everyone on her block” getting cancer.

Additionally, Sacramento officials added more carcinogens to the water supply in other areas of the county, resulting in a whole other mess of contamination. According to an Anti Media article titled “Officials Secretly Added Cancer-Causing Chemicals to City’s Water Supply”:

“Officials experimented on the water with a new added chemical to aid in removing sediment, silt, and other impurities in the water supply: aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH). It was due to replace the chemical known as ALUM that was regularly used to take the larger particles out of river water to treat it. Both chemicals weigh down the sediment to make it easily removable.

However, the addition of ACH to the city’s water supply wound up being ineffective as a treatment — so an excessive quantity of chlorine was added to the water, as well.

An astonishing failure, the combination of excess chlorine and aluminum chlorohydrate ended up yielding carcinogenic toxins known as “DBPs” — disinfection byproducts. Specifically, these are in the class of chemicals known as THMs, or Trihalomethanes.”

The state’s solution for contaminated water has made problems worse on numerous occasions. However, small businesses that specialize in water treatment seem to be doing a decent job helping communities in Modesto.

From Hunter’s Point in San Francisco, to North Highlands in Sacramento, there are numerous sites where military activity contaminated the environment in California. With this in mind, it’s quite difficult to believe the Modesto uranium is coming from nowhere, but as of yet there is no explanation except for a natural one.

Sacramento CBS offered this explanation for the uranium’s origin:

“In California, as in the Rockies, mountain snowmelt washes uranium-laden sediment to the flatlands, where groundwater is used to irrigate crops.”

What can be learned from this? It’s probably best to not drink tap water. There are all kinds of alternatives, so if you want to preserve your health, research away.

(Image credit: Deviant Art, OpenClipArt)