Ohio cities get their water from both ground and surface water sources. Large lakes and rivers comprise the surface water, while aquifers hold water underground. Wells and pumps are used to pull this water up and into the supply system.
Ohio is a large state with many industries including manufacturing and farming. This is great for the state economy but can pose problems for the water supply. Industry is a major culprit of contaminating water supplies.
The problem is exacerbated in areas where farming impacts nearby streams and rivers. Virtually all water delivered by Ohio cities is aggressively treated to mitigate the external contaminants.
The chemicals used for treatment make the water clean enough to use and consume but do not help with overall water quality. Without a home treatment system of some kind, residents can expect many issues revolving around the treatment requirements of their water supply.
Common Water Problems by City
Each city has its unique issues when it comes to water treatment. Almost all Ohio water is aggressively treated for contaminants, which can cause issues like hard water, unpleasant taste, and discoloration.
Big Walnut Creek
Poor Taste or Smell
The Great Miami Aquifer
Upper Cuyahoga River
The Columbus residents source their water from three primary sources, the Scioto River, Big Walnut Creek, and an underground aquifer running between the two.
The river and creek have been dammed, forming several reservoirs that collect water over time. Four huge wells collect water from the aquifer for use by certain parts of the region.
Columbus is a hub of both agriculture and industry, leading to many sources of contamination. As such, the water supply is treated with a myriad of chemicals to ensure safety.
This degrades the overall water quality, making it hard water that often has an odor. Columbus residents often experience itchy, dry skin and limescale buildup.
Water is pulled from Lake Erie to supply this major city with its water. The intakes are located far offshore to avoid as many contaminants that may have entered the lake as possible.
The water is treated and sent off to residents via over 5,200 miles of piping. Organic materials cause the discoloration of water in some Cleveland areas.
Hard water is a common problem as minerals break down.
Cincinnati has a large water supply, providing consistent access for the city. It is a heavy industrial town with surrounding farmlands. Both of these factors put the water supply at risk for a variety of contaminants.
Thus, the water is treated heavily to protect the residents consuming it. The treatments combined with the already hard water can wreak havoc on the skin by causing dryness and itching.
Hard water can also cause limescale build up, reducing the efficiency of heating and cooling systems.
Lake Erie represents the primary water source for Toledo. The city uses about 40 million gallons of treated water per day.
The primary issue in the area is the heavy presence of minerals in the water causing very hard water. Limescale build-up can clog plumbing, deteriorate appliances, and cause issues with water heaters.
Some Toledo residents may notice some discoloration as there are small amounts of metals in it. These amounts are physically harmless but the tinted appearance of the water can be off-putting.
Like most Ohio cities, Akron uses a surface water supply to fill its needs. The water is sourced from the Upper Cuyahoga River, treated, and then held in several reservoirs around the town.
Akron residents have relatively few water problems but hard water is common. Heavy metals in the supply, which is not uncommon for natural sources, can tint the water. It is safe to drink but could discolor laundry if not treated prior to use.