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Report: Las Vegas’ drinking water safe — even with that pinch of uranium

Never mind the usual pinch of uranium, touch of copper and dash of lead. The community’s drinking water remains as clean as it needs to be under federal safety regulations, according to an annual report released Monday by Las Vegas Valley Water District.

Though local tap water does contain trace amounts of some heavy metals, radioactive minerals and other regulated contaminants, it meets or exceeds all state and federal standards for safe drinking water.

This year’s water quality report includes a special section on lead, which was added to soothe public anxiety in the wake of the contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, and a minor scare over lead-tainted water at the public school and community center in Goodsprings.

“Southern Nevada’s water infrastructure does not employ lead-based components, and local water providers maintain robust corrosion-control programs developed in coordination with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection,” the report states.

Those corrosion-control efforts extend the life of water infrastructure and help keep heavy metals from leaching from your tap.

The report’s findings are based on nearly 333,000 tests on roughly 33,000 water samples collected by the water district and its wholesale supplier, the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

In addition, water is continually monitored for contaminants throughout the distribution system.

The new report only covers the water district and its roughly 1 million customers, but all valley utilities get their water from the same primary source: the Colorado River by way of Lake Mead.

The Las Vegas Valley boasts some of the “hardest” water in the country, thanks to the high mineral content of the notoriously silt-laden river.

Before arriving at the tap, drinking water goes through one of two water treatment plants at the eastern edge of the community. Many of the regulated contaminants commonly found in local tap water are byproducts of the treatment process.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires utilities nationwide to report their water quality test results once a year.

The district’s 2016 water quality report is available online at lvvwd.com, as are separate reports for the water systems serving Searchlight, Kyle Canyon, Blue Diamond, Laughlin and Jean.

Printed copies can be requested by calling 702-822-8400 for the English version or 702-258-3946 for the Spanish version.

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