Home Water Treatment Habits and Effectiveness in a Rural Arizona Community

Nathan Lothrop, Sarah T. Wilkinson, Marc Verhougstraete, Anastasia Sugeng, Miranda M. Loh, Walter Klimecki, Paloma I. Beamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Drinking water quality in the United States (US) is among the safest in the world. However, many residents, often in rural areas, rely on unregulated private wells or small municipal utilities for water needs. These utilities may violate the Safe Drinking Water Act contaminant guidelines, often because they lack the required financial resources. Residents may use alternative water sources or install a home water treatment system. Despite increased home water treatment adoption, few studies have examined their use and effectiveness in the US. Our study addresses this knowledge gap by examining home water treatment in a rural Arizona community. Water samples were analyzed for metal(loid)s, and home treatment and demographic data were recorded in 31 homes. Approximately 42% of homes treated their water. Independent of source water quality, residents with higher income (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.25; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] (1.00–1.64)) and education levels (OR = 1.49; 95%CI (1.12–2.12)) were more likely to treat their water. Some contaminant concentrations were effectively reduced with treatment, while some were not. We conclude that increased educational outreach on contaminant testing and treatment, especially to rural areas with endemic water contamination, would result in a greater public health impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1231
Number of pages15
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arsenic
  • Drinking water
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Rural health
  • Safe Drinking Water Act

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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