Water Quality

Atrazine and Your Drinking Water

On Saturday, March 22, 2003 the Poughkeepsie Journal printed an article stating that the City of Poughkeepsie Drinking Water contains Atrazine. The statement was based upon a presentation by Patrick Phillips of the USGS in which Mr. Phillips stated that he has found Atrazine in Hudson River water up to a concentration of 0.5 micrograms per liter (ug/L).

Atrazine is a widely used herbicide for control of broadleaf and grassy weeds. Atrazine is a regulated drinking water contaminate with a Maximum Contaminate Level of 3 ug/L or six (6) times greater than the maximum concentration found in the Hudson River by Mr. Phillips. EPA set the limit of 3 ug/L because they have determined that drinking water containing 3 ug/L or less would not cause any health effects.

The Poughkeepsies’ Water Treatment Facility tests annually for Atrazine to a detection limit of 0.1 ug/L and has never detected this chemical in your drinking water.


Results of the 1992 sampling indicated that 50% of City Customers had lead levels exceeding the drinking water action level of 15 µg/l (micrograms per liter). In March 1997, we started adding orthophosphoric acid to our water and since that time, customers lead levels have dropped significantly as can be seen in the following figure. In 2004, 90% of the samples were below 15 µg/L.