Is Tap Water Safe To Drink?

The Problem With Tap Water

Red CrossMany prominent scientists have looked at every day water and noted the amount of substances that is contained in the average glass of tap water.

Red CrossSadly, the most significant dangers in the water you drink cannot always be detected by smell, taste, or sight.

Of course, there are many natural minerals and nutrients that organically occur within water but most drinking water (especially tap water) have had many things added to them.

In most cases these chemicals have been added to clean and purify the water, but in some cases government authorities add things to tap water to improve the health of the population e.g. fluoride.

Red CrossMyTapScore Home Water TestThere are also many substances routinely added to the water supply such as liquified chlorine, calcium hydroxide sodium silicofluoride and aluminium sulphate.

You should get a comprehensive water test if you want to be certain of what is in your tap water.

MyTapScore Inforgraphic

Even if the water leaves the source in a reasonably clean state, you must remember that water travels through pipes, and the cleanliness of the pipes is pivotal to the cleanliness of the water you receive from the tap, especially tap outlets that suffer from both rust and limescale.

What’s in Tap Water? (Comprehensive List)

Tap water is treated with many chemicals that kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

The following list is a more comprehensive list of some of the typical content that you might find in tap water:

Typical Tap Water Content

  • Trihalomethanes (THMs).
  • Fluorine compounds.
  • Chlorine.
  • Pesticides.
  • Hormones.
  • Nitrates.
  • Salts of:
    • mercury
    • arsenic
    • barium
    • aluminium
    • copper
    • cadmium
    • lead
    • radium

Dashed Line

Water Quality: Contaminants in the Pipes?

In rare occasions, your tap water could become contaminated due to damage in the water supply line.Effects of Hard Water

Red CrossOne of the most dangerous problems that could occur is lead getting into the water from pipes.

Red CrossEven ”lead-free” pipes can contain around 8% of lead.

Green Plus ArrowThe best way to avoid lead contamination entering your tap water is to get an under sink filter (reverse osmosis) or a whole house filter that also treats lead like this one.

Tap Water vs. Bottled Water

The first thing to note is that both forms of water are safe to drink although bottled water is likely to have gone through a further filtration process.

Some people consider that bottled water tastes better then tap water and doesn’t create limescale if used in your kettle.

AquaTruHowever, the biggest disadvantage of bottled water is the cost both in terms of finances and to the environment.

It is thought that imported water brands use 300 times the CO2 emissions per litre when compared to the energy used to create tap water. It also takes around 162g of oil and 7 litres of water to manufacture a 1 litre bottle.

The other side of this are pitifully low recycling rates. For instance, some 14 billion plastic bottles still end up in the UK landfill every single year.

Water Quality: What Contaminants Are in Tap Water?

Water can be affected by dirt and other contaminants in many different ways.

For example, it could contain microorganisms like parasites and bacteria that come from human or even animal fecal matter.

Water could also contain chemicals from industrial waste like pesticides, nitrates that are used in fertilizers or some harmful minerals like lead or mercury.

Tap Water In The US

If you are in the US, it might be useful to note that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has set minimum testing schedules for specific pollutants in order to make sure contamination levels are safe.

Water Hardness Map America USA
Water Hardness Map America USA

Public water suppliers regulated by the EPA need to send out a “drinking water quality report” every 1st of July each year.

MyTapScore Home Water TestThe report is sometimes called the “Consumer Confidence Report” or CCR for short. This report will tell you where your water comes from and what’s in it.

If you don’t get one or think you might have misplaced it, then ask for a copy from your local water supplier.

Remember that you can also call the EPA’s “Safe Drinking Water Hotline” on 800 426-4791 to get any further information and/or ask questions about the safety and quality of your water.MyTapScore Inforgraphic

Tap Water In The UK

In the UK? Well companies like Thames Water go to lengthy extents to explain how clean your drinking water is.

ACE 13 counter topThey also have a tool that lets you put in your post code to check how clean the water in your area is.

If you worry about water hardness, their website allows you to input your post code and get a diagnosis of how “hard” the water in your neighbourhood is.

If you need to contact Thames Water regarding any concerns you might have regarding your tap water I have added all their contact information below.

Contact Thames Water
Call Thames Water Email Thames Water Write Thames Water
You can call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800 – 24 hours a day.

Textphone: 0800 316 9898. 0800 numbers are free to call from UK landlines, but may be chargeable from mobiles. Rates vary depending on your network and call plan.

If you are trying to contact them from outside the UK, call +44 1793 366011.

Click here to use this form to contact Thames Water by email. Water Quality
Thames Water
PO BOX 286
SN38 1TU

They aim to respond to all letters within ten working days.

So Is Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Mr Water Geek ThinkingWith all things considered, the short answer is yes.

Broadly speaking tap water is safe for you to drink.

AquaTruIt is also the eco-friendly option when compared to bottled water and you don’t have the risk of BPA contamination with plastic bottles.

However, it also contains some non-harmful substances added by government authorities (e.g. fluoride) or appear (e.g. oestrogen).

You are also vulnerable to drinking “hard water” that will create limescale in your kettle or coffee machine.Check Prices & Read Customer Reviews

If any of these is an issue for you then you might want to consider buying a portable water filter jug or installing a home filtering system so you have control of the content and quality of your drinking water.

AquaTru Water Filter

Berkey Water Filter

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- Lead 97.5%
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- Chlorine 96.6%
- Cysts 99.99%
- Arsenic by 99.9% (special filters required).
- Fluoride by 99.9% (special filters required).
- Lead 97.5%
- Benzene 99.8%
Available in 1-size only. Available in various sizes.
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4-stage filter process.2-stage filter process.
Holds a maximum water capacity of 3-quarts.2.25 Gallons
45.7 x 45.7 x 38.1 cm 19" High x 8.5" Diameter
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