Thursday, April 30, 2020

Can Your Tap Water Kill You?

On a very basic level, any water can kill. After all, it is possible to drown in just 2 inches of water. However, this isn’t generally a concern if appropriate safety precautions are taken.   

Tap water goes through a stringent treatment process, as dictated by the government. All water that leaves the treatment plant must meet a set standard. Unfortunately, this doesn’t offer any control over what happens to the water between the treatment works and your faucet.

The simple fact is that the pipes can get tiny holes in which allow water out and bacteria in. These bacteria can breed while traveling in the water and potentially cause harm when they reach your faucet.   Debris from inside the pipes can also collect in the water and end up in your glass of drinking water.

But, of more concern is chemicals. Some are added by the plant and could cause damage, especially to sensitive individuals. These include chlorine which is effective at killing bacteria and causing respiratory distress in humans.

Fortunately, this is not a common scenario.


However, of much greater concern is the pollution that gets into the water. Waste products from households, especially feminine hygiene products, often end up in the wastewater system. Even though they shouldn’t.

This wastewater is carried to the treatment plant and can block the screen. In turn, this can result in a breakdown at the plant and potentially the release of untreated water into the drinking water system.

Factories, oil leaks, and dumping of fertilizers can all leach into the ground and the water pipes, potentially causing issues for your health.

The good news is that these issues are generally minor and may make you feel ill but probably won’t kill you. But, this isn’t always the case.

For example, the pathogen Naegleria fowleri frequently gets into the water system and is known to be fatal to humans. The initial outbreak killed 350 people. It is killed by chlorine in the water although it is currently being debated if the chlorination level is sufficient. 

The most recent tragedy from this pathogen was a 12-month-old boy in November 2015. Other incidents have happened over the years, including chemical spills that have infiltrated the water. Perhaps the most high-profile and famous case was Hinkley, as represented by Erin Brockovich.

In short, although rare, even the water that comes out of your tap could kill you.


The best solution is to invest in a reverse osmosis water filter. This 5-stage process uses a semipermeable membrane to force chemicals out of the water. It will remove the chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and even bacteria from your water, making it safe to drink. It’s worth noting that reverse osmosis won’t actually remove chlorine itself, but the filtration system will because it’s a 5-stage process that includes an activated carbon element to remove the chlorine and chlorides.

In short, using this system will help to ensure your water is as pure as possible, you’ll notice the difference in taste and aroma.