Tap water isn’t as pure as you thought

Tap water

Chugging back litres of water to stay hydrated over summer? You’ll be surprised to hear water isn’t perfect.

There’s a reason bottled water is so popular: people just don’t trust tap water. Despite the continual reassurances by the authorities that tap water is safe, studies regularly find all manner of contaminants in it. But worse, scientists at Sheffield University in the UK have just demolished one of the most common arguments for tap water’s safety: that water pressure keeps contaminants from a broken or leaky pipe from entering the water supply.

The researchers have found that when there is a significant pressure drop in a damaged section of pipe, the groundwater from around the pipe — which often contains harmful contaminants — can be sucked in, remain in the pipe and travel on through the network.

Lead researcher Professor Joby Boxall said: “Previous studies have shown that material around water pipes contains harmful contaminants, including viruses and bacteria. Anything sucked into the network through a leak is going to include things we don’t want to be drinking.

“Many of us will have had a ‘dodgy tummy’ in the past that we couldn’t quite explain, often putting it down to something we’d eaten. It now seems possible that some of these illnesses could have been caused not by food, but by water.”

Now for the good news: there is a solution. Use a water filter.

This will be working for you the whole time to filter our most contaminants. There are a variety of water filters in the market, ranging from comprehensive under-sink types which intercept the water and deliver it via a faucet (i.e, Zip filters) to ones that attach externally to the tap and even filters in bottles themselves (bobble), which are ideal for taking to the gym!

The technology behind filters varies. Carbon filters — whether granulated or as blocks — are among the most common and work by binding with contaminants. Others include Reverse Osmosis (a permeable membrane blocks particles larger than water molecules), and the newest include ultraviolet filters (using UV light to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms).