Faucet (Tap) Water

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Faucet (tap) Water

What is tap or faucet water and is it any good?

Tap or faucet water, depending on which continent you reside, has been commonplace since the middle of the 20th century but was in fact available during the latter part of the 19th. Although a huge infrastructure is required to process and distribute our water under pressure, it’s cost is insignificant in relation to the cost of bottled water – depending on brand etc, up to 1,000 times the cost of processing and distributing the same amount of our tap / faucet water.

Tap Water pouring into glassOur tap water brings us many health benefits, not least of all the fact that it is processed to remove any dangerous contaminants. Our water is governed by strict legislation across the globe and while it can contain various chemicals, again depending upon your location, these are used to improve and preserve the water until we drink it. Fluoride is added in many areas and the jury’s out on that one regarding pros and cons. Many other naturally occurring minerals such as calcium carbonate can be present and metal ions like magnesium and iron which are all relatively harmless. Test kits are available for those who are unsure or worried about the state of their supply.

Groundwater is affected by local conditions and these ultimately shape the water you drink. Occasionally there may be a disasterous chemical spill which will alter our local water and in these cases, although thankfully few, we are advised to drink bottled alternatives until it is safe to do otherwise.

So what is Potable Water? Water which is fit for our consumption is classed as Potable Water, whether it is natural such as spring water or processed. It’s all drinking water.

Our tap water is delivered to us through a huge network of plumbing and pipes. The composition of these pipes has changed drastically over the years to a point today where the vast majority of pipes have seen replacement with copper or brass. Plastic has seen an increase in popularity quite recently but it cannot keep our water as clean. Copper is bacteriostatic which means that it is capable of inhibiting the growth and reproduction of bacteria – plastics are not and can indeed harbor bacteria. The one drawback of copper was that the solder used to connect the copper pipe, was composed of lead and tin in equal amounts. Even though the water flowing through our pipes usually coats the interior with mineral deposits, effectively sealing of the lead, United States regulations and those across much of the globe now stipulate the use of virtually lead free solder to prevent lead leaching into our drinking water. Copper pipes can also corrode and pit with cold water.

And now we come to our favorite all time question – is our tap water supply better quality than bottled water? It depends on where you are in the world and where your tap water originates from, what sort of pipes it flows through and whether you have any third party filtration system or purifier in place. It also depends on what brand of bottled water you are comparing it to. There is no hard and fast rule and what one person says the next will disagree with. If you want to try and improve it, install a filter system.

The thing to remember is that most water in the civilized world, be it from taps, faucets, bottles or even your refrigerator, is regulated and falls within the recommended guidelines set for chemical, contaminant, mineral and impurity levels. Our view is that if we can make improvements by using filters or other sensible routes, then why not. What is clear is that our water doesn’t necessarily need to be pure to benefit our health.