How to tell whether your water is safe for drinking
What’s in your water?
If you drink water from the tap, it’s safe to drink, and you’re unlikely to experience any health effects from a spill.
But if you tap water from your shower or tub, it might contain chemicals like the chlorine used in chlorine bleach.
So how do you know?
There are several ways to tell the difference.
How can I tell whether my water is good for drinking?
If your tap water is clean, you should be able to tell that with your body temperature.
If you’re concerned about the chlorine in your tap, ask your water company to test for it and report it to the EPA.
The chlorine that’s in the water can be a problem if it leaks out of the pipes.
So if you find that chlorine levels are rising, you can contact your local water company.
Your local water department should also test your water for chlorine and other pollutants.
If they don’t, you could be drinking unsafe water.
If your water doesn’t contain chloramines, you might be drinking water that contains bacteria.
If it does contain chlorine, you’re probably drinking water with a high chlorine concentration, which can lead to health effects, especially in children.
Your water provider should also consider testing your water to make sure that you’re getting the amount of chlorine your tap contains.
Where can I get the most accurate water test results?
Water tests are done at the tap.
But your water provider might be able offer you an online water test that includes results online or through an app.
If this is the case, it may be helpful to call the company to ask for the water test.
For more detailed information on testing water, call the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) water testing site.
The NIEHS water testing app lets you compare your water quality and your water usage to determine how much chlorine your water has.
If there’s more than 10 percent chlorine in the tap water, you may be drinking a safe amount.
If the test shows you’re exceeding your local drinking water standards, your water might be contaminated.
If more than 3 percent chlorine is found in the test, your tap is likely not meeting federal regulations.
And if more than 0.5 percent chlorine was found, your local tap might be violating the Clean Water Act.
What if my tap isn’t as clean as the official tests?
If the water testing results are showing you’re not meeting your drinking water quality standards, the company could be responsible for any violations.
So, if you’re worried about your water, contact your water utility and ask to have your water tested.
If tests show that the water has a low chlorine concentration or that it’s being released from pipes into the drinking water, your source may be unsafe.
You could also contact your city, state, or federal government.
Is my tap water safe for my baby?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends drinking tap water only for children up to age 4 years old, but this is not a mandatory requirement.
So long as your child is able to drink their own water, there’s no need to be concerned about how much chloramines are in your child’s water.
What can I do if I suspect my tap is not safe for me?
If drinking tap is unsafe, talk to your water supplier about how to get your water filtered and if your water system has chlorine.
Can I still drink my tap if it’s not as safe?
Yes, your taps may be safe for you if they’re properly cleaned.
But you can’t drink water that’s been treated with chlorine.
And the amount and types of chlorine compounds found in tap water can have an effect on the chlorine levels in your drinking system.
The EPA has recommended that tap water be treated to reduce chlorine and improve water quality.
And you can also use chlorine-free bleach and detergent to help reduce the amount that chloramines can be released into the water.
The best thing to do is avoid drinking water from sources where chlorine has been used, including drinking water wells, drinking fountains, and showers.
Should I drink bottled water?
You can buy bottled water online at some stores, but if you don’t know what you’re buying, check with your water retailer to make certain you’re paying the right price.
You should also make sure you’re drinking water you’re familiar with.
Many retailers sell bottled water that has been treated to remove chloramines.
So it may contain chlorine in small amounts, or it may have more chlorine than what’s in tap.