Is your tap water safe to drink?

Is the tap water of your city safe to drink? The article provides some guideline on how to determine if the city water is safe. We are in El Paso. So, we used the El Paso city water data. #Safety #WaterSafety #awareness #FamilySafety
Drinking water is a concern for everyone. The concern is quadrupled with little ones at home. Is my child receiving the best water? Is the water arsenic free? What if there is lead in the drinking water? All kinds of questions to worry about. My dentist said that the city water is good because it has fluoride in it. How about the harmful items? Sadly, this post will not give answers to any of the questions parents may have. This post will rather provide more items to think about.

Is El Paso tap water safe to drink?

Ever since we moved to El Paso we noticed that many of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors have in-home water filtration systems with big water dispensers. I was always curious why everyone would have one of these giant systems in their kitchen corner. (Probably because they throw big parties all the times. Or, there could be some other reasons.) For some reason, I haven’t asked anyone why they choose these systems over tap water. So, today I was searching for any data related to El Paso tap water, just to make sure the water we have been drinking for the past couple of years is really safe to drink. Here is the link to EP water data: Updated link for 2017 Data.

El Paso City Water Data 2017.

The table above is copied from the second page of the original document. It has all the measures of the water quality for the year 2017. The MCLG column is the ideal amount of any mineral or other products in water. I was sad to see that the average Arsenic level is 4.2 where the goal (MCLG) is to have zero Arsenic in water. It was also alarming to see that there are traces of Lead in the drinking water. The table does indicate that 90% of the lead data were at or below the levels shown. A possible reason for lead poisoning could be corrosion of household plumbing systems.

Many of the elements of the table are unknown to me. I will spend some more time on water data to figure out if we need to make the switch from tap water to any kind of sophisticated water filtration system.

Chlorine smell in city water

When we first moved to El Paso, Texas a few years ago, we could smell the strong smell of Chlorine in the tap water. The smell was so strong that we could not directly drink water out of the tap.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means we will receive compensation from Amazon with no additional cost from your side if you purchase anything using the links .

We used a Brita Water Filter to treat the tap water for drinking. It helped a lot with reducing the Chorine smell.

Over the years I (Dear Mom) grew tired of the pitcher. It was bulky. We had to wait for the water to get filtered if we want to pour it safely, otherwise all the water on the top part would spill. Besides, the plastic pitcher didn’t look as good.

So, when the time came that we needed to buy more filters for the Brita pitcher, I started looking for other options. After a lot of searching, I found this interesting water filter. The design is quite unique. It is manufactured by Kor and called Water Fall. Instead of a pitcher, the system uses decanters. The quality of the filtered water is just as good as the water filtered by a Brita. The overall structure can be a bit wobbly though. And the glass decanters are scary to Dear Husband because he thinks someday Dear Son is going to break those decanters and get horrible cuts. Other than that, I really like the look and feel of these decanters.

KOR Water Fall I Reusable countertop Water Filtration System I Includes 2 carafes I Holds 68 oz I Sustainable and BPA Free I Perfect for Fruit/herb infusions I Purifies 80 gallons of Water per Filter

We also have a water line and a water filter attached to the refrigerator. We can get our drinking water from the refrigerator as well, but we rarely do that. For no particular reason, we mostly use the refrigerator water system for ice-cubes.

We would love to you hear from you regarding your experience of drinking water. Please leave a comment in the Comments section below if you have any feedback.

Note: The article was originally published on Aug 4, 2017. We updated the post on December 4, 2018, with the latest available data. The comments on the post may have old dates.

From a Family Blog in El Paso

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97 thoughts on “Is your tap water safe to drink?

  1. I used to live in El Paso and being and having a biology major background, one of the first things I looked up was ELP’s water quality reports. I was in SHOCK to find that the city reports that in every litter of water there are 2 MILLION asbestos fibers! Whats worse is that that meets the quality criteria. Asbestos are banned nowadays for a reason but the extent of the pollution from when it used to be used is such that if authorities would set better quality standards we would have no water to drink! And that logic applies to many pollutants sadly.

    As soon as I found this out we started to get filtered water and although it says it filters for many elements, I never found any word about asbestos.

    1. That is great info. I did not know about asbestos poisoning. Thank you for sharing the information and explaining.

  2. We used to drink water in faucets before but my mom decide to buy water in water refilling station because she felt that if we drink in faucets its unsafe for us. The fact that our water is contaminated by bacteria its good to suggest the used of purifiers to filter water. I agree with this post.

  3. I’ll have to look into the Water Fall. I’ve been using Brita pitchers for years, and while they help with the taste of tap water, I agree with you that they’re kinda bulky and unwieldy. Not to mention the number of times the pitcher was freshly topped off and someone went to get a drink shortly after and made a mess.

  4. Nowadays using water filter is commonly used especially at household purposes, drinking and cooking primarily. If you are indoubt of your water source, better install a purifier some purifiers are even in water pitcher look where straight from tap water to your pither purifier and it does the job from there. If your budget is right you can have either mineral or distilled water at home for drinking.

  5. Scientifically water is life and our body itself is composed of water. We need water to hydrate ourselves and it cleanses our internal body system. Some places here in the Philippines are contaminated with bacteria that’s why I’m not recommending everyone here to drink water which is coming directly from faucet. Health is very important and it will makes our lives longer, hence, water for me is everything and should be taken care of all.

  6. Here in our Province,Most tasty the natural water than the mineral water. Because here it affects to the climate of the water dumb. Drinking mineral water can cost lot of money because you buy on it in the store.

  7. Going to details is quite hard especially sometimes when your really thirsty you now. But in general, the water source should be check time and time again. drinking from bottles might not good for our health as well in the long run given that they were contained in plastic bottle containers. These plastics have BPA that is totally a slow killer. This cannot directly kill you but can contribute to future illness.

  8. We don’t drink water directly from our faucet because we lived nearby mountains. Water runs here is coming from various hills which turns brown whenever its raining. My family is safe in drinking water because we have a special delivery coming from nearby water filling station and it is filtered 100%. Most of my neighbors are doing it as well, they had a dedicated supplier who consistently supplies water at their home. I do recommend also not to drink water from faucet though its clear, we can never tell if its safe inside our body.

    1. It is amazing that different locations of the globe have different ways to get safe drinking water. Thank you for sharing the info on how you get safe drinking water in your place.

      Based on the discussions so far on this post, many places do not have safe water. Home water filters and boiling the water are good options when there is no access to good drinking water.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful day.

  9. I think that city water, at least in first world countries, is pretty safe to drink already. Sure, there may be contaminants, but the water is required to meet certain regulations, and the water comes from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs protected from pollution. One problem is that, at least in some houses, the water in the restrooms might come from a cold water tank–which can be less sanitary than the mains–while only the water from the kitchen tap is directly from the mains, but otherwise things are usually fine. In fact, city water can sometimes be cleaner than bottled water, which may be less regulated if it does is not shipped across state lines.

    In third world countries, on the other hand, the water is a lot less pure. Once, I had to drink directly from the tap in a Chinese washroom because I didn’t have money with me to buy bottled water, and the water bottle that I did have was removed at security (this was at a large venue). What happened was that I didn’t feel good afterwards. At least Chinese water has some level of chlorination, and is probably reasonably safe after boiling. In even less developed countries they don’t have clean water at all.

    So the end conclusion is that we should be grateful for our water because we have it better than almost everyone else.

  10. Me and my 6 months old baby is currently having a short vacation here in the city. Just a few hours ago, I was about to drink water from a delivered water jug when my boyfriend noticed that something so tiny is moving. I was horrified. I don’t even know if that was just the first time or how many times was I drinking water with a tiny insect swimming in it. From now on, I decided to filter, then boil water then filter again before I or anyone drink it.

    1. That is an awful experience. It is great that you have planned to boil the water before drinking it. If there is no access to bottled water, boiling the water and cooling it is a must in such a case, especially for a baby.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful vacation.

  11. The civic water supply in my town is not safe to drink. If you drink water directly from the tap, it is very likely that you will catch water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, jaundice etc. Drinking water without any treatment or filtration is very risky. Instead of relying on civic water supply for drinking water, which needs to be treated before we can drink, we buy water in jars, which is very safe.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience on safe water. Many cities struggle to keep their tap water safe, that I realize now from so many comments. I wish all had safe city water for drinking.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  12. Actually no, our water cannot be drunk is not for home use, we are using this water only to wash our clothes, for bath or for washing dishes, and all the rest. For drinking, we are buying water from the supermarket.
    Even in the small villages, the water from the fountains is not good to drink anymore, I guess the land is full of chemicals and pesticides and the water got contaminated.

  13. The water here in Philippines used to be safe to drink. We only drink water coming from faucets. Drinking water was free back then. Come year 2002, the drinking water is not free anymore. We buy it. Water refilling stations started to boom. Gone are the days when we can drink free water from the faucets. You will have an upset stomach if you do so. We now get our regular water supply from nearby water stations or from stores that sell bottled drinking water.

  14. I am now working as a staff in a water-purifying station here in the Philippines and part-time online job freelancer. The city water or what we call tap water is not safe anymore to drink. They use chlorine to make the water clean but the level of it is dangerous when taken big amount of tap water. That is why water station is so successful here in our place.

  15. Here in my country, Our water here is not safe. We usually buy water to purified water station. But in my fathers place tapwater is safe. You can even drink directly to the waterfalls or rivers in the upper mountain.

  16. I think that how safe a drinking water should have to be the work of the government through the water agencies that they’ve set up, but sadly most of the agencies set up by the government do not bother about the risk involved in sending water that is not well treated into the water pipeline to homes to drink. Drinking water, in my opinion, should not be treated by individuals for it is the work of the government, but they have neglected this duty.

    Our city is worse off here in Nigeria, for we do not even have tap water that runs through our home and that always makes us looking for alternatives such as bottled water, sachet water and buying a tank water to be treated before final consumption. We have complained, but since our government over here is one insensitive of the feelings of the common man, there is nothing they did about it.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that the city water is not good enough to drink. I wish every country had great drinking water supply. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful day.

  17. In our city yes, as I have tried that before and there’s nothing happened to me that time but because I was raised to drink filtered water or boiled water I prefer not to drink tap water. I’ve heard some of my friends drink tap water and they suffered from diarrhea so, I do not want to wait to get me sick or confident. Maybe I’m just lucky during those time or my immune system was too high that can fight any harmful pathogens. So, I had to install water filtration at home and buy purified water just to make it sure that the water I’m drinking will cause no harm. However, it will also add up to our budget but it’s for our health anyway.
    The filtration in tap water is so minimal and the faucets can accumulate bacteria since it’s open from any dirt which can cause any disease. I envy people who live in a town or in other countries that their water is safe to drink because for sure their environment is clean, my friend lives in Singapore and majority of the people there are drinking tap water she said.

    1. That’s fine. Just to share what I know is that when a young kid exposed himself on a dirty environment overtime he develops tolerance and the immune system is much stronger compared to stay at home kids.

  18. I was an employee in our local water district back in the year 2015, and based in my own experience, there is a percentage amount of chlorine allowable for the water to still be potable.
    What we are anticipating are the chemicals used by farmers whose farms are located higher than the local water source. It is because our water source is located on the foot of a mountain and the farms are located on higher ground. There is a law which states that farms using insecticides and man-made fertilizers should be located 1 km away from the local water source. That is not a problem because farms here maintain a distance of 1 km from the water source. The real problem is, when those chemicals hit the soil and the sun comes up, it stays there. When the rain starts to pour, since it is liquid, it flows down to a lower surface as it hit the ground. Dragging the dried up chemicals closer to the water source. This process does not happen in an instant, but 2-3 years of counting until the chemicals reaches the water source. Still it is contaminating. So we prevented the farmers from using fertilizers and insecticides containing certain kinds of chemicals, but we still need to anticipate the possible effects of the chemicals used in the past few years.

  19. For me weather its safe or not we must be cautious! Cautious not to take the risk especially if kids will be drinking from it. I am not saying that all residential water is unsafe but my point is that lets not wait for one to get sick before we take some precautions. It’s either we filter the water or simply boil it before drinking. In this way we have a lesser chances of being exposed to bacteria in drinking. I still believe that there is nothing more safer than being cautious at all times.

  20. Everytime I read about a piece on basics of life and how it’s handled in the western part of the world, I feel pity for countries like mine. It’s good to know your water over the is safe to drink, but can’t say that about here.

    In Nigeria where I come from, 70% of residents barely have access to water not to talk of clean enough water for drinking. I wish we had a better system like that of El Paso.

  21. Here in my country, majority of the people buy drinking water from stores because those coming from faucets are not very safe to drink. Other than the taste being awful because I have once drank it accidentally, many had diarrhea when they tried doing so. Good thing though that I didn’t. Since I live in a third world country, the tubes where the water passes is never cleaned, changed or with a really good quality , which of course in the long term, could have holes or other problems that would introduce dirt and bacteria in the water Others would attach a purifying system but buying them from water refiling station makes more sense because of is practicality.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that you do not get clean city water. Some towns in the USA too have contaminated town water. Always keeping it in mind that the water may not be safe for drinking is a hassle. I wish everyone everywhere in the world had safe drinking water. Thank you for sharing your experience regarding drinking-water.

      1. I watched last time in CNN that one town, I think in Texas, that their water had very high arsenic concentration making it dangerous to drink. I do hope too that all of us in the world will have access in safe and potable drinking water. Water is a necessity and everyone of us has the right for it, and all governments has to make that one of their priorities.

  22. Our city water here in my place is not anymore safe to drink as it is but you can still drink it if you boil it for long hours because of bacterias and impurities to be sterilized. We have to buy mineral water here from water distilling stations.

  23. Thanks for that information. Well in my country the water supply is at least germ free even though most people dig their own bore holes for water supply while others own dispensers and the rest just buy cartons of bottled water.

    1. It is great that water of you country is germ-free. Private well sounds exciting.

      In the US, I think many cities will not allow digging wells now-a-days. I am not sure though.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful evening.

    2. Borehole water is not safe enough to drink. There are always cases of contamination. It’s wiser to have the source of the borehole water analyzed by experts first.

    3. Great review. That sounds like my country. Correct me if am wrong, but I believe you’re from Nigeria.

      A vast majority of water supply here is via borehole which like you said is mostly germ free…a minimum 40ft is considered a standard borehole in Nigeria. I try not to drink it and even if I need too, I boil first. It’s a personal choice. So yes! I think it’s okay to say my country’s water is safe for drinking.

  24. Water here in our country, Philippines is very safe and as far as I know, there no issues or news that people got a disease in drinking water. The water management here always try there best to improve their services.

  25. We don’t have a lot of issues with water in my area. I say this because the city council in charge of the distribution and management of water usually works hard to fix everything, including making sure the water is always clean and safe for drinking. Most of the time, pollution caused by broken pipes and poor drainage system are the major issues they handle.

    1. I am glad to hear that you have safe drinking water you your city. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful day.

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