Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in the UK?

Cooleraid • 21/04/2020

A common question from people in the UK and those that are visiting is whether the tap water is safe to drink. This is an important question to ask as many parts of the world still struggle with the challenge to supply uncontaminated drinking water to households.

In the UK, the water standards are thorough, and practices ensure that the tap water is perfectly safe to drink irrespective of where you are. By law, your local water company must supply wholesome water suitable for cooking, drinking, washing, etc. Public water is always tested by England and Wales and results are available to households. If for any reason the water going to your home requires any additional measures to meet the high standards, then the water company will let you know. Quite simply tap water in the UK is extremely safe to drink and is not a major cause for concern. However, many residents are still worried about their tap water due to the amount of limescale that builds up on appliances such as kettles, and the taste that results from it.

Around 68% of the water in the UK comes from the surface and the rest is underground sources. Water is then treated; safe levels of fluoride and chlorine are added for dental health and cleaning purposes. Tap water in the UK can also contain natural minerals that dissolve such as calcium, magnesium and potassium picked up through rainwater and contact with the ground. If levels of these minerals in your water are high, it can cause limescale to form in your appliances, this is known as hard water. Low levels of these minerals are regarded as soft water, however, most areas of the UK experience hard water and this is why people are motivated to install a water filter in their homes as well as use bottled water coolers in the workplace.

Alternative Access to Water

There are many ways you can make tap water taste better as well as remove all the hardness resulting from minerals. It is worth looking at the pros and cons of alternative methods however before investing:

Bottled Water

Bottled water is a good temporary solution if your tap water is unsafe to drink, but only if you choose the right brand. Some brands will have specific testing practices meaning that every bottle may not be as pure as their marketing indicates. Bottled water is also very expensive in the long term as well as having a negative impact on the environment. Opting to invest in a bottle refilling station will, therefore, be a much more cost effective and ethical alternative.

Filters

Filters can help to remove dirt, sand and sediments in hard water, including lowering the number of materials that form limescale and traces of metals. There are many different filters you can install to remove certain properties. For example, reverse osmosis units can remove nitrates, sodium pesticides, and petrochemicals, whereas, an activated carbon filter, will remove certain organic contaminants. Filters can be installed into numerous mains fed water dispensers and coolers fully certified and maintenance by a supplier to give the water a softer taste at an affordable cost. This solution is also much more cost effective in the long term and environmentally friendly.

Boiling Water

Boiling water does help remove certain contaminants but not all. The high temperatures can kill germs but will not affect any traces of metals and minerals. This method is quite ineffective to aid in your effort and tap water concerns.

Conclusion

Water in the UK is completely safe for consumption and the standards are very high for the water company to meet. If you wish to remove certain properties that form limescale and potential contaminants, then installing a water filter can greatly aid in this process.

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