Is my tap water safe to drink?

Being a resident in the United States means that many of us have access to clean and reliable tap water. We who are fortunate enough to have access to tap water are ready to use it to cook and clean We’re happy to use it to wash our dishes, clean our food, and take a shower. But sometimes we might feel like tap water is unsafe to drink. Speaking from personal experience I didn’t trust tap water until very recently. 
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If you come from a Taiwanese family that immigrated to the US like mine, you might have some mixed feelings about drinking tap water or using tap water to make soup. The way my family grew up was that we had to boil our water before we use it for anything. This is common especially for those who grew up in rural areas where most of the water was used for agriculture. We didn’t know if there were bacteria in the water and we didn’t want to get sick since our family had distrust of doctors. 
 
After we moved to the US, we began to purchase water from Primo Water Refilling stations. And, if we did use tap water, we would still boil it for safety. Because of the distrust in water here, we see many water refilling stores in the West San Gabriel Valley. 
 
My family was not alone in distrusting tap water. In fact, 60 million Americans don’t drink tap water according to a researcher at Pennsylvania State University. Thankfully, in the West San Gabriel Valley, we have access to safe and reliable tap water. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has some of the strictest regulations on the amount of pollutants in our water. The EPA tests tap water for more than 90 pollutants. Because of rigorous testing, tap water is safer than bottled water. Bottled water is much less regulated. 
 
However, tap water quality issues can come from old pipes or housing. Agencies that bring water to your house are only responsible for the water quality up to your property. Property owners and landlords are responsible for making sure that the pipes are clean when it’s delivered to your faucet. To find more information on this, reach out to your landlord or check out this helpful resource from the Environmental Working Group: https://www.ewg.org/healthyhomeguide/plumbing-and-pipes/ 
 
If you would like to learn more about the water quality in your area, visit the California Water Quality Monitoring Council at https://mywaterquality.ca.gov/ 
 
Check out these resources to learn more about tap and bottled water: 
NRDC The Truth About Tap 
Story of Bottled Water 
 
To learn more about local water issues and ways to get involved, join our Sustainable SGV Coalition and meet other residents who are passionate about cultivating safe and healthy communities: bit.ly/ssgvcoalition 

See Also

Where does our water come from?

Who takes care of our water?

Learn More

What is a watershed?

Glossary