What’s in City Water?

Posted by

What’s in City Water?

If you’re trying to figure out whether you should add an off-grid water system, one of the considerations may be to determine with is better, city water, well water, or a rainwater cistern. For our township or municipality customers, you may not even have the option of city water, relying instead on well water. In these instances, a rainwater harvesting system with cistern tanks and a rainwater pump may make sense as a backup to your well.

But for other clients who have access to city water, the issue may come down to simply understanding what’s in city water to help them determine if an off-grid water system may make more sense. This article will help you decide which is better for your family.

Is City Water Safer?

The biggest difference between city water, well water, and rainwater harvesting systems is that the city is responsible for purifying the water you consume. Having fresh clean water to drink is something we take for granted, but did you know clean water is actually still a scarce resource in other parts of the world? Newsweek just published some startling facts:

  • 2.1 billion people don’t have clean water to drink in their homes.
  • 159 million drink untreated water, which exposes them to dangerous health risks.
  • 663 million people don’t even have access to a safe water supply close to their homes.

So, for Americans, having fresh drinking water, sanitized by city services is something of a luxury when compared to the rest of the world. But given the latest stories about Flint, Michigan and the leakage of lead into their community’s tap water, you make take a pause every time you fill up a glass of ice water for your child, right?

The good news is this story is an anomaly; drinking city water is generally safe.

What’s Really in Tap Water?

The water that comes from city services usually is drawn from a reservoir, lake, or river, or groundwater. Then it needs to be purified to kill off any harmful bacteria. Your town or city will do this in a water treatment plant that you may have passed dozens of times and not even noticed.

City water is usually treated with chlorine to kill off any bacteria lurking in the water. When the water hits the pipes in your home, it’s typically safe. However, you may choose to filter out the chlorine before drinking it.

The water you drink may include minerals like iron or manganese, which can stain your tub or sink, giving you what is commonly called “hard water.” You can experience a rotten egg order or a metallic taste from city water, too.

One thing to note; all water runs downhill. What this means is that agricultural chemicals from fields, copper from pipes, or other chemicals that leach into groundwater may eventually hit the city water plant. Greatist suggests that these chemicals could potentially pose a problem, but laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act help regulate the levels of these chemicals that may be in our water.

Options for Clean Water

The team at Rain Brothers is committed to helping families with rainwater harvesting by installing water cisterns that capture and make use of free, clean rainwater. Contact us to talk about which is better for you, city water, well water, or a rainwater cistern.