Can I drink tap water? Quality of tap water
Undoubtedly, water is life. However, tap water is for many not exactly alive, but rather dead. Is it possible to drink tap water or can this lead to serious problems and how is tap water in the world?
What is the danger?
Is the devil as terrible as he is painted? The primary danger is contained in bacteria and viruses, which can be in poorly purified water, or in the case of stagnation in pipes they appear in the standing. Thus, "dirty" tap water can cause intestinal infection, diphtheria, typhoid fever.
The other danger is a complete absencetrace elements or, on the contrary, their content is too high. In the first case, there may be a deficit, for example, iodine, which is bad for the thyroid gland, or calcium, which is detrimental to bones and teeth. Overabundance can cause equally serious consequences. So, a large amount of cadmium in water leads to problems with joints, mercury and lead - to CNS lesions, and iron not only spoils electrical appliances and plumbing, but also badly affects health.
Is there any benefit?
In most cities of the world, especially in Russia,Europe, America, drinking water is taken from surface natural sources, that is, rivers or lakes. Naturally, it is very different in microelement composition from water from underground sources. So, there is little calcium, fluorine, iodine and magnesium, and subsequent purification often removes the insignificant amount of minerals that was present initially. Therefore, the shortage of these trace elements is a common problem among the inhabitants of megacities. Naturally, it is difficult to speak about the benefits of such water, at least in Russia.
However, the alternative - bottled water -often does not help to cope with the deficit, since most of the products in stores are the same tap water, only once again purified and artificially enriched with useful elements. Buying bottled water, read the label and buy artesian, it does not need to be cleaned and enriched so much.
How to determine the quality of tap water?
Many people think that they can determine the quality of waterorganoleptically. However, this is possible only in extreme cases. So, everyone understands that clean water should be transparent and colorless. If you see that something dull or with an admixture of color (brown or yellow) flows from the faucet, it is definitely not worth drinking such water. However, such water is only in places where it is practically not cleaned up, or if there are a lot of foreign impurities in it. In Russia, even in the smallest towns, this can be seen for a short time - after shutdown, rusty water can sometimes flow and it can be quickly lowered. In other cases, impurities and pathogens, of course, can not be discerned with the naked eye.
Also, you will not feel it taste. However, it is quite understandable when there are too many impurities in the water, for example, in old houses with worn out communications. You can feel the taste of an excess of iron, copper, nitrates, oil products, chlorine and hydrogen sulphide. Also, the taste of the liquid changes frequently in the summer, when flowering water can smell damp (paradoxical as it may sound) or a swamp. If the water for some reason does not like you to taste, it is better not to drink it, but trust your body.
So, it is very difficult to feel the impurities with your eyes, nose and mouth, what can you do to know if you can drink tap water? The easiest way is to submit a sample for analysis to a special laboratory.
Since this method is good only in the place of yourpermanent residence, how to find out about the quality of water, if you come on vacation or business trip? First, check with tour operators beforehand if you can drink tap water in the country or city where you are going. If the trip is independent or business-like, then on arrival ask about this from local residents, for example, the hotel staff.
Also there are special information sites,such as the Is the water safe to drink project. On their website you can enter the name of the city and get information about the suitability of tap water. They receive data from the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention and have a base from many cities around the world, including 28 Russian. More complete and up-to-date information on Russian cities can be found on the websites of Rospotrebnadzor and Vodokanal of the respective settlements, especially in large cities and regional centers.
Existing cleaning systems
The most common system used inRussia - cleaning with reagents, that is chlorine. It kills all pathogenic bacteria and, in addition, prevents the development of new bacteria in the tubes themselves. Many are habitually afraid of chlorine, but its content in water is strictly regulated, constantly monitored and can not harm a person. In addition, chlorine is a volatile compound, and therefore it is possible to collect water in a pitcher or kettle and allow a little to stand up so that it evaporates. In some cases, innovative reagents are also used, for example aluminum oxychloride. It has been successfully used in Novosibirsk since 1995.
In 2008, in Russia, a newmethod of water purification by ultraviolet. The pioneer in this was St. Petersburg. However, this method does not kill the bacteria, which means that it does not make the water completely safe. Therefore, this method is used only in conjunction with chlorination.
In Europe, for example in Finland, or in Canada, waterozonize, that is, disinfect it with ozone. This gas oxidizes the envelope of the virus, preventing it from dividing and joining the cells of the human body. However, this method does not help from bacteria.
Water quality and safety in Russia
Russian water treatment systems are quite modernand are technically equipped to supply water to the living quarters of quite decent quality and certainly safe for life. At least we are assured of this. In this case, large cities take water from the nearest rivers, lakes and reservoirs and, for example, during the flood period, they can get fertilizers or impurities from the fields. In summer, the period of flowering of water strongly affects its taste and smell. Therefore, its quality is not constant, but safety is always at the highest level, and therefore, through the water can not get pathogenic microorganisms.
Also a big problem, mainlysmall towns and old districts, is the deterioration of communications. Old pipelines, as well as liquid stagnation in some areas, contribute to the appearance of various unpleasant impurities in the water.
Also much depends on the natural featuresreservoirs. In the Neva, for example, the water is soft, so a liquid flows from the St. Petersburg crane, in which there are practically no micronutrients useful to humans. And in Kalmykia, the water is salty due to the high salt content in local water bodies and has a negative impact on the kidneys.
How are things going in the large cities of Central Russia?
Let's start with the capital - can I drink water from undercrane in Moscow? Experts respond that it is possible. Every 24 hours Mosgvododokanal conducts inspections and water fences, and in all parts of the city the liquid in the tap is bacteriologically safe, and the content of impurities is always within the limits of the norm. However, the Moscow water is too rich in iron, because of this there is, for example, rust on the plumbing. Excess iron is not good for health, but it will not do much harm, so do not doubt if you can drink tap water in Moscow. Experts answer - you can, if there are no alternatives.
In St. Petersburg, water is taken from the Neva and purified intwo stages. First, reagents, namely sodium hypochlorite, and then ultraviolet. The first stage kills bacteria, and the second - viruses, making the water in the northern capital completely safe. Hence, local residents can not be afraid, wondering whether it is possible to drink tap water in St. Petersburg. However, in many areas of the city, it can be of high iron content due to the fact that the water in the Neva is very soft and corrodes the steel communications. To drink it is not very dangerous, but it is better not to abuse it.
Despite the fact that the Vodokanal system tends toimproving the quality of water, there are cities where it, on the contrary, becomes worse. For example, if the locals used to answer the question about whether it is possible to drink tap water in Sochi in the affirmative, now they are trying to buy it in bottles. It's all about changing the cleaning principle - chlorine has replaced other reagents that have changed the taste of water and made it tougher.
In the regions, the situation is that large citiescan boast of good water, but small ones often experience problems. For example, the third largest city in Russia, Novosibirsk, regularly falls into the list of 10 domestic cities with the best water. Therefore, Novosibirsk can live peacefully and do not doubt whether it is possible to drink tap water in Novosibirsk.
But in Elista everything is very bad - the steppe regioncauses water scarcity, its poor quality and worn-out communications. A little more lucky for those who do not have large natural water intakes near by, as, for example, in the Tula region - here the water in the tap is artesian.
Fluid from the tap in Europe
Traveling in Europe, you can relax,especially in large cities: water is absolutely safe for humans, at least so say official sources. However, if the situation in the Central, Northern and Southern parts of Europe is good in almost all countries, then in the East it is better not to drink it directly from the aqueduct, especially in Albania, Moldova, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia. Also, not the most suitable liquid for a person flows from the cranes of Bulgarians and Montenegrins.
Many tourists are puzzled by the question of whetherdrink tap water in Cyprus. Local residents believe that it is possible, but in this region there are problems with fresh moisture, and water treatment plants have to desalinate sea water, which affects its quality. She can be washed, but you should not drink.
As for Western Europe, then, as it was alreadynoted, the water in it is suitable for drinking, especially in large cities. So, do not doubt if you can drink tap water in Prague, Vienna or Berlin. It is no different from bottled. It is not too soft, but not hard, does not give a touch in the kettle or on the sink and is completely safe. On the question of whether it is possible to drink tap water in Amsterdam, the world community responds that it can be safely. Here to clean up fit with all responsibility. True, for example, the French doctors, affirmatively answering the question of whether it is possible to drink tap water in Paris, make a small reservation - for babies it is better still to boil it.
The safest water in Northern Europe, here itsyou can pour and drink in the sink of a public toilet, it is poured directly into a glass in a restaurant and given to babies. Doctors can even appoint a patient to drink tap water more often, since it contains a good balance of salts and minerals that is necessary for a person.
The USA, of course, has the most modern systemspurification of tap water, and its quality is practically throughout the country at a decent level. There are exceptions, especially small towns, where there are many harmful impurities, for example lead or copper.
But, for example, in San Francisco thanks tounique natural sources of water is considered one of the most pure and useful in the country. At the same time, Americans have a slightly different problem with drinking water - they spend huge sums to buy bottled water, which is often not only better than tap water, but also harmful because of plastic containers that release harmful substances and decompose long.
Where to drink tap water is not worth it?
There are in the world and countries where you can not just drink water, do not even recommend cleaning your teeth with it and typing in your mouth when taking a shower.
These are developing poor countries such as Afghanistan, India or Bangladesh, and most of the Southeast Asian countries are Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, as well as a significant part of Africa - Ethiopia, Chad, Ghana and others.
In these countries, drink only bottled water and in the restaurant take only a closed bottle, as the waiter can cheat and pour liquid into the empty container from the tap.
How to make tap water cleaner?
If you are not sure whether you can drink water from undercrane or you need to clean it, for example, on a trip, then stock up with activated charcoal. It perfectly disinfects. Another recognized bactericide is silver, place it in a jar of water for a short while. But the best is boiling. It can be used both at home and in the hotel.
If you need to make domestic water moresuitable for drinking, try a filter for its additional cleaning. Pitchers are quite suitable, but do not forget to regularly change the cartridge. Flow and reverse osmosis systems are more effective and capable of giving you the desired quality of clean and healthy drinking water.