There are a lot of concerns floating around tap water. Depending on who you talk to, tap water is either safer than bottled water, or it’s loaded with radioactive metals and poison. You may even begin to swear you can taste something in your water. Even if there’s nothing there.
So, what’s the truth? Is your tap water safe to drink? Are you actually tasting metal or chemicals when you fill up a glass from the kitchen sink? Should you think about installing a home water filter? Here are the facts when it comes to both tap water in general, and YOUR tap water specifically.
What is Tap Water?
Tap water usually refers to treated, publicly available water provided by a government via the municipal sewer system. Simply put, tap water is pretty much any water that comes out of a faucet or “tap.” It is often referred to as “potable water” which, by definition, is water that’s safe to drink and prepare food with.
Treating tap water and keeping it clean is almost always the responsibility of the local government agency. For example, the City of Dallas Water Utilities Department supplies Dallas’ tap water. Agencies like these are responsible for overseeing the procedures and treatments that make public water safe to use.
What Makes Tap Water Safe or Unsafe?
So, why does tap water get such a bad rap? Well, cities pull public water from open sources of water. To get to your taps, it passes through a central plumbing system. At several different points during collection and transfer, there’s a chance that different contaminants could find their way in. These contaminants come from a variety of sources including sewage treatment plants, septic systems, wildlife, storm runoff, wastewater discharges, oils or gases, agricultural pesticides, hard scale, or copper and lead piping.
Governments are responsible for making sure tap water is safe before it ever gets to you. To do this, all tap water undergoes a variety of treatments, including adding chemical compounds like chlorine and ammonia to clean the water and filter out acidity and contaminants. Cities ensure their water passes yearly inspections and that their tap water filtration process is always working properly.
Where Does Tap Water Come From?
Cities pull public tap water from a wide variety of sources depending on wherever large quantities of water are available. Common sources include lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, water wells, underground aquifers, or other sources from the municipal water supply.
Seven sources provide Dallas’ supply of tap water: The Elm Fork of Trinity River and lakes Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Grapevine, Ray Hubbard, Tawakoni, and Fork. The City of Dallas Water Utilities Department’s’ 2020 Water Quality Report included the map of water sources above. After water is pulled from these sources, it is piped to municipal water treatment plants where it is made safe to drink. Then the treatment plant transfers it to the water utilities who make your water publicly accessible via underground piping.
Recent Problems with Texas Water
In recent years there have been two events that have shaken public trust in Texas tap water.
In 2018, residents of Plano began to complain that their water tasted like chlorine. The outcry was enough to attract the attention of national activist Erin Brockovich who encouraged residents to question why their water stinks. The city of Plano was performing regular maintenance at the time in which they altered the chemical makeup of their treatment to perform a system flush. They maintain that water was always safe to drink and they continue to boast that their system has a superior rating.
In 2021, a large winter storm knocked out pipes, utilities and water supplies to thousands of Texans. Those who did have water feared it wasn’t safe to drink. While the event was isolated, it highlighted the limitations of the municipal water system.
So: Is Texas Tap Water Safe?
Alright, enough education. Time for brass tacks. Dallas tap water is safe to drink. The Department of Water Utilities tests Dallas’ water 40,000 to 50,000 times a month to make sure it meets a high standard for cleanliness and safety, and for their efforts Dallas currently has a “Superior Public Water System” rating for water systems awarded by the state.
You can learn more about Dallas’ water supply by checking the annual water quality reports for free online. If you have any questions or concerns about the quality of your water, you can call 311 anytime to ask them or to request a water quality test. Most towns and cities in the US have water quality information available online, and the government provides a number of resources for learning about water quality and conservation online, as well.
Keep Your Water Safe with a Home Water Filter
Hopefully, all this talk about safe tap water put your mind at ease. We are fortunate to have access to safe clean water in our homes.
Remember, however, that even the cleanest tap water is susceptible to contamination from unforeseen events and outside changes. A home water filtration system that is “hard wired” into your plumbing system filters every drop of water that enters your home from the outside.
A water filter protects your family and ensures that dangerous levels of chemicals, particles and other contaminants never reach your faucet or your glass. At Ben Franklin Plumbing we pride ourselves on being clean water experts. That’s why we exclusively offer Honest Water Filter systems. Honest Water Filters are compact, incredibly effective and made in the USA.
Your Local Texas Water Filter Experts
Call or contact Ben Franklin plumbing with all your water concerns. We’re happy to test your water, examine your plumbing and make the upgrades that ensure safe clean drinking water flows through your home and to all your taps.