Drinking Water Quality

Water Overview

Below we provide an overview of the types of water that we described from their source and the results of the various processes they undergo.



Drinking Water Quality

Tap Water

The whole process through source (ground water for smaller systems, surface water for larger systems), treatment and distribution delivers drinking water to the consumer which in most cases includes a chlorine residual to enhance the safety of the tap water. This, however, often creates an off-flavor noticeable to most consumers. The quality of the tap water depends mainly on factors outside the consumer’s control, such as rainfall, treatment techniques, status, and material of the distribution system.

However, tap water does provide in most cases a safe source of drinking water, even if occasional system failures make it necessary for consumers to search for alternatives during these times.


Drinking Water QualityBottled Water

Bottled water is a safe and healthful alternative to other beverages and is delivered in individually sealed bottles to the consumer. At the time of consumption, the consumer can easily determine that the seal is still intact, thus being ensured that the safety of the bottled water is uncompromised. Due to the individual package size, consumers can choose between different package sizes and different products to select the product that best fits their needs. Bottled water is clearly labeled when it is fluoridated, thereby allowing consumers to make their optimal choice. Bottled water is available from a variety of different sources, all with their distinct characteristics. This means that the consumer can choose the product that most closely matches his or her lifestyle and tastes.


Drinking Water Quality

Filtered Water Sources

Filtered water is tap water that has been treated with a device that removes impurities. Water may be filtered for preventative health reasons to eliminate harmful substances, or to improve the taste, color or odor of drinking water.

In some instances, water is filtered to remove or reduce contaminants and impurities such as lead and chlorine.

People can filter their tap water at home with a several types of domestic water filters. These filters can be attached directly to a tap, attached to the domestic water supply before the tap, or used as a portable unit.

The different filter types that can be used in the home include granular activated carbon filters (GAC), metallic alloy filters, microporous ceramic filters, carbon block resin (CBR) and ultrafiltration membranes. Some filter units may be composite systems comprising several of these filter technologies. Jug filters can be used for small quantities of water for drinking and some kettles have these filters built in, predominantly to reduce the effects of limescale.

The basic domestic options include:

  • Pour thru pitchers
  • Faucet mounts
  • Refrigerator or faucets with filters
  • Under-the-counter
  • Faucets with built-in filters
  • Whole house

Whatever type of household filter you use, it’s important to keep your drinking water fresh and clean.

You can avoid drinking unwanted chemicals, particles and bacteria by changing your refrigerator water filter on a regular basis. Most filter manufacturers recommend that you change your filter every 6 months. The life of your water filter depends on the amount of water you use and the quantity of contaminants in your water. If you and your family drink a lot of water or if you are on a well, you will need to change your filter more often.

<<Editor’s note — click below for updated comparative reviews of:
Monitoring and Regulation of Tap Water and Bottled Water.
Microbial Safety of Tap Water and Bottled Water.>>