Ways to make sure your tap water is safe

November 1, 2015

While tap water in Canadian municipalities and cities must undergo continuous testing and meet high standards, it's a good idea to know what's in your tap water. If you use well water, knowing its quality is especially important, since you need to make sure it's the highest quality water possible.

Here are a few methods you can use to determine if your tap water is safe for consumption.

Ways to make sure your tap water is safe

Test your water

Municipal tap water in Canada is continuously tested and monitored to ensure it meets strict safety guidelines, yet small amounts of contaminants — such as metals from water pipes, pesticides and microbes — may still be present in your tap water.

There are two main testing methods to check the quality of your water.

  • Private tap water testing companies or bottled water distributing companies will sometimes test your water for free.
  • You can also buy an at-home tap water testing kit to determine the quality of tap water in your home.

If your tap water comes from a well, you are responsible for making sure the water is safe to drink, because well water is not as tightly regulated as municipal water sources. Testing your well water is one of the best ways to determine its purity and if it's safe to drink.

Contact reputable agencies

Because tap water in Canada is tested by various agencies to ensure quality and safety, you can simply call agencies in your area to ask for information about municipal water quality and tap-water testing results.

Some good places to start are the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, Health Canada or the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health. You can can request water quality information from any of these agencies.

Buy a home water filter

Filtering tap water yourself with an at-home water filtration system can further purify the water from your tap. The type of water filter you buy determines which potential contaminants — occasionally present in small amounts — will be removed from your tap water.

In fact, the Environmental Working Group encourages you to filter tap water instead of drinking unfiltered tap or bottled water. To make sure that your water filter is working properly, have a water testing company rate it or run it through an at home testing kit.

Ensuring quality tap water

As a general assurance of quality, a Health Canada Tap Water Survey reports that Canada's municipal water supply is among the safest drinking water in the world.

Nonetheless, if you want to be sure about the quality of your tap water, you should have a company test it, test it yourself or contact a relevant agency about it.

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