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Tap Water: Treatment, Truths, and Tips


It shouldn’t take a situation like the one in Flint, MI for us to think about where our water comes from, but it does easily make our drinking water, and its quality, top of mind. So how safe is your drinking water? It can be easy to assume that since many of us get our water from a city or municipality, the water we drink is protected from major issues. While this is often the case for major contaminants, it does not always mean the quality of your tap water is up to your home’s standards.

Water Treatment Myths and Truths

Most municipalities treat the public water supply with chlorine, which removes basic impurities and contaminants, like:

  • Suspended solids.
  • Bacteria.
  • Microorganisms.
  • Algae.
  • Viruses.
  • Fungi.
  • Some chemical pollutants.
  • Certain minerals, like iron and sulfur.

Not only does this produce drinkable water, but it also satisfies regulations throughout its sourcing and distribution. Different cities and counties handle water treatment differently, and to varying degrees of thoroughness. In general, however, the process includes chlorination, aeration, sediment removal, desalination (if necessary), and finally, some additional measure of disinfection.

Municipal Water Treatment

Most often, treatment is based on the quality of water entering the system (whether it comes from an underground aquifer, or surface water sources, like rivers or lakes) and minimum water quality standards. In the United States, we enjoy some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, but that doesn’t always mean we are protected from contaminants and bacteria, even though we often assume tap water is universally safe to drink and use.

In many circumstances, it’s often only safe insofar as it meets a particular municipality’s minimum requirements — so it may make sense to explore additional water treatment options, especially if you have particular water needs for you or your household. It’s not uncommon for communities to add fluoride to water supplies, in addition to disinfection chemicals like chlorine, which can leave your tap water bringing a lot more with it to your faucets than you may need or want. The best way to know for sure what is, or isn’t, in your water is to have a Culligan Man test it for you. Our complimentary water test will give you the information you need to determine if, and how, you want to treat your home’s water. Your Culligan Man can also answer questions about which water treatment system will work best for exactly your water situation.

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