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What’s In Your Tap Water?

Australia has some of the safest drinking water in the world and there is a lot of government resources that go into ensuring that it stays that way. For further information on the quality of Australia’s drinking water, check out the Australian Water Association or the Australian Government Drinking Water Guidelines. But, as we have stressed in earlier posts, mistakes happen occasionally and sometimes harmful pathogens or other contaminants will get through the filters.

This post is not intended to make you panic, it is simply to inform you about some of the things that could potentially be in your tap water.


Lead is a metal that was commonly used in many homes as part of the plumbing systems. It fell out of use due to its relatively high toxicity, but it still sometimes finds its way into the drinking water. A small amount of lead in drinking water is not generally harmful and in many places, the water authorities will not even bother filtering it out because it is simply not worth the effort. Generally, if there is a serious issue with lead in the water, it will not be the fault of the water authorities, but rather the taps themselves.

For example, in 2016 there was some fear over high amounts of lead in the tap water of New South Wales. But, as you can see from the article, it was not an issue with the water supply, rather it was an issue with lead from the brass fittings degrading and getting into the water. What makes lead especially dangerous is that unlike many other minerals, it does not radically change the taste, smell, or look of the water, which means it can go undetected.

For those wondering how dangerous lead is, the answer will depend on the quantity. In low quantities, lead is relatively harmless. In high quantities, it can cause a wide array of health issues. Thankfully, many water filters out there actively filter out lead. If you notice that a part of your tap or some of your plumbing has started rusting or degrading, you will want to call a plumber in to replace it, so as to limit the amount of lead seeping into the water.


Chlorine is a chemical that is used to disinfect the water; as anyone who has ever gone swimming in a poll can tell you. Now chlorine is not toxic, although if consumed in large amounts it can cause some health issues, especially in children. The main issue with chlorine is not that it causes health issues, it is that it can make your water pretty much undrinkable. Chlorine gives your water a really pungent, smell and taste; not to mention the fact that it also discolours the water.

Chlorine is used to treat Australian drinking water, but it is usually filtered out. However, sometimes the filtration process fails and you are left with water that tastes of and reeks of chlorine. Now, the government of Western Australia recommends just leaving the water in the fridge until the chlorine evaporates; that strategy works but it can take a while. A far better strategy for dealing with excess chlorine in water is to get a filter installed. Specifically, you will want a reverse osmosis filter, which is the best option for getting rid of chemicals.


Arsenic is a very famous chemical that can get into the drinking water in a variety of ways. Sometimes arsenic can be leaked into the water supply. Given that arsenic is used in a variety of industries, it is possible for a leakage to occur, although it is very rare. A far more likely occurrence is that the arsenic will come up through the ground.

Arsenic naturally occurs in the soil and in certain rocks, and can leak into the ground water. Arsenic works gradually, so you will not notice any side effects for some time. This is why it’s so dangerous, since you do not know that you are being poisoned by it until one day you see the effects of it.

Some signs of arsenic poisoning include shallow or strained breathing, darkening spots on the skin, and warts and corns will start to develop on the hands. This document from the government of Western Australia goes into more detail on the issue of arsenic in the water supply. Now, arsenic in the water is extremely rare, but it is something you need to be aware of.

Thankfully, like most chemicals, arsenic can be filtered out through the use of a good filter.


Around 70% of the population of Australia is given water with fluoride in it. Find the most recent review of its concentration and effects here. Now, if you are familiar with fluoride, then you know that it is a very controversial chemical. Many places put fluoride in the water to help prevent the spread of cavities; fluoride has been shown to be effective at preventing cavities, tooth decay, and other teeth related issues. But, some people disapprove of this; they assert that fluoride is associated with a variety of health issues and that putting it in the water is dangerous.

Now, we are not going to take a stance on this debate, however, we are going to point out that if you want to remove fluoride from your water, then you are able to do that by getting a water filter installed. As fluoride is a chemical, it can be easily removed by most water filters, especially reverse osmosis water filters, which are especially good when it comes to removing chemicals.



This was a brief look at some of the chemicals and contaminants that may get into your water supply. Now, we want to reiterate that the chance of actually getting sick from drinking Australian tap water is incredibly low. But, it does not hurt to be knowledgeable about potential contaminants in the water, in case something does happen and your water gets contaminated.

A good way to protect against this is to look info water filter installation, which we would be happy to do for you. Likewise, we have numerous posts on our blog about water filters in case you want more information. We recommend starting with this post.