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That Tap Water Supply Conspiracy

Jan 29, 2008
I have grown up to hear lots of different stories and hearsay about the British tap water system being unsafe to drink as it may contain some harmful chemicals - like chlorine. However, I have also been aware of the amount of people either spending out on massive bottles of mineral water, or investing in clever water filters and water filtered jugs. I used to believe that this was all over the top and full of nonsense, but now I have come to the realisation that there may be a fraction of truth in these warnings of drinking water safety.

I for one would never drink tap water when I am abroad as may be the case for everyone who are travelling abroad on holiday. As you are not aware of how safe the plumbing system is, it is best to put your health first and opt to buy bottled water. I have known people to take water purifying tablets, but those are only useful for extreme regions and expeditions rather than in places like Spain or Italy! With this in mind I had invested on small water filters to take with me on my last holiday, this worked out fine and cheaper than spending out on gallons of bottled water.

Water filters are handy for holidays as they are light, small and cost effective. They can work in various different ways, the most commonly used filters are ones that work from purifying water through ion exchange, sieving and absorption of small chemical particles, which a normal sieve could not pass through. Different types of filters are readily used for office water fountains, aquariums, irrigation, drinking water and swimming pools. The different types of filters include media filters, screen filters, disk filters, slow sand filter beds, rapid sand filters and cloth filters.

Filters are mainly used to soften the water and remove chemicals such as chlorine; there are water other purification methods that are just as effective if not more advanced as standard home water filters; however, they are not as readily portable as filters can be. The various water purification methods include reverse osmosis (involves a separation process that pushes a solvent through a permeable membrane), distillation (separates chemical substances in a boiling liquid mixture), ultra filtration (similar to reverse osmosis only pushing the solution through various semi-permeable membranes), deionisation (involves removing extra ions from the water) and finally carbon treatment used for wastewater treatments.

Drinking water in the UK mainly come from the surface such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers and ground water. The remaining amount comes from aquifers, which are underground geological formations that store rainwater. Our source waters are treated because although they are drawn from safe high quality areas, they are still treated through various ways as an extra precaution to remove pathogens. Surface waters are usually treated naturally from direct sunlight, which eliminates pathogens naturally. Therefore, our drinking water system is safer to drink, as chlorine is used as a disinfectant. However, as mentioned previously many have argued the health issues of using chlorine in water and it is a debate that continues to stand at the forefront of health and safety.

One thing is for certain there are more affordable ways for people to filter and purify their water, without having to spend extra amounts of money on bottled water all the time. Tap water may not be for some, the ideal way to consume water, but a few little tools can be used to make it that much safer without it being detrimental to your health. However, it is safe to say that there are no real harmful chemicals in the water supply other than the use of chlorine, in which the water suppliers maintain is not going to cause long-term health issues. It is a matter of choice and though there will be a continued debate against the use of chlorine there are always an abundance of water filters available, which if I say so myself are very useful.
About the Author
Anna Stenning uses water filters when she travels abroad on holiday, and believes that there are other ways to drink safe water without spending out too much on bottled water. For more information on useful filtration devices visit http://www.pure-eau.co.uk
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