Water quality in Taiwan


#1

I know that this topic has been discussed several times, but I wanted to add some information along with my opinion on the topic, based and all what I have heard and read.

Apparently most of the people is afraid from drinking untreated tap water at home. However, normally most of the locals just boil the water and that's already fine for them. Many other people use the very popular RO filters at home, for cleaning the water from impurities and so. However, AFAIK, the water isn't that bad at all at least in Taipei. A coworker, who is chemical engineers, actually states that the water is very good, and not hard at all. The main problem people seem to worry about here are viruses/bacteria AND the high levels of Cl in the drinking water, used for controlling the first problem.

I have tested the Total Disolved Solids of the water at home (Hsinchuang) and at my office, with these results:

1) Office - unfiltered tap water: 40 to 50 ppm
2) Office - filtered tap water: 30 to 40 ppm (the filter components were changed a few months ago)
3) Home - unfiltered tap water: 50 to 60 ppm

These numbers are actually quite good. If I recall correctly, the OMS says that the limit for regular tap water should be something like 400 ppm.

BUT, last weekend I tested again the levels at home, and I got a quite different read: 150 ppm. Not sure if it's due to the rains or what. Today the water at the office had the same TDS value.

BTW, what I would concern the most is heavy metals coming from old pipes and so. Not sure how old a building need to be for having these issues though...


#2

Thanks for posting this. I've often wondered about this and wondered where I could send water to be tested.
I filter and boil, but then again my water comes directly from a river- turns brown in the rain and everything.


#3

Your water comes from a river? O_o can I ask where you live?

I would like also other people to post here their TSD readings (reads? readings?). I would also like to know if they fluctuate, as it seems that happens with my tap water. I assume that mine comes from Shimen (Ximen?) water reservoir, somewhere in Taouyan or perhaps Hsinchu (I'm always confused about these two counties).


#4

I think shimen serves the Taoyuan area, and fengcui or others serve taipei, just from my recollection.
My
In laws water turns slightly black during dry season, burnt rice stalks leaving carbon, or other stuff!


#5

Yeah, isn't there like a line across the island south of which you can't even put tap water on your plants, it's so contaminated with arsenic etc?

North of Taichers, for sure.


#6

Copied from my comment from a thread in Living

I think the filtered or bottled water tastes better, but want to comment that I think the Taiwan tap water is safe to drink if that is your concern (expect a lot of negative response to that statement). I use to do a lot of international travel and have gotten really sick in some places (Turkey and South America) so am very careful about drinking the local water. Read up on Taiwan before coming and based on the official published data, Taiwan has the same public drinking water standards as the US. Neither I nor any of my colleagues have ever gotten sick here, comparing that to Turkey were everyone has for several days. In general, just drinking and using bottled water cannot protect you, you would have to avoid eating out in general (salads, fruits, ...) anything washed with tap water.


#7

Like anywhere in the world, you can't say water quality across an entire country is the same as various places get their water from different sources.

Taipei water is generally good as it comes from a generally clean mountain area. Ktown not so good as water comes from a river that is notorious for people dumping waste into.

Taoyuan county allows a lot of traffic and recreation around its reservoir. Miaoli is run by gangsters. Etc.


#8

Yeah, that's why I'm looking forward to read other TDS data from other people. I'm sure that water in Linkou must be very shitty, for example. Sanxia, perhaps cleaner.


#9

Interestingly, my hiking club tested the water a few times to see if the rivers we were bathing in were clean. One mountain stream should have been fine but had a mere two houses upstream from the most perfect round swimming hole you could want, and the water was deemed very unclean. I think they had some pigs and chickens too which really do foul up water.

It doesn't take much to pollute a river and the Ma admin passed a revision of the reservoir act last year to LOOSEN standards and allow more construction nearby. Good job Mr President. :thumbsup:


#10

Fengcui reservoir was/is one of the best protected water sources but yeah they started opening it to tourists recently I believe. Shimen has too much agricultural run off and is rapidly filling up with silt so after every direct typhoon hit they have major problems with water supplies in Taoyuan.


#11

Shimen was half filled with sediment the year it opened IIRC.


#12

So at the end of the day, water in Taipei is not so reliable eh?

I know my parents, whom I live with, have a water filter from the sink, but boil that filtered water before drinking.

It's pretty tough life when it's the summer and we only have boiling hot water to drink in the house.


#13

Not sure how you concluded that when we are all saying yes generally Taipei water is good.


#14

For a tourist, a chilled liter bottle of water at 7/11 is only about US$.75.
For a local, a Brita or a Pur is cheap insurance that you are drinking relatively save water (removes most heavy metals).
A Pur faucet mount and a Brita pitcher in the fridge (filled from the filtered faucet) gives cold, clear water and peace of mind.


#15

What I would do in Taiwan (as I do here in CAlif). Use Brita to filter out tap water, then boil it before drinking.

After it cools you could chill the water in the fridge. And have some nice chilled water available.

Its a bit of work.


#16

I remember somebody saying in another thread that Brita didn't guarantee you anything else besides improving the taste of the water...


#17

I guess whatever helps you sleep at night really.

I myself would drink straight from the filter, my ice cubes are made from that filter water and I'm ok, partially.


#18

We just had a whole filter system installed. The guy did a great job. It is nicely and professionally done.
The owner/installer is Jackie at Jackie's Filters. His English is weak but will catch on immediately to a little body language.
His number is 0915 550 770
His office is in my building so if you need some translation help, feel free to pm me and I'll send my number and email.


#19

Thinking about this again. I’m thinking that if the water has chlorine (and my nose says it has a large quantity of it) and if I install a filter, no boiling is needed: bacteria and heavy metals should be removed by these two things…


#20

I believe the boiling is partly due to the fact people like warm water. But tap water is def safe to drink in taipei. I don’t know if there different regulations in different cities or counties. Doesn’t hurt to have a filter, but you certainly won’t be stuck in the toilet for days like water in the mainland.