Tap water - to drink or not to drink?

Hey there Monoxide,

Virtually everyone drinks bottled water in Taiwan, which you can buy everywhere. I think the main consideration is not so much the presence of pathogens in the water, but rather pollutants. Boiling up pasta with Tap water, or washing off fruits or veggies, never seemed to be a problem, but as for making a pot of tea from boiled tap water, probably not such a good idea.

So, in answer to your question, if you have a good porta-filter bring it in case you go camping, or travelling in the region, but otherwise plan on drinking bottled.

Local bottled water runs around NT$22, while an imported 1.5L bottle will run around NT$35-42.

Really? I was just joking. AFAIK it’s safe to drink the tap water after boiling it (it does have bugs in it which will give you the runs if you drink it straight from the tap). Then again, more people here seem to have obvious birth defects than back in the U.S.

Really? I was just joking. AFAIK it’s safe to drink the tap water after boiling it (it does have bugs in it which will give you the runs if you drink it straight from the tap). Then again, more people here seem to have obvious birth defects than back in the U.S.[/quote]
I’ve been drinking boiled water here for ten-plus years, and I have no birth defects. :sunglasses:

We have installed an Everpure filter and then my wife boils the water still. No problems… so far.

Sorry MaPo, I didn’t even notice your reply. I was responding directly to the question.

I think you’re right that drinking boiled tap water probably won’t kill you. But most everyone I knew in Taiwan who dranl boiled tap water, filtered it too (using the heavy duty kinds that you attach to the faucet). I still say that for drinking bottled water is the only way to go.

Monoxide, I think you are going to be in for a period of adjustment to the local water born bugs, so I recommend stocking up on a couple of boxes of immodium to bring along with you. Also, your system will need to get used to eating street food, and the food at cheap cafeterias, too.

And just as a general note, since you have obviously reached the stage where you are planning your packing, don’t sweat it too much in terms of bringing heaps of supplies from home. Taiwan has shopping malls, supermarkets with lots of western foodstuffs, Costco, etc.

There are lots of well stocked pharmacies with many of the familiar products from back home. Throw a big bottle of advil in the bag though, and maybe a bit thing of tums, to help you recover from all the fun you’ll be having out on the town at night.

If you are a big person (more than a size 36 waist), or if you a girl, bigger than - what, a size 12, maybe, you’ll find that getting clothes that fit might be a problem. So you might want to stock up on your wardrobe.

You also might want to invest in about 3-4 months of traveller’s insurance, as there usually is a lag time before your National Health Insurance kicks in, after your work permit has been processed. I’ve bought short and long term ploicies thorugh this website insuremytrip.com/ before.

And finally, if you have set travel dates, and you are serious about staying at a hostel at the outset, maybe you can persuade one of these nice fourmosans who actually live in Taipei to ring up Lin Tai Tai at the Formosa hostel (02- 2562-2035) and ask her to reserve a bed for you.

threads with the same topic:

forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=5079
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=5942
[What kind of water do you drink?

jeez, I’m becoming Juba :blush: I think I need some Forumosa time off :s

I drink straight from the tap. But then again, I don’t really give a toss.
However, I’ve had no problems so far. i gain about a pound of weight every week though due to the heavy metals.

Heavy metals and toxins accumulate in your system and do not show immediate effects.

Sewerage or contamination of other sorts will show an immediate affect.

Supposed thing you are meant to do with old lead piping, before you use the water you should let it run for a couple of minutes. To be honest I have no idea how this de leads the water as the piping could be miles long

Another thing to do maybe to get a sample of the tap water and get it tested

The pipes in the street are (or should be) steel. At least in the U.S., lead was only used in the connections (a lead bloom from the steel pipe to the house’s copper pipes; lead solder between segments of copper pipe). It doesn’t take long to run that water out of the pipes, and besides, as long as the water pH isn’t way out of balance, the lead would oxidize shortly after installation and stop contaminating the water.

My in-laws and translator get water for drinking from a dispenser down the road, and then boil that. I never been too sure why they don’t just boil the tap water,but maybe it gets around any mineral/polution contamination problems.

I get my drinking water from China Petroleum’s gas stations, where they have thsoe huge filter thingies. I don’t boil it, but drink it straight as it is.

Seems ok to me.

A few months ago, I went to the local water supply place (the “zi4 lai2 shui3 gong1 si1”, where you pay your water bills) and I asked them if they purified the water, and what contaminants it had. They gave me a handout that says that the water goes through a very rigorous filtration and purification system before it leaves the plant, and it is okay to directly drink the water when it first leaves the plant. However, it said that they couldn’t guarantee the quality of the water when it reaches your house because dirt and other contaminants could get into the pipes through leaks, and also because the water usually passes through a large tank on the roof of the house, which usually contains a lot of algae unless it is cleaned regularly.

By the way, most modern underground plumbing in Taiwan uses gray plastic pipes (usually 25 mm in diameter), not steel pipes, so you don’t have to worry about lead contamination because only steel pipes use lead solder. However, the old pipes in Taiwan are steel and could have lead solder. I don’t know what year they switched from steel pipes to plastic pipes.

I went with the water/70 bottle machine deal…Cost 4,000NT including the water machine, and then 70NT per bottle afterwards. The machine comes complete with hot/warm/cold water and disco lights…

This thread is almost 2 years old. For the record, I have now switched to one of those Omosis machines (I think that is what they call them.) They sell them at B&Q among other places. I got one of the best ones. Water tastes great and I never have to call anyone when the bottle is empty. I think it cost about NT$5,xxx. The bottled water is great way to go as well. Perhaps better if you are renting your home.

Hey,

Roughly on the same topic, I have a question about drinking only boiled water for long periods of time. I am not asking about Taiwanese water quality. This question would apply equally to water in the U.S. or elsewhere.

It seems to me that I remember something that I read eons ago about distilled water (or boiled water??) being bad to drink for extended periods. I did a quick Google search on distilled water and found this write-up (with a short list of references - 4optimallife.com/Distilled-Water … ealth.html ) I’m sure that better references could be found, but it will get my point across. Long story short: Distilled water is not good to drink for longer than about 3 weeks at a time.

HOWEVER…

The big question, for all of those of you out there who were awake in Science class… what is the difference between distilled and boiled water? Not just the “process” difference, but what differences are there in the resulting water?

Applicability to this thread: If distilled water and boiled water are substantially different, then long term use of boiled water should pose no problems. If they are the same, basically, then maybe osmosis is a better choice healthwise.

Any ideas?

Seeker4

[quote=“seeker4”]Hey,

Roughly on the same topic, I have a question about drinking only boiled water for long periods of time. I am not asking about Taiwanese water quality. This question would apply equally to water in the U.S. or elsewhere.

It seems to me that I remember something that I read eons ago about distilled water (or boiled water??) being bad to drink for extended periods. I did a quick Google search on distilled water and found this write-up (with a short list of references - 4optimallife.com/Distilled-Water … ealth.html ) I’m sure that better references could be found, but it will get my point across. Long story short: Distilled water is not good to drink for longer than about 3 weeks at a time.[/quote]
Looking at the web page, it’s fairly obvious that the author is a loon.

[quote=“seeker4”]The big question, for all of those of you out there who were awake in Science class… what is the difference between distilled and boiled water? Not just the “process” difference, but what differences are there in the resulting water?

Applicability to this thread: If distilled water and boiled water are substantially different, then long term use of boiled water should pose no problems. If they are the same, basically, then maybe osmosis is a better choice healthwise.[/quote]
Boiled water has had the molecules heated. Their bonds expand and so they are physically larger. In extreme cases, you might end up with a water molecule as big as a hippopotamus. Drinking boiled water could result in the molecules getting stuck in your throat, stomach, intestine, or other tubelike structures in your body, and so should be avoided at all cost.

Distilled water may or may not have had the molecules heated. You should always check at the store to make sure that they use a no-heat distillation process such as vacuum distillation or partial-vacuum distillation.

WHAP. Bad Squid. WHAP.

Distilled water has fewer impurities in it. Boiled water is just water that’s been heated to the point that most bugs in it have been killed, then cooled again; more volatile compounds would have been driven off as the water was heated, so their concentrations will be reduced in the final product. However, since some water molecules will also have boiled away, other compounds will become more concentrated in the final product.

Drink whichever you’d rather. If your area has a lot of bad stuff in the water, you should probably get a filter or buy bottled water. If it doesn’t have a lot of chemical crud in it, then boiling it will kill the bugs and make it safe to drink.

Distilled is probably unnecessarily expensive compared to plain old bottled drinking water, but it’s not going to kill you unless you drown in it.

Hey Squid,

I was actually asking a serious question. The guy in the article might not be wrapped too tight (a possibility that I acknowledged), but the issue with distilled water might still remain. Many physical substances tend to seek a balance or equilibrium, so in the case of water with no minerals (distilled), it would tend to absorb surrounding minerals. Makes sense to me.

Upon further reflection, boiled water cannot have the same “issue” as distilled water in terms of minerals. Just puzzling it out, but, if in the distillation process, the vapor is trapped and condensed back into water, thus leaving the minerals and other impurities behind (the whole point of distillation), then the minerals stay in the source container (boiling water pot). So, in the case of simple boiled water, the minerals stay in the water. The concentration might be slightly higher, due to water loss from steam, but not a big deal I’d think.

Cheers,

Seeker4

But I guess there still is the hippo problem :laughing:

Here is my completely unresearched response: as far as I know distilled water is essentially ‘made’ H2O. Therefore it is very pure, but doesn’t have any of the minerals found in normal water. This might sound good, but it’s the minerals that give water its ‘taste’, such as it is. Pure distilled water apparently tastes awful. However, too many minerals (hard water) is not good either. Boiling water just kills bacteria and doesn’t do anything as far as I know to the existing mineral properties of the water, except perhaps concentrate them a bit.

[quote=“seeker4”]Hey Squid,

I was actually asking a serious question. The guy in the article might not be wrapped too tight (a possibility that I acknowledged), but the issue with distilled water might still remain. Many physical substances tend to seek a balance or equilibrium, so in the case of water with no minerals (distilled), it would tend to absorb surrounding minerals. Makes sense to me.[/quote]
The distilled water gets absorbed into your body, thereby depurifying it considerably. Your body then excretes whatever excess water it doesn’t want to keep around, adding any other water-soluble substances (creatine, urea, etc.) that it wants to get rid of. This is technically known as “taking a leak”.

Don’t mind me, I’ve just been reading too much Dave Barry lately.

Right, but there are other chemicals that boil off sooner, and their concentrations are reduced.