Is NYC Tap Water Safe to Drink? (2023)

New York City is proud to have some of the cleanest drinking water among all major cities in the United States. It is, therefore, safe to drink NYC tap water. However, it is important to note that NYC tap water is not vegan and is unfiltered, making it possible for certain chemicals and foreign substances to find their way into the water before it reaches your glass. Let’s take a closer look at the quality of New York City tap water and whether it is safe for consumption.

Can You Drink Tap Water in NYC?

New York City tap water is safe and clean for consumption. In fact, it is regarded as one of the cleanest water sources in any major US city. Unless you have specific allergies or dietary restrictions that prevent you from consuming the additives used to purify the water, drinking NYC tap water should not result in any health issues.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile in ensuring that your water is contamination-free, you can consider investing in a filtration system or pitcher that can be kept in your fridge. This will guarantee that the water you drink is free of any unwanted flavors or substances. Another option is to purchase bottled water.

NYC Water Quality vs. Bottled Water

The quality of NYC tap water is among the best in the United States, and it can easily compete with most bottled water brands. It’s worth noting, though, that the water used in bottled products undergoes different regulations than the water that comes straight from the tap. While the FDA regulates the water in bottles, the EPA is responsible for maintaining the purity of tap water. However, both agencies have stringent safety standards in place. Interestingly, a significant portion of bottled water comes from the same sources as tap water.

Although the mineral composition or treatment process may vary, there isn’t a significant difference between tap water and bottled water in terms of the final product. Rest assured, both options are entirely safe for consumption.

It might seem like a quick fix to buy bottled water, but it can be costly and have a negative impact on the environment due to the excessive plastic waste it generates. Instead, it’s worth noting that the tap water in New York is entirely safe to drink. So, rather than relying on bottled water, it’s better to develop a habit of drinking tap water to reduce plastic waste and save money.

How Does the NYC Water System Work?

The city of New York boasts the largest unfiltered water system in the United States. It is considered one of the top public water systems in the country, alongside other major cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Boston. The Department of Environmental Protection carries out an impressive 500,000 to 600,000 health and quality tests on the drinking water in NYC each year to ensure that it meets their strict standards.

The New York Watershed serves as the source of clean drinking water for the five boroughs and other neighboring counties, including Westchester, Orange, Ulster, and Putnam. The Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds contribute significantly to New York’s water supply, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not mandate the filtration of water from these sources due to their exceptional purity. However, it is important to note that the water may still undergo some form of treatment before it reaches your glass.

What Is in NYC Drinking Water?

NYC drinking water is treated with chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and sodium hydroxide, along with UV light, to ensure its safety for consumption. However, these treatments may impact the taste or composition of the water. The EPA strictly regulates the treatment process to ensure that the chemicals used do not pose any harm to health or lead to long-term effects. If you are sensitive to any of these substances, it is important to be aware of their presence in NYC drinking water.

NYC Tap Water is Not Vegan

The water in NYC is not strictly vegan since it contains copepods, which are tiny microscopic organisms. Although these microscopic shrimps are not harmful to consume, they feed on mosquito larvae that are likely to thrive in standing water. Copepods serve as a biological control mechanism to eradicate potential mosquito breeding sites, making the water cleaner and more palatable.

NYC tap water isn’t considered kosher due to the presence of copepods, causing conflicts with the city’s Orthodox Jewish community.

NYC Tap Water May Contain Unwanted Contaminants From Old Piping

New York City boasts some of the oldest buildings among major cities in the US, which makes it susceptible to contaminants from the building’s pipes that can potentially mix with the water. It is the responsibility of landlords and property managers to maintain certain standards to guarantee that the pipes are in good condition and the drinking water is safe and clean. However, even with their efforts, harmful materials can still infiltrate the drinking water, particularly in older buildings.

Read More: Top 10 Safest Neighborhoods in Seattle (2023)

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