With so many different types of water being thrown around: filtered, distilled, purified, who’s to say which one is best to drink and what are the differences between them? This is your guide to understanding everything there is to know about drinking water. What is safe, what isn’t, and importantly, what filtration systems would best suit your health needs.
While Perth’s tap water is safe to drink, this doesn’t mean it’s free from various chemicals and treatments such as fluoride and chlorine. Perth’s water comes mainly from reservoirs, nearby groundwater sources, and two desalination plants.
Generally, Australia’s drinking water supply is effective in removing most microbiological and chemical contaminants, however, this does not mean it’s perfect or that the water tastes good. Let’s take a closer look at what these three terms mean.
What is purified water?
Purified water is essentially water that has been filtered to remove chemicals and contaminants. Purified water is usually made from a groundwater source or mains supply/tap water. A water purifier works to remove some of the following:
- Chlorine, typically used as disinfection as part of mains water supply treatment. All Perth tap water has some level of chlorine in it.
- Fluoride. Western Australia introduced water fluoridation in 1968 and now over 92% of Perth’s drinking water has fluoride added. The amounts vary but tend to be around 0.6 to 0.9 milligrams per litre.
- Bacteria. Despite efforts to disinfect all drinking water before it reaches homes, the government does acknowledge that there may still be varying amounts of bacteria in the water, some good, some not so good.
- Metals and minerals. Depending on the local environment, there may be larger amounts of metal traces in certain pipelines or water supplies. Iron, lead, calcium, and magnesium are all commonly found in water supplies due to naturally occurring deposits and human-made structures.
- Parasites. While Australia’s metro areas are fairly safe from parasites in drinking water, this doesn’t rule out their presence in our mains water supply. While parasites are more commonly found in developing and rural areas, Perth is by no means immune.
- Fungi. A known contaminant in drinking water, fungi are usually filtered out when larger particles are removed, yet this does not safeguard the mains water supply from smaller more nimble contaminants making their way through.
- Algae. While usually harmless, algae is present in much of Australia’s drinking water, and Perth is no exception. Being in close proximity to the coast, Perth’s salty disposition and warm weather are perfect for algae growth in surface water reservoirs. While many organisms will pass through with no repercussions, it’s always better to be on the safe side, if your water is a direct freshwater source, you will want to make sure it’s purified.
How is Perth’s tap water treated?
While treating Perth’s water is necessary to ensure a safe and secure water supply, it also means many chemicals are used and added along the way. This is how Perth’s mains water supply is purified:
Step 1. Control of Algae and algal blooms with algicides. A common way to get rid of algae is by introducing a controlled amount of copper sulphate.
Step 2. Coagulation and flocculation. Adding coagulant and flocculant chemicals to get rid of clays and other solids typically found in surface water.
Step 3. Absorption through activated carbon removes other solids and potential pesticides and herbicides. This process attempts to remove other toxins and compounds that make the water taste bad.
Step 4. Softening. This is where calcium and magnesium salts are removed which makes the water more delicate and less harsh. If you’ve ever had scale build up in your dishwasher or kettle, this is usually the result of high calcium and carbonate content. Softening water does increase the sodium content which in turn may give the water a slightly salty taste.
Step 5. Oxidation and disinfection. Potassium and chlorine are added to control high levels of iron and manganese and to remove bacteria and viruses from the water supply. When fluoride has been added, and after a complex distribution process, it’s ready at your kitchen tap.
While this treatment process varies across the metro region and indeed around Australia, the various chemicals that are added are subject to localised factors and can change constantly.
How can I purify my tap water?
While Western Australia’s water supply is regularly treated, there are still many chemicals and oxidants present in Perth’s tap water, not to mention surviving bacteria and other nasty contaminants. There are many reasons you may want to start purifying your tap water at home. Whether you’re worried about the chlorine, fluoride, or other treatment chemicals, perhaps it’s the bacteria or fungi, it may even be the taste that is putting you off a quenching drink from the tap. There are many ways water can be purified. Depending on whether it’s a commercial setting or a small household, even an office could all require different means of purification.
With advanced technology delivering fresh, quality purified water, Aussie Filtration has the answer to your water purification needs. Depending on your household consumption rates, you may opt for a Reverse Osmosis Under Sink Water Filter System, which will remove 98% of all dissolved metals, salts, chlorine, fluoride, and unwanted bacterias. For larger households, or for those wanting comprehensive purified water coverage, the Whole House Slimline Water Filter System works to protect your entire home from unwanted chemicals or waterborne diseases. Drinking purified tap water is an effective way of reducing potential exposure to any harmful substances and will also bring that natural, sweet water taste back.
What is distilled water? And how’s it different from purified water?
Distilled water is a type of purified water. Think of purified water as any water that has had chemicals, bacteria removed by some process. Distilled water has had impurities removed by the process of distillation, which involves heating water so it evaporates, then collecting and condensing the steam back into liquid form and discarding the leftovers. As the water is heated, only pure water evaporates leaving minerals, inorganic substances such as fluoride, and other chemicals. It will also remove any living organisms and bacteria. As such, distilled water is highly pure and is not commonly used as drinking water due to how expensive it is compared to other purified water. It is commonly used in laboratories, medical treatment facilities, and forms a key ingredient in baby formula. You will find that distilled water tastes very flat, this is because it’s been stripped of important healthy minerals such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium.
Distilled water can be made at home with some DIY equipment, but it is very time consuming, and while there are many distillers in the market, even good countertop distillers can take up to 5 hours to get 3-4 litres.
What about filtered water?
So, is distilled and filtered water the same? The answer is no! While purified water has been filtered (as is almost all water) at some point, it has also undergone an extra step of purification either by reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionisation. Purified water is therefore much more ‘pure’ than filtered water. Filtered water, whether it’s through a carbon filter, or other means is a step up from normal tap water.
Aussie Natural Filtration offers a wide range of water filtration systems that turn your tap water into the pure, refreshing drink water should be. For Hot and Cold Water Dispensers with inbuilt filtration systems or a Zip Hydro Tap that transforms kitchen tap water with high tech cooling, heating, and carbonation systems, there is a filter to match any household’s needs.
Purified, distilled, or filtered – which is better for your health?
While filtered water is better than tap water, depending on the quality and setup of the filtration system, the results and purity may vary. Some filters are only equipped to deal with larger and more basic impurities, whereas newer and more advanced systems are capable of extraordinary results.
The health benefits of drinking clean purified water are immense. From better cleaner skin to a stronger digestive system, having clean purified water available is a great way of improving your overall health and wellbeing.
In general, purified water is better for your health than normal tap water or what is normally classed as filtered water. Distilled water, with all the minerals, chemicals, and bacteria being boiled out and left behind in the process, is of even higher purity. Although rarely consumed on a daily basis, distilled water is free from almost everything, even taste. If you’re unsure about which filtration system is right for you, get in touch with Aussie Natural Filtration for expert advice on how to maximise access to clean, fresh water for you and your family.